Istanbul. It is a bit of an X. An intersection. Absolutely variable. East meeting West, west meeting east; the middle of Eurasia so to speak. People meeting people. Cats meeting cats. Dogs meeting dogs. Everything in between. Out on the corners.
The Last Poets have so eloquently posited: “The corner was our magic, our music, our politics Fires raised as tribal dances and war cries Broke out on different corners”
I’m on the tail end of a pedestrian 15 mile day, so I’m moving quickly back to my hostel bed. Room. I copped the private room to allow for a snore and stank free experience. Still walking another one mile of those 15. I catch a strange interaction between what appears to be a club girl and a garbage picker. Or a hoe and a bottle deposit redeemer. Or a pro and a pro. Unintelligible yet unmistakable. They looked like cindi lauper and Oscar the grouch yet that could be all the food I just scarfed with Ahmet. Ahmed. Depends on whether we’re speaking Turkish or Arab. Yo no se, pero si se puede. Um… either way it was so loving. This interaction between two randoms on a late night street. It was so open and so real in the moment for them, and by extension for me. The Turkish calories are in an intoxicatingely wonderful feeling intersecting this moment. Perpendicularly in fact.
I am where Asia meets Europe. Or Europe meets Asia. Turkiye. I’m stuffed like a turkey in late November USA, all thanks to this food tour I just hooked up. Istanbul has a vibe. I’ve been all over Europe and all over Asia, and the food and the city and the people of FKA Constantinople FKA Byzantium got a bit of both at every turn. Gatekeeper status too, considering how large the Ottoman Empire was and how hardcore they went to break it up. Literal First World War. Everything reminds me a little of each. Architectures swap styles, block by block. The whole thing is a visionary experience. An experientially channeled incident. I cringe at incident… it sounds like work. Sirens don’t do that but words do. Call up Rufus and get me in a phone booth and back to this holiday I’m on right now, like two weeks deep right now, right now. I’ve got a sleep cycle. It has patterns. My eyes have ditched their baggage. I’m walking 7-15 miles a day. The food is local and fresh and delicious. Pretty much everything. Every other responsibility that I have in life should thank your goddamn lucky stars that I can’t firefight remotely.
Foreign travel manifests in the nuanced differences between country-nation-states. Your typical thoroughbred Jesus-loving kid from Iowa wants to hear that America is special because of our freedoms on his first trip outside of the colonial white world. The reality around the globe is much more rooted in a cultural component. Space starts it all off. Some days, Barcelona gives all the space one could want, whether walking, bicycling, or in a motor vehicle. Some days, Fez Medina has us cramped into the tightest of mazes in search of a leather tannery. Sometimes, space changes quickly – like how know one bumps into on the streets of Tokyo all day and then I step on the train at rush hour and end up crowd surfing in a subway for the next 12 minutes. Probably the easiest to comprehend and concrete example of this is: How pedestrian traffic is conducted; aka how to cross the street. Nuances in style. Nuances in sustenance. Nuances in sex.
Every musician or busker in Istanbul is punk rock as fuck. Fiddlers and bucket drummers collaborate on a tirade against what appears to be the most conservative of the Allah fearing vacationers. In my mind it’s probably the Saudi. But I don’t know shit really. These dudes are going hard in their face as they walk. It’s seems so obvious to me what’s going on simply by the two different fashion senses each side has. Costume department tells me the whole story on this one. These mother fuckers can jam. I love it. I’ve been told by my yacht experience host (a half Turk from Cleveland yo!) that Turkey is secular. Cmon tho. The goddamn crescent moon and star is on a red flag, it’s ok for them to be a Muslim nation. Yet still, I feel like the Europeans feel like they won wars to call this Europe. Or at least Eurasia. So a lotta shit made it here that contradicts the entire idea of theocratic government. Then again though, who’s won what war, this place ain’t called Constantinople is it?
I take a trip to the intersections of my own life. My mind and personalities and behaviors. Sitting alone quietly in a cocktail bar. In a city full of 10 cent bottles of water and $1 beer I find a $12 mezcal cocktail with hostel-made friend Chris. She’s a a tall gorgeous blond from Miami. And super cool as fuck, my kinda humor and attitude. 220 lira. The cocktail, not the blond. But it’s bomb. Not the bombero. Im two deep in, doing a left hand search of my soul. Thinking about the man that I am and the coming years ahead of me. More than half way to retirement. And more than halfway between 40 and 50. As an extroverted introvert, I’m happily not engaged in conversation. Quiet contemplation suits me. I’m getting thoughts down, channeling the experience. As an introverted extrovert, I’m dying to chat it up in fluent American English. Social revelry is a skill I have mastered. I could be making acquaintances, taking a cultural dip in the pool. Two competing continents of myself, warring it out. In the end, I feel as if a third party candidate known as a mild-longing-for-a-familiar-friend wins out. On the corners.
