I have shared this story with many fellow travelers, had mixed reactions but it is a story. Could write a whole book about the relationship I had with this man. The strangest friendship, borderline love story.
**Casanova**. He is the most interesting human I have endured. We met on Tinder, in Chiang Mai. It begun with a simple exchange of words.
Him: ‘Hi Maricet, when are you going to Laos?’. Me: ‘Sunday you?’. Him: ‘Next Wednesday. Fancy a beer sometime?’. Me: ‘Yeah let me know when your free’……then nothing for 3 days. Finally on day 3 he invited me for a drink.
I don’t do dates, I avoid them at every cost because the idea makes me cringe. I like to be myself, but on a date you have to have some control, there are rules. You are making a first impression under pressure. I am really not good under pressure.
My friend Justin and Dan once took me on a date, we were having Chinese at a relatively nice place. I couldn’t eat in front of them, my fork was not going in my mouth, I couldn’t swallow my drink, I was dribbling. When I finally managed to get food in my mouth I laugh and spit my food all over them. I sat there frozen with humiliation while they calmly cleaned their faces and wiped the surfaces. I hid under the table for a good 10 minute. I was 16. Ever since then I do not do dates.
I was 24 now, needed to give it another go, so I did. We Agreed to meet at the Rooftop Reggae Bar in Chiang Mai. https://goo.gl/maps/TkGjTjHwmaU2 (Really cool bar by the way). The blogs picture was written on the wall.
I was nervous, so scared I took my friend with me, luckily there was someone else at the bar who my friend and I met previously so I was able to talk to him alone.
The first time I saw him I could not believe my eyes. He was handsome, well dressed, my type to the T. Tall, manly, ruggedly, dark haired and did I mention handsome? One thing…he was drinking a frozen strawberry daiquiri and had troll feet. Not a problem but it did dilute my initial vision of a strong manly gorilla type man.
His English wasn’t great. He was French. But he tried, and I did my best. He kept looking at me, watching me, staring at me, checking me out. But I did not get the sense that he was interested. If only he could understand what I was saying. I always thought my personality was much better than my looks. I tried to joke around and make him laugh but he would not smile. Not once. He had an angry look painted on this face the entire time. He kept touching me, he asked to look at my arm pits, this was odd. I refused. I later found out this was his way of joking with me. But at the time through the language barrier I thought he was nuts.
He asked me what sports I liked, I said I liked to gym, climb and run. We agreed to meet at 7.30 am the next day to go for a run together.
Kisumba, he banged on about this all the time. I assumed he was just pronouncing Zumba wrong. But no! it’s a real thing. He tried to teach me. I like to dance so was excited at the prospect of dating a man who could dance. But this style was not what I was expecting. After all I am English, I am slightly reserved. I love to dance and can shake but never ever dance with a partner. I like to dance alone. In a pair it’s too sensual. However he insisted. So we left and danced outside the old gate. He was so serious, I giggled and cringe the whole time.
Another things he liked to do was massage you. He trained to be a masseuse. Again, I found this a bit too much as I don’t like to be touched in public. An English thing possibly? mainly I blame my ex as he would not like people touching me so got use to shunning away. At this point I knew what he was. In fact I knew the moment I saw him. He was a ladies man, a womaniser, a fuck boy. I was the wrong target thought. I don’t play these games and I do not fall for them. I detached all hopes and feelings from the beginning.
I did not feel anything for him, we did not bond, we had nothing in common, I did not think I would ever see him again and dismissed the idea of us going for a run. By the end of the night he was quite rude and arrogant. Kept walking into me, pushing me and being blunt. He did not try anything. Apart from he did want to sniff my neck. That was the last straw for me. I left and felt relief that ordeal was over…or so I thought.
