“We’re going to be at least 4 people” was the last thing I communicated to Dr. Gino Yu before hoping on a taxi with Josh Whiton and Johann Christian Schiessl heading for a Thai restaurant in Soho, England, where we were supposed to meet up with Gino and Peter Giblin from the Le Ciel Foundation. The European Tour of the Evolving Caravan, exploring the Edge of Consciousness, had in some sense already started before I even reached London, with some of the speakers meeting up with Rupert Sheldrake, one day before my arrival, to talk about consciousness. Josh, Johann and I were hoping to do the same with Peter Giblin at the Thai restaurant where Gino, having left earlier than us, was supposedly getting a table for all of us.
We arrive at Soho only to be informed that Gino and Peter decided to go to another restaurant instead: St. Moritz. That made Johann happy given the restaurant was named after a place he visits often. If only we could find it.
Gino’s phone wasn’t working abroad and Google Maps wasn’t as helpful as usual, so after walking around aimlessly, we’re interrupted by a local vagabond who is asking for pecuniary assistance. An opportunity for a mutually beneficial transaction had emerged. So we tip the vagabond to lead us to the restaurant. After a few minutes of walking, we are told we only needed to “go all the way straight,” and “take a right at the end of the road” before seeing the restaurant. We thank our helpful stranger and part ways.
It soon became obvious we were scammed. Yes, we did discover a street filled with restaurants but none of them called St. Moritz. So we went back to where we started to search anew. This time we had more luck. In the tiny restaurant we went, excited and hungry, only to discover Gino enjoyed the company of Peter in a table for two.
Frustrated and annoyed at Gino for not having secured a larger table, we leave with a vague promise of meeting up later, given that restaurant didn’t have any bigger tables available.
Meanwhile, we manage to meet up with Adrian Taffinder and his son Kian. We try to have some Thai food at the original restaurant only to be told we had to wait way longer than any of us were willing to do so. So we left. Josh suggested we head towards a particular direction, but I remind him that the vagabond did lead us to a street that I recalled had a number of restaurants and that we should try heading over there.
On our way, we discover a restaurant, and we go in. After being seated we realize it primarily served steaks. Two of our people being mainly vegetarian, it made little sense to stay. So we left, but not before Johann took a picture of the place and sent it to Gino as if we were there. We thought that was sufficient retribution for not securing a table for all of us earlier.
Off we went searching for another restaurant. We entered a noodle place, but for some reason we weren’t feeling it. Many of us having just left Asia the mood for yet another serving of Asian noodles wasn’t really there. Then we went to the pizza place across the street. We left before ordering for no particular reason. Walking onwards we come across a strange restaurant with a menu that seemed to have something for everyone: Quo Vadis. We enter and sit down for dinner.
After everyone had almost finished, I start wondering what happened to Gino. I look at the group chat. He did go to that steak restaurant after all and couldn’t find us. The feeling of impish glee and petty triumph suited the after dinner mood. Reading through the rest of the messages I quickly realize Gino with Peter is in the Quo Vadis Private Member’s area right above us. Had anyone texted him we were eating at Quo Vadis? I ask around the table: “No” was the unanimous answer.
What are the chances, that after rejecting four different restaurants, the fifth restaurant we chose, only because we went to a street that, had it not been for the vagabond, we never would have, ended up being the very same one that Gino would independently end up at with the person we all, still, wanted to meet?
“You can’t make this sh*t up” Gino would exclaim as he hears of the story of our unexpected arrival at Quo Vadis1 for a conversation on consciousness everyone wanted to have. Coincidence or intention and emergence?
Either way, it was an auspicious start.
This post is the first of a series of recollections from the Evolving Caravan European Tour (January 2018). For the current tour, please visit this page for more information and tour tickets.
- Interestingly enough, Quo Vadis is a Latin expression that means: “Where are you going?” which seems strangely apt given our story. It originally refers to the story of Peter meeting the risen Jesus and asking him: “Quō vādis?” with Jesus replying, “Rōmam eō iterum crucifīgī (“I am going to Rome to be crucified again”) after which Peter then gains the courage to continue his ministry and returns to the city, where he is martyred by being crucified upside-down. See the relevant Wikipedia article.