Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind

Or When the Alien Is a Human

“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.” – Madeline Sheehan

Borrowing the title from ufology, “Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind” involves direct communication between aliens and humans.

And here are the stories of the “aliens” I met during my trips, strange encounters with wandering souls.


“Can I Follow You?”

Taipei, Taiwan

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” – William Arthur Ward

It was the end of the day, after visiting the Longshan temple. It is a busy area, with people chatting in front of the temple. While walking between them I noticed this girl and she noticed me. Something about her was different, something was intriguing.

Girl paint


I continued walking while sensing that I am followed. When I stopped, I saw her. “Can I follow you?” – she asked.  It may sound like a pick-up line, but soon after the saddest words somebody can say were spoken: “I want to suicide”.  She was seeing things, flashes of light. And aliens. Her name is Wushi.

I tried to lift up her spirits. She started smiling. ”I am not sick”. She was looking to find an escape from her own world, a lonely and painful world…

“Where do you live?” – I asked. She will just point the direction where she and her family live. We started walking. A little bit of chatting in English. At times she will just start talking to me in Chinese. “Pam, pam, pam” – she will shoot imaginary targets.

Taipei road

The road that never ends, Taipei

“Are we there yet?” – I asked, after walking on the same road for a very long time. She will just point the direction which was always forward.

“I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.” – Thomas Merton

“Pam, pam, pam” – four hours on the road, it was already night and I no longer knew where I was.

Wushi was happy. She will keep walking for ever. What we’ll find at the end of the road?

The hardest part is to say good-bye. “Can I follow you?” – Wushi asked, with tears in her eyes…

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.” – Paramahansa Yogananda


The Sleeping Beauty in the Forest

Banff, Canada

Four days in beautiful Banff and Rocky Mountains! While trekking alone through a forest I stumble upon a tall girl with long hair that seems to be a fairy of the woods! She was from Switzerland and her name is Isabel.

Portrait of a girl

Portrait of a girl

Her story is crazy. She is from a rich family. Her father is a lawyer in Bern. She attended the Law University at the insistence of her father. She quit after two years and started taking drugs. She run away from home, living in abandoned houses without money.

“You can find everything you need in a garbage can.”

The idea was to live without money. I didn’t truly realize what that means until we arrived in Banff.

And I was shocked! She just jumped to a garbage container and started to look at its content. “Hey, I found a good banana!”

Walking down the streets of Banff filled with tourists, Isabel will pick-up all the cigarettes butts she can find to my embarrassment. “I will buy you a pack of cigarettes”, I said. “No, I don’t need”, she said.

Queen and joker graffiti

The craziness of our world

Isabel was sleeping in a sleeping bag outside in the forest, close to Banff. She met a truck driver who promised to bring her in the morning to her next destination.

“Let’s go for a beer!’ To my surprise, Isabel insisted to pay for her own beer.

In the end she seemed to reconcile with her family. She stopped taking drugs and she was interested to learn naturist medicine.

“We all exist in our own personal reality of craziness.” –  Alejandro Jodorowsky


The Alien with Red Eyes

Pokhara, Nepal

What a trip in Nepal! How many adventures! Pokhara is a dream place between the Phewa Lake and Annapurna.

In one morning, strolling around the lake on a country road, I encountered my first alien, or this is what I thought: a man with really, really red eyes! He stopped, I stopped. He didn’t talk, but he smiled and pointed to a nearby house. I followed him.

Man with blue and red eyes graffiti

Man with blue and red eyes graffiti

In the house there were six men and one woman. “These are my brothers”, he said. A lot of brothers, I thought. The lady was cooking and she served me with grilled meat. It was good. Then I was invited to the flat roof of the house. Here I met the “dealer”.

The “dealer” introduced me to the purest marijuana herbs, right from the Himalayas. I tried a joint being curios and not to disappoint the guest. And I was happy! But not that happy to make me buy a whole bag of “herbs”, despite the dealer’s insistence.

Now I know where the red eyes alien came from!

Pokhara marijuana bar

Pokhara marijuana bar

“Whatever is not commonly seen is condemned as alien.” – Iris Chang


The Hypnotist from Varanasi

Varanasi, India

Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India, is a place like nowhere. It is like being on another planet. Day and night Varanasi is alive alongside the Ganges River.

This is the place where I met my first Sadhu, a holy man, or perhaps not that holy. At this time I was the alien!

Sadhu, Varanasi

Sadhu, Varanasi

I approached the Sadhu who was sitting in the Yoga “Lotus” posture. I was about to be blessed when another “holy” man appeared with very bright and piercing green eyes.

He stared in my eyes with a cold look, reminiscent of a cobra. He gave me to hold an amulet. “Repeat after me”, he said: “om – janga – banga – tanka – …. – tuba – om – ganga – banga – two hundred dollars”.  It didn’t work! I wasn’t hypnotized to pay two hundred dollars, perhaps being alert all the time when in unknown territory. But it was a good show!

“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.” – Ernie Harwell