About 10 years ago, my wife, Ann, and I were staying for a few nights in a hotel in Wilderness, Cape Province, South Africa. The day before we had driven from Cape Town - about 220 miles and taken all day doing so. The following morning we drove from our hotel to a nearby nature reserve to take a short hike, but returned a couple of times to the hotel as we had forgotten (important!) items - generally faffing around. Eventually, we started walking along the trail, only to see in the distance the smoke from the well known Chou-chou - the steam train that ran between George and Knysna. We had not appreciated that the trail crossed the railway line, and regretted missing the sight, but when we reached the "level crossing" a small group of men were about to leave - having seen the train pass - and were getting into a couple of cars. To my astonishment, I recognised and spoke to one of the men but could not place him. Ann immediately knew who he was, used his name and reminded us both that we had last met at the wedding of the son of a mutaul friend - John A - some 3 years before. He replied that John A was actually sitting in one of the cars and about to drive off. His shock at seeing us was only matched by that of his wife, Monica, as we abandoned the walk and went back to their B&B. Monica was standing on a balcony as we approached and - when she saw me - turned to a companion saying that the man with her husband looked just like John J (me), little realising that it was me. The real coincidence, however, was that the previous morning they had woken up in a lodge in the Kruger Park (far north of SA), driven the long journey to Johannesburg, caught a plane to Port Elizabeth and driven the 170 miles from PE. We have known John and Monica for 40 years, were vaguely aware that they were planning a holiday in SA, had no idea when they were going or what their itinerary was, but on this particular morning bumped into each other in the middle of nowhere, after both having travelled from opposite ends of the country. And S Africa is a very big place! Also, if we had not had the false starts to our walk and left when originally planned, we probably would not have enjoyed the encounter.
Date submitted:Mon, 30 Jan 2012 18:57:33 +0000Coincidence ID:5901