I did not wake up for my usual run the next day, when I did wake up I had a bunch of messages from him asking where I was. He was waiting for me to run with him. This was very unexpected. I thought maybe he just wanted friends so I invited him to come to a cooking class with us, he declined. But then asked if I would come running the next day. I agreed and I went. This was the first time we spoke properly. Man he was handsome. We went for a run, used the gym equipment in the park, did a bit of yoga and played about. Again he would “accidentally” touch me or walk into me. I knew his game, I knew what he wanted. I tend to mimic people’s behaviors so I was the same back. We went and got food 15 baht is all it cost me, cheap as chips. I got chatting to a Canadian guy in the queue, I liked talking to everyone at this point, Casanova did not like it. He walked off in a huff asking if I planned to sleep with that man. This made me angry and I we ate in silence. This continued for the next few days. I would always talk. Once a group of lads exchanged numbers with me so I would give them travel tips as I had been in Chiang Mai for 3 weeks by now. He never got use to it.
I was conflicted, a bit part of me told me to run, but another part was intrigued. Why was this man so angry all the time? why was he so hot and cold with me? did he want to be my friend of was he interested? As we sat there I tried to push him in the lake, felt like he needed to relax a bit. He grabbed my neck, I thought he was going to strangle me out of rage, but he didn’t. He tried to kiss me. I pulled away very confused. This is when he told me he liked me.
The next few days we hung out, we went to the Grand Canyon and he opened up a bit. I had already been but went again just for him. He wanted to hug me and kiss me and touch me all the time but I hate that, I hate public display of affection and would push away each time. This offended him. He would try and massage me but again I would ask him to stop. I don’t think he has ever been rejected in this way before. I wasn’t rejecting him. I am just very cold sometimes and did not want to have a travel fling. I needed to be free. Eventually I changed, and so did he. As punishment he would hold my hand then push me away hissing that it was PDA. We would go to hug me then push me away saying it was PDA. He was stubborn like this.
He did a lot of things which made me laugh, I eventually lowered the walls a bit we begun to get on very well. I started to like him, always took him with a pinch of salt but he was worming his way in. I still had a lot of questions, he had a big scar on his arm. But he wouldn’t tell me. All I really knew is that he use to be a police officer but left France to escape that life. He had not had a long term girlfriends, he even claimed he had never loved a girl before.
He would want to cuddle me, and sleep, sometimes with nothing more than an embrace. He would want to watch movies and just hold me. I found this difficult because I am energetic. I like to do things and see things. I also hate cuddles and prefererad to have my own bed. I was in a hostel dorm at Theapea backpackers, he was in another hostel but he wouldn’t leave. Eventually he got the picture and let me sleep on my own. But he was not happy. By this point we had developed a travel fling…kind of. That night he said something which made me angry. He told me he thought I slept around with many men. All because I uploaded a picture of myself in a bikini on social media. We had already booked our three day slow boat to Loas together, we had ideas on treks we wanted to do, we has that in common, we loved to trek.
The next day we left for Loas. We were on separate buses. But he waited for me at each stop. I was ready to call it quits. I was angry for him referring to me as a slut, he said it didn’t matter to him, but it did to me. I built a respectable reputation within myself. When we finally get to the boarder stop before Loas we all check into a hostel. We walked together to a bar, I tell him why it bothered me. We make up and seem to be back on track. That night he was cracking on with someone else. He stops me on the walk back to the hostel to “talk about it”. He was competing with another lad. He told me always wins. I let him do what he wanted to do, that night he slept with the girl. I heard the whole thing. Tried to block it out. Tried not to care. But it happened. And I did care.
When I woke up I was humiliated, a few people knew about what was going on. They were in my group of friends from Chinag Mai. I was so embarrassed and disappointing. He has disrespected me in the worst possible way in front of my friends. Worst of all was that the girl was so sweet and nice to me, she had no idea and I think until this day she doesn’t know. I am not one to piss on anyone’s bonfire so I let it be. I did no make a fuss, I did not get angry with him, I did not speak a word about it. My friend Hugo was so sorry for what happened, he was by my side the entire day. I left to the pick up point with my crew, Casanova and his girl came later, he sat at my table, right opposite me. Looked me in the eyes and went to take my food (he liked to do that, eat my food). Someone slapped him hand and shouted “let her eat”.
