Egypt postcard

Dirty rose under yellow and blue horizon, sun setting, I’m riding in the center on the stripes, as locals do. 210 k’s, 10 hours with minimal breaks, hardly headwind relent. Hear a truck behind, angle toward the edge. Most locals don’t use headlights at night, but flick them on momentarily when they think they might see something. Obviously, I’m not joking, as that wouldn’t be the least bit funny but rather a kind of deranged supposition. This reality is somewhat mitigated by the aforementioned driving in the center, so I know I can just drift right (or left) and be relatively safe. Being on the roads after dark is one of those things people urge you not to do here, which is a responsible bit of wisdom to write down in a book, but — like advice not to walk in certain neighborhoods at night — it is only marginally related to on the ground reality. I’m musing about the fact that this is even pleasant. Confident, too, in that I’m lit up like a bowling alley marquee, can’t compete, though, with a mosque I pass, decorated in neon green, blue, pink, and red trim. Mosques are cool, did I yell that out loud just now?, I’m laughing giddy, there hasn’t been much food today, ragged and loopy, I talk more at the sky, I sing, I think up and then immediately forget excellent bits of movie dialogue, I can see, 6?, 10k? the oasis in the distance. Arriving into town saying the usual hellos and not pausing too long with maps lest that lead to a friendly but protracted discussion, there is no avoiding three teens intercepting me, interested very much in my spectacle. I roll close, give their leader a high five to create a positive disposition. Ask in Arabic for the hotel I am looking for. They enthusiastically offer to show me the way, animated conversation — one has quite decent english — about my bicycle and journey and country. I can see in his eyes that he wants to ride it but won’t ask, so I hop off and tell him to go ahead, he speeds off around the corner. Theoretically, abstractly like words written on a chalkboard, I consider that I might not see him again but there is no plummet in my center. I continue with his friends, he comes back exhilarated. They all take rides.

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