Istanbul is truly dope. Where my well tested sense of direction meets my insane love of getting lost. Probably already one of my fave cities in the world, and this is just a brief 4 day visit.
Ah yes, the old two for one deal. Who doesn’t love it? I’ve previously spent some time in the nation known as Deutschland, yet never in it’s first or third largest cities. In 2022, I made to both. First, in Berlin for three days and then in Munich for the first few days of Oktoberfest, which is in September. All of this is to say that this entire entry is in reverse chronology, sort of like the Pharcyde video for Drop. Shout out to Spike Jonez and RIP to J Dilla.
Bavaria-mania in full effect y’all. Munich is a whirlwind from jump. Even the goddamn Hapbaunhoff in München is jumping. I think that rhymes. I dial into the whole thing via the local U-Baum, the U2. The Straßen have names, and I’m pretty sure I’ve found what I’m looking for. 20 minutes later and I meet Mona, who has so graciously handed over her gorgeous apartment to me for a few days. Handed over for a modest sum of Deutschmarks, er Euro, er US Dollars. Does that even matter anymore? Maybe — and I hear the Yoo Ess Doll Hair is strong —strong like bull —but this apartment is not cheap. The Munich bike life game is still popping, although not anywhere near on the level of previous destinations on this nation-hopping quest. Those locales were indeed the ABC… Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen… Air, Brakes, Chain… Nonetheless, Munich is into the BIER game though and my friend Kitty is joining me — currently en route from Erie PA — for the first three days of Oktoberfest, which only ends in October. It’s still September, so time travel to a time right now where I’m always learning until I’m dead. We learn a lot, especially on opening day. Without a reservation, we meander into the Augustiner tent and an utterly dizzying frenzy ensues. The crush of humanity is comparable only to a Tokyo Shibuya crossing in which every pedestrian is chewing on Mescaline. Aldous Huxley might dig the Japanese picture I’m painting; here in Bavaria we’re learning it all first hand. Some locals share two spaces on the end of the picnic table. It is rowdy AF. Men and women, young and old, standing in tables, singing songs, yelling Prost and clanking beers. And this beer comes in one liter mugs. I lift mine up with whole-hand-strength. It’s gotta weigh 7 or 8 pounds.
I’m drinking a 7 lb mug of the freshest best beer on Earth. Right now. Learning is taking place. Turns out each “tent” has its own thing or concept or vibe. This one in particular has their beer in wooden barrels and at 12.80€, it is the cheapest in Oktoberfest. We make German friends. We toss down lots of cash and toss back lots of beer. After more than a couple gallons of the most luxuriously smooth and delicious brew I’ve ever enjoyed, I’m on another astral plane. I’ve set a norm for new norming, or something. The bathroom has an entrance and an exit. It’s a long, long two-turn hallway of a stainless steel troughs on both sides, chocked full of lederhosen. Strange days. The plumbing involved is mind blowing. Especially once we time travel back to me using quotations around the word tent. There’s like 12 big tents. Another 10 small ones. Plus carnival rides and games and cafes and food stalls. These tents are wooden and metal massive structures. Heavy timber. Built. Bolted together. Covered. Decorated. Plumbed. Lit. And I mean lit lit. And also lit lit lit. It’s craziness for a few weeks, then the whole thing is disassembled and taken down. The entire Oktoberfest fairground aka Theriesenwiese is nothing but a massive concrete pad. They spend the entire year building and tearing down for just two weeks of the craziest party imaginable. I dig it. Today and the next day and the next day, it’s a marvelous experience eventually culminating in an amazing culinary experience: fish on a stick. The Fishhaus Tent provides me an entire fish seasoned and slow smoked on a wooden steak. A picture says a thousand words and so I’ll let the traditional mackerel speak.
