04 December, 2008

NOUS SOMMES TOUS AMÉRICAINS

“Mate, be back in a little while.”

We watched with our jaws to the floor as the kilted man hoisted his bagpipes and headed out the hostel. It was an unlikely gathering of strangers right before Christmas. The Argie, a Mexican, and I, all in our 20s, and then the 40-something Scot checked in. After playing his pipes for sometime in the cobblestone streets of altstadt Zürich, the Scotsman came back and we headed to a pub on Hauptbahnhof Straße to celebrate his earnings. Travelers make friends easily.

Street tag in Bern, Switzerland in December 2001

After my month-long sojourn in Chile and the south of Argentina, it was back to business on Capitol Hill. My unstructured and pleasurable life of a hobo was over.

“You gotta turn on CNN!” my friend screamed into the phone.

It was a perfect September morning in Washington. The day was sunny and warm and the sky was the bluest shade of blue. Having just returned from South America ten days ago, I was taking my time easing back to life in the rat race.

I watched in amazement as the news commentators debated about the gaping hole in the World Trade Center. Hours later, the Twin Towers tumbled to the ground and the Pentagon was ablaze. Mobile phones crashed and thousands of Capitol Hill staffers, members of Congress, lobbyists, police officers, and visitors wandered the grounds.

“A plane is heading for the Capitol!” some speculated.

Just then a sonic boom thundered across the southern sky. I dropped behind a metal file cabinet and thought it was my time - and I couldn’t even use the mobile to call mom. But it was an air force fighter climbing to intercept possible inbound airliners.

What followed was months of anger and confusion. The government had to act but anthrax chased us out of our Capitol Hill offices. We held meetings at cafes and I scribbled floor speeches and drafted legislation in hallways and on notebook paper. Those were uncertain times.

NOUS SOMMES TOUS AMÉRICAINS, declared France’s Le Monde.

We are all Americans indeed. Outside of my family, the first people to contact me about my safety were Marie and Xavier, a Parisian couple I met at San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Travelers make friends easily.

“It’s time to stop being scared,” I thought to myself. “It’s time to travel again.”

Three months after that day of days, I bought the first cheap ticket to the first attractive location I saw. It was Zürich.

4 comments:

Broke But Still Drinking said...

I'm not afraid of the terrorists but the long lines at the airport scare the shit out of me.

Baino said...

Wow I hadn't thought about you being in the thick of it in Washington but that brought the memories back. It was mooted that the Pennsylvanian plane was headed for the Whitehouse. You're so right, travelers do make friends easily and certainly that day we were all Americans. Not long now Ted, you must be getting excited!

Quickroute said...

yep - I was in NY - overslept and the father-in-law called and woke me up and told me to turn on the TV - never forget it - obviously!

disa said...

hi5 tv,a383,微風論壇,微風,伊莉,伊莉討論區,伊莉論壇,sogo論壇,台灣論壇,plus論壇,plus,痴漢論壇,維克斯論壇,情色論壇,性愛,性感影片,校園正妹牆,正妹,AV,AV女優,SEX,走光,a片,a片免費看,A漫,h漫,成人漫畫,免費A片,色情網站,色情遊戲,情色文學,麗的色遊戲,色情,色情影片,同志色教館,色色網,色遊戲,自拍,本土自拍,kk俱樂部,後宮電影院,後宮電影,85cc免費影城,85cc免費影片,免費影片,免費小遊戲,免費遊戲,小遊戲,遊戲,好玩遊戲,好玩遊戲區,A片,情趣用品,遊戲區,史萊姆好玩遊戲,史萊姆,遊戲基地,線上遊戲,色情遊戲,遊戲口袋,我的遊戲口袋,小遊戲區,手機遊戲,貼圖,A片,A片下載,成人影城,愛情公寓,情色貼圖,情色,色情網站,色情遊戲,色情小說,情色文學,色情,aio交友愛情館,色情影片,臺灣情色網,寄情築園小遊戲,情色論壇,嘟嘟情人色網,情色視訊,愛情小說,言情小說