Prologue

It was women who led me to travel. In 1982, there was the Eurail trip across Europe on discounted trains. I swept through Paris, Geneva, Milan, then a bit of Germany before Amsterdam and back. A Gilded Age Grand Tour. But the following summer, Sophie stayed on a kibbutz and then travelled through the West Bank to Jordan and beyond. Going further afield was a thing, no matter what the news reported. And when I met up with Peggy, she showed me photos of 14 months around Asia and the world opened up.

семнадцать. The Mule

Jed took hold of the dried lizards, I took the bong and together we ran to the train. A three foot bong is difficult enough to handle without having both hands occupied with plastic bags of food and drink, and a rucksack on your back. I pinched it under my arm and stepped out from the tourist waiting room into a calm night heat. The sounds of Beijing eluded us on the platform.

Veinticuatro. Alice Part 2

Alice slipped her arm under mine as if to seek protection in the folds of my body but I felt like a child warmed in her embrace. Each step we took through the mist revealed a new tree broken from its roots and lain flat on grass that shone with the morning dew. I asked: “Why does your father always talk to me about religion?”