Berlin! Made it here …finally. Before this, you occupied the same space in my heart that Mexico City previously held before I visited that national capital. I can dig me a big old cultural charged capital city. One that speaks to the entire nation in real and tangible ways too. A city that I always knew I’d love but consistently put off visiting for one reason or another. but alas, this space is open once more. I’m inside you Berlin, can you feel me? I buy a 24 hour train pass for like 8 euro. It’s a super deal because I use it three days. Thanks socialism, yay public transportation! I copped the private room at a sweet little hostel in East Berlin. Nice bed with a shared bathroom and all day free coffee. Danke. Berlin is a vibe for sure kids. I walk the streets. I take the train. Remants of the Berlin Wall. Brandenburg Gate. Checkpoint Charlie. I gotta do these things. Apparently I hate war but I love war history.
Berlin gives me the contemplative and relaxation based break I had been looking for. By day three I’m chilling for hours in the textile free spa. Yea this is a thing. It’s not a sexy thing. It’s a relaxation thing. And the various forms of hydro and heat and cool therapies are regarded by clothing. Plus we are all naked under our clothes. This place is massive. Theres a fucking map. For a spa. I enter and they give me a wristwatch style thing that opens my locker and pay for anything I have to pay for. I rent some towels and a robe and hit. Picture me here now on hour three. I’m now in my eighth sauna of the evening. Hot tub number 4. Steam room number 2. Now I’m in the cafe (where you have a wear a robe) having a beer. Back for a third steam room. This one is the best because the steam is so heavy that I can’t see two inches in front of me. Properly steamed, I hit the cold water “foot-pool”. Then it’s the fireside lounge. Real fireplace too. Damn. I am. Relaxed. It’s amazing. I feel like I’m getting younger by the moment. I pop my robe back on and grab another beer. I grab my copy of Door of Perception and take a deep, deep dive into some serious shit. I’m bedazzled with phrases like “the burning intensity of significance”– the highlight of it all might be a wormhole I find myself in dedicated to the idea of focus and avoiding distraction. My highly relaxed brain meanders about, grasping at Aldous Huxley’s mescaline infused concepts, primarily a focus to remain undistracted by: #1) Memory of past sins, #2) Imagined pleasure, #3) Bitter aftertaste of old humiliations and #4) Fears and hates and cravings that ordinarily eclipse the light. It’s deep but necessary shit. After a few sections, I take a break… back for more hot tub, more sauna, more steam room. Four or five hours later and it’s 10pm and so I check out of the spa. The entire damage is $40 and I feel more relaxed than ever in my life. Berlin has treated me quite well for a first time encounter, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be back. Darling, danke schoen.
With my personal travel-ability reignited in 2022, I challenged myself to tick off as many “bucket-list” destinations as I could during the year. While I technically had always wanted to visit these places, I hadn’t previously made it much of a priority, instead I traveled to places because I liked visiting them previously or simply because I had never been there. This year, however, I focused on finally hitting some of the destinations I has always dreamed of experiencing. If I were a betting man — and I’m not — I’d guess my bucket-list mimics many others’ out there, and as such I encourage everyone to do so. Don’t put off tomorrow somewhere you can go today — and near the top of my all-time dreams is to see the Great Pyramid and Great Sphinx of Giza. As such, sitting at number seven on this year’s TopTenTravels is the greater Cairo Region of Egypt.
Last day on a short stay in Egypt. I pop up, break the fast on some suns-out, guns-out shit. I’ve got cotton sleeves on my arms, its just that it’s well past suhur as I hop out of the Uber pulling up to the Giza ticket booth. Trying to keep up, I fork over the 300 Egyptian pounds for an entrance ticket. Exactly 77 seconds later my man Muhammad is on me. Like prayers on rugs. Like ham on burger. Huh? It’s cool, I’m early and totally prepared for tout level five thousand that I’m guessing will park early afternoon. If you don’t know what that is it’s because American English slang doesn’t seem to have a word for it. Probably because a critical Americans don’t have passport stamps. I think it makes sense on the surface once articulated. I learned the way it is overseas a decade ago and been learning ever since. I mean, it’s a verb in our vocabulary, we just ain’t got a slang version of it as a noun outside of betting on races. TOUT. Think, pestering solicitation. Wiki it. Maybe urban dictionary. I dunno, Inshallah we can talk more about my feelings on it all later. For now get in the hot tub and yallah back to two nights ago.
“No matter what race creed or color. We gotta get all together and love one another. All your sisters all your brothers. Do your own thing, you don’t need no other.”