I was writing ferociously in my journal, the only entry I ever made. Expressing my disappointment and sadness. He just looked at me. Put his head in his hands and ignored the situation. As i finished my entry I noticed there was no one else there, just him and I. We exchange words. Never addressing the issue. I was calm, collected and held my head high. After all it was travel life, he was single, this shit happens. But I never thought it would happen to me. I am more careful than this. Usually. Hugo was not happy, Hugo tried to out him, made fun of him. Casanova just laughed.
I left. I left and would not see him again. It was his prerogative to do what he wanted. I could not judge him nor be angry with him but I was upset, the feeling I had inside was awful. So hurt, disappointed but above felt humiliated. Vowed I would never be with anyone travelling again.
I see him around, after all we are all crossing the boarder on the same tour. I get on the transfer bus, he isn’t on it. Relief. I get to the boat. I see him. I have already booked a hotel with two others. He books the same hotel. I get on the boat sitting with my squad. He gets on with the girl. He doesn’t touch her, not in front of me. I think he is scared now. I am social, I befriend people easily. He doesn’t. But I am not on to leave anyone out and do not hold grudges. I begin drinking. I am chatting to another lad who seems to be very interested in chatting about all sorts. I like this, just chatting. I feel Casanovas eyes glare.
‘Are you ok?’ I asked. He says no. He says he has girl problems. I laugh in my head. Thinking I would get an apology. I probe. He then explained he is upset because the girl he slept with wasn’t interested in him. He said he thought she was a fuck girl. Haha. She wasn’t at all. She was a very lovely girl but she knew better than I did I think. She could do better.
I was not sympathetic. I told him he did the same to me. He felt rejected, used, shitty. I told him to get over it. ‘It’s travel life’ I said. Then continued conversing with my friend. He then takes my arm and tells me he needs to talk. I let him, then introduce him to other french people I had met when I was trekking in Chiang Mai. I introduce him to Marre and Lois, to everyone I knew. I tried to help him find friends. He isn’t good at that. He liked attention from only woman.
The drinking started, I was drunk. He was hanging around a lot. We then put aside our differences and I refereed to him as my brother. We would never go back to what we had but I chose to be a friend to him. I chose to be care, to help and to forgive him. He had not apologised but I let it go. Marre took me to one side (we had only met an hour or so earlier) she told me he was a prick! she told me straight to stay away as he was bad news. She said he makes no effort and was leaching off me. I told her he was ok really, they just needed to get to know him. Him and I were geting on well. As friends.
That night he tried to crack onto yet another girl, he had words with the girl he slept with previously and told her he didn’t like her talking to other lads, at this point he cock blocked me from any lad I spoke to. I conversed with the girl, she told me he was being possessive. I told her to run, I was going to too. He demanded my full attention. I gave it to him. Why? because I didn’t want what we had to mean nothing. I wanted to be the better person/ Kill them with kindness rung in my mind. Others on the boat started to resent him for the way he was treating myself and the other girl. He was telling people that I liked him, that he liked me, that he liked my dancing. I was trying to make friends, move on but he acted like we were part of his property. I stuck by his side, part of me still like him, a lot. There was more to him. I knew this. I like people, I know and understand people. I needed his story. So I got it. I got it all.
That night he tried to take me back, after everything he had said and done I told him it was not ok. I don’t argue. I walk away. The next morning I go about my business, get onto the second boat. I notice the girl is avoiding everything, and everyone is avoiding Casanova. The girl did run, she found someone brilliant and stayed with him. Casanova slept alone. He sat alone on the boat.
I was far away from him, with other friends but I could feel him glaring at me. He kept waving me toward the empty seat beside him. I ignored him. Chose to give my full attention to my friends. I felt guilt, sadness and compassion for him. No one would speak to him. He had spent the previous night telling everyone how handsome he thought he was and that at home he just clocked his fingers and girls would come running. This made me laugh. Typical Casanova. He always said stupid things. He meant it too but to me it make me laugh. It was why I liked him. He was an idiot. An interesting idiot.
