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The Argonauts - whereareyougoing (Page 3)

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The Argonauts - whereareyougoing
STOLL/Falling Uphill ©2005
I think. My driver is not deterred and we speed towards nowhere down the wrong side of the road, across
sidewalks and through parking garages.
My driver looks at me in his mirror, smiles the famous all-purpose Thai smile and asks, "Why you go
In other words, he is asking the second most popular question in the world and the most important:
"Why are you cycling around the world?" or simply, "Why?" On a deeper level, it asks: "What is the
meaning of your life? Why don't you just curl up and die?" I believe everyone, consciously or not, is
taking inventory of their lives and asking themselves the same questions. Paradoxically, I won't be able to
answer this question until the end of my journey.
"I've heard a lot about this place. I want to see where it is?"
"Just looking?"
"Yes, just to look," which is as good an answer as any -- enjoy the moment.
"Where you from?" he asks? This is the third most popular question in the world. I believe people are
searching for clues to my motivation and the means to my goal.
"Ah. U.S.A." This is the part of the conversation that goes sour when people either beg for money
and visas or criticize the US for its meddling in the Middle East. Instead he asks, "You like Thailand?"
Almost all people are proud of their country and want to make a good impression on their guests. Some
countries challenge my optimism, but Thailand meets all my requirements: affordable prices, friendly
people, liberal attitude, breath-taking scenery, delicious food and beautiful women. The weather is a little
troublesome. It is monsoon season. Usually, mid-afternoon the storms start. First the winds knock all the
dust and leaves off the grounds and then big globs of rain slam them back down. So far, the monsoons
have been predictable and not nearly as fearsome as a Midwest thunderstorm, which can pick you up and
drop you in the next county. My biggest problem is the heat and humidity. It gives me heat rash and
splitting headaches due to heat exhaustion and salt depletion, until I discovered the cure: a plate of
chicken fried rice with an extra helping of salty fish sauce and a pitcher of ice water. In Thailand, all the

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