Hellanback's impatience and the Atlantic Ocean prevented him from making the entire journey to Cairo from New Mexico pennilessly. At first he planned to navigate the ocean as a merchant seaman, and jump ship on the other side. He went to New Orleans where he worked for six weeks as deckhand on a standby boat for an offshore oilrig to get the necessary documentation to acquire seaman's papers. Coast Guard officials in New Orleans refused to issue a "Z Card" because of his youthful criminal record.

"A matter like this has to be cleared through headquarters in D.C.," he was told. Hellanback hitchhiked to Washington, D.C., where he was able to speed the administrative process. But when he took his papers to the National Maritime Union Hall in Manhattan he learned there wasn't a chance of shipping out for at least six months.

So he got a job doing construction for two weeks, and called TWA.

"How much for a ticket to Morocco?"

"Where do you want to go in Morocco?" the ticket agent asked. Hellanback hadn't even glanced at a map.

"Uh ... how about Casablanca, that's in Morocco, isn't it?"

He bought a one way ticket and sent his remaining money to Donna.

His flight made stops in Madrid and Tangiers before ending in Casablanca. The airport was small, informal, and surrounded by white sand. Customs was no problem, all he carried was a blanket, rolled up with a rope through the middle for carrying over his shoulder. "Taxi? Taxi?" Many voices invited as he stepped from the tiny terminal building.

"Thanks, I'm going to walk."

"You can't walk. Thirty kilometers to the city," a driver protested.

Hot sand everywhere, not a penny in his pocket for a cab, much less to get back on the plane.

"Am I nuts?" He asked again. Walking toward the city he reminded himself that if the philosophy of Jesus was sound his trip would work out fine; if it didn't work out and he died in the desert it wouldn't matter whether he was crazy.

When he reached Casablanca he found that the route to Cairo lay north, back through Tangiers. "Allah wo Akbar." A musical voice thundered in the city. He felt like a fool, standing there, looking around, trying to figure out if it was the end of the world, while the city moved about him as if nothing odd were happening. Eventually he deduced the male voices, booming from minarets, called the faithful to prayer at regular intervals during the day.

Wandering around the city he discovered the gaudy, raucous Souk. Speaking very understandable English, a boy no older than ten tried to interest Hellanback in a wide variety of licit and illicit commodities. The youngster said that he spoke seven other languages as well as he spoke English. Hellanback, speaking only English, felt more foolish.

A tailor, seated with several apprentices in the shade of his little shop edging the dusty street, offered Hellanback "Chai." Curious, but suspicious, Hellanback accepted. Sweet black tea appeared, in double-shot sized glasses.

The conversation followed a script that would be repeated many times. Before getting kicked out of school in the 9th grade, Hellanback had learned a few words of French, and was able to grasp a phrase here and there. "Where are you from?" "Where are you going?" The speakers found they hadn't many words in common, and questions remained simple. "How old are you?" "Have you brothers and sisters?"

One of the tailor's apprentices made a lengthy statement. Hellanback's blank expression showed he had no idea what was being said. A burly man drew a picture of a fish, like a shark with pointed teeth. He began chuckling, pointing at his drawing, then at Hellanback. "La mer. La mer. Semack, semack," the man repeated. The others were laughing and chattering. Thinking the man was calling his mother a shark, Hellanback was offended. Trying to figure how Jesus would react to the situation, Hellanback glared at the man.

In time it became clear that the men were trying to explain that the tailor's apprentice had invited Hellanback to his home for a fish dinner.

Chagrined, Hellanback followed the apprentice to his two-story white stucco house in a comfortable neighborhood, complete with TV and indoor plumbing. He was welcomed by the apprentice's parents and sister, who lavished attention on their guest, trying to make him feel at home. He left their house and the city next morning reflecting how suspicion can sour understanding.

IN THE ROAD TO TANGIERS ===================>>