I sit with him and we speak for a good 7 hours. He tells me everything. All about his family, his friends, his past. His life in the police force, his life before that. Even about the scar. I knew so much. Understood so much. He shared his secrets with me. I knew he was special, he really way. In many ways. He was such a mess but so sure of himself. I liked this. He had been crying, my manly man crying? I knew there was more to him than he showed. He had a good life, but he was angry, he was angry because he delt with a lot of criminals who did bad things, it was his job to speak to them with respect and treat them like everyone else. He said he did not get respect back. He was degraded by some of the worst types of people. He was also hurt. In his first week of travelling he met a woman, a wonderful woman who he shared a hut with on the beach for a week. He felt something special with her but when they separated and the connected on Facebook he found out she was married and happy, with a family.
He did not want to form any attachments after that. He learned what he had just taught me. At this point he looks at me realising what he has done and apologiesed. He hung his head in shame. I then told him it’s all part of travel life. I did not believe this myself but I wanted to. I wanted to let it go. I wanted him to let it go. I told him to forgive himself because we are just human and we make mistakes. He was numb to women, they were nothing to him, he disclosed that he has been with over 200 women. Him and his best friend just slept with them then left. That’s why he wanted to cuddle me, sleep in my bed, to make it mean something. The opposite to me. I did not want to make it mean something. The man with the machete, my ex, my reasons for travelling. I needed to be free. He was looking to make a connection. He couldn’t make one and I couldn’t not make one. We were fighting opposing battles.
He then asked me if I thought he was a good person. I did not answer. I would not lie to him. I told him he needed to let go of his previous conditioning and decide how he would act in the future. I said think knowing once we got off the boat he would go back to his old ways. Weeks later I realised i was wrong. He did not go back to his old ways. He did change.
Once in Laos, we went out separate ways. By the time we arrived he was happy again. He smiles, laughed, joined in drinking games, socialised more. He was more relaxed. I had forgiven him too.
Two days later I am not feeling well, slightly exhausted from a crazy few days of activities. I am walking back from Eutopia bar. I see Casanova, he looks bad, rough, unslept, like a tramp, he is with yet another girl. I can’t hide how I feel, my face shows it all, and so does his, he looks at me with the saddest look I have ever seen. He speaks in hush tone, we exchange a few words about what we have been up to. Again he looks right at me, I can feel my smile dropping, his did too. He looked ashamed. I excuse myself and leave.
The next morning he messaged me, he asked if I wanted to travel with him once again. Everything inside me is telling me no. But before I know it I accepted. That day we met again. We wanted to go trekking. We departed for Luang Namtha the next day. We go back right to where we left off. As friends. I had one rule. He was not allowed to touch me. Apart from when we would fight. We would play fight all the time. I liked that though. He told me the girl I saw him with was just a friend. He had no reason to lie. I was ok with it anyway.
When we arrived we ran into Marre, Lois, Alex and some others from the slowboat. I could sense he was uneasy about it. We run to a tour operator not thinking the others would follow. We wanted to do a 3 days survival jungle trek. We were the only two to sign up, i was uncomfortable about it just being the two of us so use my selling powers to sell Marre, Lois, Alex and others I had met who I knew were in Luang Namtha to join. Within an hour I had collected a group of 10 of us to do the same tour. Casanova was impressed, we high fived as plans were working out.
We were in the same hostel, in the beds next to each other. There was serious tension there but ignored my instincts. No cuddles, no hugs, not touching, I would not even look at him. I couldn’t. I would never truly let it go. After my previous relationship i will never allow anyone a second chance. No way. Fuck that.
We got on so well, we laughed, joked, he even now knew a lot about me. During the trek we did our own thing but he would always come to find me and check up on me. We were partners for everything. Some of the others thought we were together. We acted like it. We did our fighting, we practiced his English. We laughed, shared our things. Slept beside each other. Watched the sunrise together. But we did also argue. I got jealous, he made a comment about doing something in secret with another person ont he tour. I made an assumption. The truth was he told her a secret. During the slowboat.
I didn’t want drama so I kept to myself for a few hours, I did not pay him attention and he sulked. I also burst his bubble. he tried to tell me all girls like him, I pointed out a few who didn’t. By this point some of the group felt uneasy with him, he kept calling me fat, insulting my appearance, he liked to do that. He meant it to but wasn’t being rude. I knew that.
