Happy World Friendship Day and this post is dedicated to the friends we make around the world on our travels.
And whom we’re all missing so much.
Winnie the Pooh is the patron of World Friendship Day.
And who better than the silly willy-nilly old bear all stuffed with fluff.
I’m forever indebted to Mississippian Zach who looked after me (and the rest of the group but mostly me).
On the second leg of my American Odyssey in the Deep South.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King and honouring the two other Kings, Elvis and BB King.
Hit the road Zach
If it had been left to me it would have been more Tragical than Magical Mystery Tour.
With me leaving my mobile phone back in Cleveland, 124 miles from state capital Jackson.
Where we were assembling for the opening of the Two Mississippi Museums, the Museum of Mississippi and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
Zach only organised for a friend who he said was travelling up to the opening himself, but who may very well have been enlisted to help this dopey Scotsman, to take the mobile with him.
The story doesn’t end there though.
’We’re not getting someone to travel 100 miles if you forget your mobile phone this time!’
Geraldine, my Soca friend
We binge-watched American sitcoms when the children were younger (whaddya mean? we still do).
And that meant following the misfortunes of old divil Arthur who had to be walked by his daughter Carrie’s friend Holly.
I’m obviously too young for any of that only I’m not.
As well as being a reason for getting up early Geraldine went the extra mile for me.
When I showed an interest in Soca music by singing King Bubba tunes.
And on the last day of my trip a CD of her favourite Soca music was waiting for me at reception.
Ich bin ein Dresdener
If only I’d had Ingrid as my teacher when I was young.
Ingrid took us on a walk through Dresden and Saxon history at the German Travel Mart.
Her grandmother had talked to her about the Red Heaven firestorm that set alight their city at the end of the Second World War.
And told us of life under Communist rule. So good I went back for the same tour after my booze cruise on the River Elbe.
I wear the wrist band pass for the tour to this day.
Jose, the real Special One
I can’t take her anywhere.
And explaining at any given opportunity why his home town of Coimbra is the centre of the Portuguese (and wider) world.
When El Scary One pipes up about how she doesn’t like Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.
Suck-up that I am I mentioned how inspiring they both were and got my wine glasses filled up and beers bought for me.
What Amann, what a man, what a mighty good man
It’s never easy being a guide and even tougher when you can’t eat and drink while the rest of your party are stuffing their faces and lubricating.
But Zuhair cheerfully took us all around Petra, the Dead and Red Seas and the baptism sites of Jesus, Mt Nebo.
Where Moses looked out onto the Promised Land and Wadi Rum.
And waited for the end of the evening Call to Arms before putting fork to food.
We were an interntational party and it’s well seen that Jordanians are the peacebrokers in the Middle East if Zuhair is anything to go by.
Friends all and friends for life…
And now I’ve begun I’ll bring you more of the guides who have made my trips and the friends from the parties I have been on.
MEET YOU ON THE ROAD