Today early morning, I run through the village my regular route to the Nile. People cry, “Very good, sport!” with a thumb’s up. A boy on a donkey runs beside me for a bit. Past the awakening shops to a place in the shade where sweet Turkish coffee awaits me, along with a breakfast of eggs and mashed peanuts with butter, made fresh in the village, bread, cilantro and flafel. The boiled eggs come from one man and are taken to the man who sells peanuts from a small cart, where he mixes the eggs with the crushed peanuts. This man has been selling peanuts from the cart since forever. This is life.
I was the only passenger on that bumpy ride with two jolly pilots, who laughing and joking, plunged in and out of clouds, vision obscured, rain pummeling the panes, the plane shaking like a tin can, dropping suddenly, swerving left and right. Couldn’t we simply go around the clouds, I kept thinking, well, actually screaming in my head, not out loud, thank goodness. But, apparently, it was all no big deal, we made it safely and once on the ground I became quite brave and thought wow, now that’s really living, wasn’t that an amazing experience? And the pilots just sauntered off because they do this every day.
This, after a 1:30 am start in Los Angeles, a seven hour layover on El Salvador, before my short flight to San Jose and quick change, running to that little tin contraption for the 45 minute flight to Lyberia. Pouring rain upon my arrival. Completely empty airport, in fact, it was ten o’clock at night and they were turning off all the lights. Never had that experience before. And never so glad to see my friendly neighbor for the next month, Henry who drove me the remaining two hours, along increasingly smaller and steeper and more pot-holed roads until we finally reached my little paradise. Friends, Barbara and Lawrence’s hideaway home.
And who kept me company on this journey and on all my journeys?
- Indiana Jones hat, because you never know when something creepy or crawly might plop down and try to embed itself in ones hair.
- Leather backpack–to go with leather Indiana Jones hat. Indestructible, it holds my most important possession, my computer. And my Tablet when I want to put on headphones and shut out the world.
- Tumi shoulder bag. Also indestructible. Has accompanied me here, there and everywhere. Forget those ugly and often gaudy and way too noticeable designer bags. Never owned one. Well, ok, except for that one understated, black Kate Spade that I have had for years and use on rare occasions when I simply have no choice but to dress up, which I am quite capable of doing if needed.
- Cozy mystery. This one happens to be by Donna Leon, but my favorites right now continue to be the Inpsector Ikmen series by Barbara Nadel that take place in Istanbul. I read every one of them before my visit there last summer and they were spot on with atmosphere and fascinating characters.
- Oh, and who is this, hitching a ride? Godzilla. Just found him in my bag, a pleasant surprise, he was there on Martha’s Vineyard and didn’t cause any trouble so I think I will keep him on all my journeys. He seems to enjoy the adventures and looks at the world the same way I do; with wide-eyed wonder. Others might interpret his expression as aggressive, I choose to interpret it as wide-eyed wonder.