One day we climbed for hours and hours to see a beautiful sunset. He refused to come and look at it. Sulking. I left him to it. When I came down he was angry with me. Insulted me some more, in from of the group. I told him to cheer the fuck up. Things were akward, Marre told him off. Typical Marre, always looking out for me 🙂 ❤
He apologised, we were cool after that. Went right back to the friendship we developed. But he then said something stupid. He told me I was naive, I was naive to think we were friends. I asked what we were, he said he didn’t know but we were not friends. After that I gave up, made up my mind. I would travel alone from that moment on. I would not continue with him. He then told me he didn’t think he was a good person. I told him he questioned himself to much. Let go I said, recondition yourself. He then vowed to continue his travel and “find himself”.
Once we returned the group had a chat with me, they didn’t understand him. They wanted me to explain why I traveled with him. I couldn’t. I just said I enjoyed him oddness. They thought he was either using me or in love with me. I did not believe the latter….until later on. Either way I did not mind for his rational was irrelevant to me. My own experience was all that mattered to me and I was happy at that moment.
Our goodbye was hard, drawn out. We stayed in Luang Namtha for a few days, neither of us wanting to say goodbye. On the morning of our departure we sat me down. I was anxious and sad. Anxious about going off alone and sad as I came to really care about him. He looked at me and said we were….we were but he couldn’t say it. He told me I was a kind person and that I would be ok. He hugged me for the first time since he fucked up. I cried. I think he did too, he sent me a message which suggested he cared. He tried to tell me but he couldn’t. Too much pride.
A month later.
I arrived in Hanoi, after travelling the rest of Laos with Marre. He has recommended Hanoi Rocks to me via text. He was not supposed to be in Hanoi. By this point he was supposed to be far away. Regardless my stomach was turning, as we were driving from the airport to the hostel my heart was pounding, I felt sick. Something didn’t feel right. I was restless. We check-in to Hanoi Rocks and go about our business, ripping shit up in the dungeon. Marre and I were a team. We were flirts, we got speaking to two lads. This is when I met **Luke** his story will come later in another post.
10 pm free beer begins and Marre come running at me. “Maricet! Maricet!” she screams, as I am mid conversation with Luke. “He is here, he is fucking here” she whispers. And sure enough. I see him. In the Queue. He looks at me, points, laughs and in a very unconvincing tone says “fancy seeing you here”.
This was the beginning of the end. He saw me with Luke. Luke asked who it was, before i could think I blurted out that he was my cousin…really Maricet? why say that!. I liked Luke. He was cool. Didn’t want to ruin a potential friendship haha
Casanova asked if we could talk, so I did, we spoke about our time apart, he couldn’t look at me thought. I let it go but i wanted to continue my conversation wit Luke. I asked Casanova if we wanted to hangout with us but he declined so i left. Luke was suspicious and asked if anything had happened between myself and this guy. I couldn’t lie. Luke took one look at Casanova and said “puff” i can’t compete with that.
Casanova sat staring, alone. So I spoke to him again, invited him once more. Again he declined. Requested to play a game of fooseball with me. I agreed, half way through h picked up the ball and threw it at me.
For the next few days we did not speak. Eventually I had enough so Marre and I booked a weekend away to Sapa. I told Casanova on the morning that I was leaving. He seemed genuinely sad. But I think we were both relived. We could not go back to how things were. I introduced him to Luke. By this point I had spent a lot of time with Luke. He did not like that. Casanova continued to show me conversation on his Facebook with other girls he wanted to sleep with. I was cool as a cucumber. No shit given. I even offered to help him translate if needed. He was shocked by this. He then proceeded to tell me he has not been with any other girls since that night, we had not even done man stuff. He had changed. It was the longest he had gone without female attention. I was proud of him but I was not going back.
I introduced him to Kevin, a resident of Hanoi Rocks at the time for them to go on a night out together and the rest is unknown. I left to Sapa. When I returned he has blocked me on everything. I never heard from him again. Kevin told me Casanova did not even look at any girls out.
The end. The next post will be shorter. My tale of being a Lone traveler and some packing advice.
Peace out ❤