Sunday, April 14, 2019

What to Do When in Doubt

  1. Get your passport stamped. It always comes out a little blurry, but most of your friends back home will probably believe that you were there.
  2. Breathe in and count to ten. Write the numbers down to make sure you don’t skip any. (Seven is notoriously slippery, even on the first day.)
  3. Hire a guide. It should be easy to find someone who speaks your language, but you may have some trouble convincing him to show you around. Tell him you don’t mind if he’s new at this.
  4. See the sights. Your guide will be unable to tell you what any of them are called. At one building, he will gather together a small group of passersby and ask them if they know what it is. None can name it, but they each describe the interior in great detail. Each description is completely different, to which the others all say “yes, that is right.”
  5. Dismiss your guide with thanks. You will find lodgings inside this building, but you must enter alone.
  6. Make yourself comfortable. There is no staff, so you will have to make your own bed and keep the bathroom clean. You will find everything you need waiting for you.
  7. Look through your luggage. If you find a photograph of a person, a dog, or a guitar, put it out on the nightstand. It is probably someone you love. Dust it every day.
  8. Take long walks through the city. Occasionally someone will stop you and ask the name of a building. It’s alright if you don’t know. Enjoy the freedom of not knowing.
  9. If someone asks you to be their guide, welcome them, and do your best.
  10. One day, you will come to a bustling terminal, surrounded by people looking slightly disoriented and trying to count to ten. You can no longer get any farther than three, but when someone asks for your passport, you’re surprised to note that you had put it in your pocket that morning. Do not go back for your luggage, not even the photograph.

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