The deep groove on The Universal’s “New Generation” bangs my third eye into proper form; rewiring my pre-frontal circuitry into optimal operation; setting this whole shit the fuck off. Seat back is up, tray table yallah-ed as I land into nation numero cuarenta y uno. 41. 3rd country on this trek — making it now feel much more like something akin to the three weeks of flights around the earth I took six years back, in the good ol’ before times. Right now, after a non stop go go go for 5 days in Jordan (the culture cipher on my collection of the worlds acceptably agreed upon bordered-peoples), I’m now in Egypt, rolling in a dusty ass taxi on the 6th of October bridge. Denial is a river. A nation with one million mosques. And a shit ton of ancient civilization and history.
Originally I was to spend a previous annual celebration of my solar return here… that was like 372 earthly rotations past. The reservation as I recall was a one way flight to Cairo, starting here on a 2-3 cruise down the Nile, meeting up with a 2-3 bad ass globetrottin’ Australian gals I met in Malta. This was all, you know, back in the year of our lord and savior Panda Corona 2020. Equal to hindsight. Endangered. Did it really happen, Mo Amer? For motherfuckin sure the pandemic popped my entire Egyptian glory plan in the poop chute, San Quentin prison gang rape style. Squirrel master couldn’t save me, Kenny. It’s cool though, it’s already past Iftar when I land and the Friday night streets are flooded via my airport taxi window. It’s like Saturday night for Americans, I think. I’m not sure, it could be Tuesday or Wednesday. Doesn’t matter. I got three nights here. I am bout to do the damn thing. After a quick check in and shower I’m wandering around downtown; solo on purpose in a new city and a new country; this is high up on the list of favorite things — just adjacent to long bicycle rides. It’s a whole other flavor of faves, comparisons are futile and I’m digging the flavors of this feast of middle eastern food and red wine… alone by design in some underground restaurant. That’s a goddamn lie. Not the underground feast indulgence part…. the solo on purpose part. I legitimately asked at least three or four people to join me here for the weekend. Probably more like 7 or 8, knowing me. And I know me. Myself and I. No takers. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nil. I have three days. They have rationalizations. It’s ok though, everyone has their own jam happening and I have my mine. And I’m glad. Glad glad glad glad glad, Dot Matrix. Instead I now (like, right now) have the privilege of remembering how much more in depth dinner conversation abroad can be and usually is. As the creepy guy eating and drinking, a lot, alone, I’m engulfed with a shit ton of variably-pronounced English spoken words in here. Lots of gorgeous people having these gorgeous conversations hanging out on pillows and couches. Hookahs and shit. Tables and chairs too. I eavesdrop like a mug. How much eavesdropping would a mug eavesdrop if a mug could eavesdrop mugs. I dunno. I want to join. Really intriguing shit going on. I don’t. I purposely treated myself to a “posh” hotel downtown. An oasis. It means more solitude, unlike my typical communal hostel accommodations preference. Whatevs, after a week of dry Ramadan Jordan, Cairo is a little looser with 8 days left of fasting. The lightweight that I am has has me attempting to pour a third glass out of this $18 bottle of wine with the cap still on. Ugh. Am I supposed to be more disappointed with myself or that it’s got a cap and not a cork. Does that matter? Does anything matter? Back to to the conversation surrounding me – it is either intellectual or pseudo intellectual, whatever you want your convoluted gray matter to believe. Conversation identifies with the pronoun IT. It’s nuanced and sexy and full of commitment to all sorts of things that Americans couldn’t even a flying fuck about. Fir reels. Fur rhealz. Four Reals. I take my time, and some of the convo isn’t in Englandy-accented English with a slightly something else twist. Kinda weirds me out a bit because it means they’re American or Canadian or Mexican. North America bitches. So. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m known to be wrong quite often. Either way. I’m still ecstatic as fuck to be back on my fully nomadic overseas tip, finally. It’s a warm and fuzzy kinda glad. No, that’s the wine. Really though, it’s a refined, worldly and educated glad. I’m happy feeling like maybe I’m those three things. I might not be, yet I’m glad to feel like I might be. Across from me sits a man and two women, holding a conversation in English, though it’s clearly their second language. So they don’t all know each other that well. Honestly, I’m pretty sure they’re like one drink away from a sexy ass threesome. Well sexy except for the cigarettes. Boo. Quit that shit, yo. Then the bill comes and the dude — an Italian looking bro with a pony tail, sort of bails on the bill. Wtf dude. My man that’s not cool and should not be allowed. I need to ground myself, I’m not here for any of that. In fact the fact that I’m solo channels me into a groove of self reflection; hopeful for a small dose of brain unfuckery-ing. Like my life is the structure fire and some solo QT is the wet stuff going on the hot stuff. Ok so back to getting my mind right. Write. That’s what I enjoy. Started drawing again too. Writing this feels good. Maybe no one ever reads it. Maybe not. I don’t care. It’s therapeutic; an outlet for I-don’t-know-what. An outlet nonetheless. No dead end streets. No cul de sacs. Like being silent for 90 minutes in a noisy restaurant; people watching and contemplating why the hell I am not dead yet. I knock off the rest of that red whatever in the name of Gil Scott Heron, wander back to the telly and face plant into my king bed with the lights and my clothes on….
