Hong Kong seafood Market

Axani and Gallagher Hong KongHONG KONG—When Jordan Axani and Elizabeth “Quinn” Gallagher departed for Canada on Sunday they were supposed to be returning home with memories of wandering through Indian temples and gasping at the beauty of the Taj Mahal.

Instead, their plans to visit Delhi, India, went awry when the travellers realized they couldn’t get a visa in time for the final leg of their worldwide journey.

The unfortunate misstep landed the duo, who met after Axani split with his ex-girlfriend and posted a Reddit ad looking for a travel companion of the same name, in front of a computer screen in the lobby of a Marriott hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. There, they did the virtual equivalent of throwing a dart at a map: they averted their eyes and twirled their laptop mouse until it pointed to a replacement destination: Hong Kong.

It was a classic move for a pair who say they’ve discovered trips are all about spontaneity — a Paris mission to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower before it closed, a three-hour road trip from Khao Lak to Krabi, Thailand, along “a twisty, windy, sketchy, on-the-edge-of-a-cliff mountain” road and plenty of midnight pizza jaunts.

A Star reporter joined them on the weekend in Hong Kong, where they milled around a Mong Kok market, trying on wigs and browsing other kitschy goods, enjoyed drinks at a rooftop tapas bar and travelled up Victoria Peak.

Along the way, they ran into Josh LeBlanc, a 31-year-old Hong Kong seafood business owner hailing from Yarmouth, N.S. As they crossed a busy street corner a few nights ago, LeBlanc recognized them from the Torstar photo of them in Paris.

He introduced himself and soon became their unofficial Hong Kong tour guide, taking them on a speeding tram ride down the peak to Garden Rd. in Admiralty, on a ferry from Central Pier to Tsim Sha Tsui, and even to a local fish market where Gallagher gleefully seized the opportunity to tease Axani.

As Axani laid eyes on tanks of squirming lobsters, sharks and clams, he confessed he was “terrified” of picking up one of the crusty crabs or lobsters in his bare hands.

“I’m not holding one. No, I’m not, ” he said, before relenting — with a qualifier. “Fine, ” he said. “I’ll hold one if Quinn holds one.”

It took no convincing to get a giant crab, pincers and all, into the hands of Gallagher, a native of Cole Harbour, N.S. She teasingly dangled it in front of Axani before he took hold of it, making faces as the crab extended its rough limbs and slowly snapped its claws.

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