Last year, 2005, i was planning to goto thailand, vietnam and cambodia. i wanted to make friends in advance, so that i might visit with the people, not just visit tourist places. i did searches in the member directories of yahoo, MSN, ICQ, looking for listed screen-names from those countrys, and of seemingly suitable age and interest range. i messaged quite a few people, found only a few that spoke english, and fewer that weren't married or living in the far boondocks.
one evening i messaged a name in the yahoo directory. my "hello from america" was answered with "hello" we chatted a bit, i learned it was a women, over 40, school teacher, learned english in school, lived in the south of thailand, but her home was in the north. her short name is TOK.
we switched over to yahoo messenger because it works better on my mac. over the next few months we chatted a number of times, rather innocently for the most part. i was looking for friends, nothing else. but, i was open to other possibilities.
after a while, she told me she was going home for holiday for four days, over new years, and we arranged to meet at the Northern bus station in Bangkok on the 29th of December. (incidently, this meeting date set a time boundry on me, such that i did NOT goto phuket in late december, and thus missed being there for the tsunami. i went to cambodia and vietnam instead. we went to phuket two weeks after the tsunami.)
we met at the bus station, took the bus north five hours to Lom Sak and stayed there four days.
very nice. and i really liked her, as it turns out. like really.