Wake up… 5am to discover the aforementioned tomfoolery last night caused me to miss noticing the god-loving-balcony overlooking the mother fucking Nile River! Hello sunrise!! I have no plan. I have only this room for it’s shelter, shitter, and wifi. Wait. There’s two restaurants, a jazz bar, a rooftop pool bar, and airport style screening at the front door. Fuck yeah. I hit the gym and treadmill with one hell of a view. Praise be Allah, Buddha and probably Ulysses S Grant, somehow. Until recently, I despised gyms – preferring instead to “work out” outside doing something competitive, social or just plain old fun. Basketball. Street hockey. Dodgeball. Bikes and Yogging and Parkour and all that jazz. Indoors now make sense too. At least for cardio. I am going in on this view. Mindfulness supreme. I like working out because it gives me time to not be on the go, if you can cram to understand, MC Lyte. I’m typically doing or contemplating what I should do instead of maybe not doing. 14% incline at 5 mph on the other side of the world will do that shit. Today I do little, maybe the local market. Khan Al Khalili Iftar is some amazing shit, its basically the oldest mall in the world.
Ok. Whew!! We’re now all caught back up to me getting out of the Uber in Giza at 7am on morning numero dos. And Muhammad – I’m not calling him Moe because my good friend back home Muhammad goes by Moe. This Muhammad, he’s not my friend, though he starts with “hello my friend”. He goes straight in on #1) not being a tour guide #2) not wanting money #3) feigning curiosity about my background – “where from”. There’s legitimately no one standing near the Sphinx when I snap the photo, yet this motherfucker is still up in my ear. He’s telling me we can see the pyramids “the Egyptian way”…because I look Arab. He’s connecting me with “the energy”. Ok my friend, I’m just trying exist in some peace and quiet right about now. Thats the energy. Two hundred pounds later and I pay him off to at least pass me off to the camel guy. I forget his name, let’s call him Ali. Ali’s got twin baby girls, aged 5 months. He’s definitely walking his ass off whilst I sit and cook on top of a camel named Casanova. Casanova’s a bad dude too. Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good. We communicate telepathically and I’m thankful Ali doesn’t talk my ear off, aside from the occasional insistence of taking photos of me. Like holding the pyramid top, jumping, a weird rock thing – the kinda shit I’m sure every corny ass IG “influencer” lives for… but I’m not here to influence shit. I’m an expertentialist and a documentarian. Real life, I’d rather no one pay attention and leave me alone. Casanova gets it, why can’t the humans? Por favor, Allah?
There are nine pyramids at Giza. Set free after a couple hours around them, Ali kills my vibe with his insistence on more money. Like what happened to all that “pyramid energy” here bro? Capitalism. That’s what. You got a price in mind? Name it up front, otherwise you gonna get what you get from me. Homie don’t play that. And by homie, I mean the proletariat… i.e. me. Workers ain’t wealthy. This all feels like literal literary foreshadowing as I make my to the Great Pyramid, eager to find a little shade alongside it and have some quiet reading time. I dodge tout after tout. Solicitation after solicitation. Pest after pest. Can I live?! My best technique is to self discipline myself into silence. Buddhist monks wouldn’t buy anything, though they might commit genocide against Muslims in Myanmar aka Burma. Rohingya still. So when some Egyptian guy comes up to me with anything, I shake my head no or I give him the Obi-Wan Jedi mind-trick-hand-wave and keep on moving, Soul II Soul. It generally works. Sometimes they stand next to me for longer than I wanna stand there so I silently step a few feet away and continue to ignore them and they move along. The best is when they go on a long impressive display of the languages they speak, hoping to figure out how to communicate to me. Arabic? English? Spanish? Italian? French? They never try sign language though.
Hot to deaf. There’s no shade anywhere; it’s noon. Fuck, they buried the workers (aka slaves) who built these pyramids ride beside them… a lot of people have died here before me; I get the picture and create my own shade — hoping to stay alive under the sun gods directly beat down upon my face —- Arafat would be proud at what a fashionista he’s become.
After a couple chapters from a book on brain unfucking, I’m really in touch with the vibe here at this ancient site. Isn’t the whole world an ancient site? A sacred burial ground? I think so. Some places are simply easier to connect with, this is clearly one of them. I silently repel a dozen or more capitalists earning a living walking the 200 yards back to The Great Sphinx. Chilling there for a bit I realize this thing is under constant reconstruction due to decay. It’s got scaffolding. An American gentlemen wants to gather his family for a photo, I offer to take the shot and we become single serve besties. They’re from Utah, though I don’t think they’re Mormon because mom and dad are in their 50s or 60s and now live in Cairo. And no magic underwear either. Neither Muslim nor Mormon, we never exchange names, yet I bump into them again on my way out to an endearing, “there’s our friend from Buffalo!” I smile and bid them adieu, denying thirty four solicitations for “taxi?”; leaving the touristic area and walking into the streets of everyday Giza.
Thirst is a thing as I dip into a store, about to fall for my final and biggest capitalist scheme of all. Probably a “pyramid” scheme right? Exploitative fucks, they don’t even hold the holy month sacred. Perusing the beverage options, I’m greeted by a gentleman and his daughter. He’s got jeans on and she’s 11 years old, rocking a pink baseball cap over her head scarf and some new balance kicks. Dads gotta be mid 50s in his aviators, telling me he’s an English teacher from Alexandria Egypt in town to see the pyramids with his daughter — he’s definitely looking like the Arab Benjamin Prat. Dead on. Ben’s English is solid; we’re talking about Siqqara and the pyramids there and he says that they are going that way. He offers to buy my water because it’s Ramadan and he’s teaching his daughter about generosity and different cultures. Ok sure. Five minutes later I’m all like fuck it and get on the bus with them, headed south to what I’ve read are more impressive pyramids and such. We switch to a tuk tuk. We hit another store, Ben’s daughter wants to buy me a snack. I’m not hungry. I am definitely in between places and checking my 360 nonstop; I’m getting a bad feeling about this, Chewy. Ben mentions a really old pyramid discovered and controlled by the Egyptian army — our tuk tuk driver is gonna take us. Next thing I know it’s trespass like that movie with Ice Cube and Ice T. We knock on a gate and get let in. We push aside some fence. We walk along a couple walls, clearly this actually is Egyptian military territory. We come to this whatevery sorta pyramid — complete with garbage strewn everywhere. Ben wants everyone to sit while he puts his hand on the rocks and “feels the energy”. I play along with hippie shit but I’m not feeling a goddamn thing. On our walk back these motherfuckers stop and ask me for 2,200 pounds! Ben. The tuk tuk driver. The little girl. I knew it. Holy month shit my ass! Fucking exploitative fucks. God damn long term effects of colonialism, feudalism and all that shit. This would never happen if we had anarchy, like actual Social-Anarchism. I legit have 400 pounds on me. Give it to the guide. Explain that there’s no way I have that kinda money. I’m a working class civil servant; I’m not wealthy and would have never agreed to pay that for anything. I repeat that I’m here for the experience – not to spend money I don’t have. I tell Ben that if he’s paying that kinda money for this then he’s much better off than I am. Shit bro, you got a daughter. I can’t afford no kids in America, I can barely take care of myself. THE WHOLE FUCKING VIBE CHANGES once I’ve made myself perfectly clear and that there’s no blood to be drawn from this stone. Their faces all sour at me. The driver/guides moves fast in front of me. Ben and child sink slowly backward. Ah fuck. Spidey senses tingle. Alert. We pass back out the gate, a look back and Ben is gone. The guide with no name waves some sort of signal to the soldier standing 150 feet away and then starts to run the other direction. Oh hell no. I take off running. He looks back at me. I do not look back. I easily catch up to him, then I pass him. I keep moving and moving. Running at least a mile or two without looking. Finally I duck into some shade in the next town up. I turn on my phones international day pass and call for an Uber. That shit was too intense, I’m going back to the hotel and jumping in the rooftop pool, the other pyramids are gonna have to wait for another time.
“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles. Better to idle through one park in two weeks than try to race through a dozen in the same amount of time. Those who are familiar with both modes of travel know from experience that this is true; the rest have only to make the experiment to discover the same truth for themselves.”