What will they think of this crazy, dusty, fascinating country? Is it even that crazy? Mami, not too long ago, asked me if I had lost perspective, grown a bit numb. "I don't know," I wrote back. Maybe I have.
Last month, Rachel's brother visited from London. One night, a group of us sat on the second floor of Corner 33 Bar, looking through the glass windows at the gilded Royal Palace and National Museum across, then adorned with tiny triangular flags flapping in the wind. He had just arrived in the city, and, that evening, for a short while anyway, I followed his eyes. I followed their gaze to the hawking moto drivers below, to the women pushing their carts full of eggs and bread, to the rain drumming the windows, to the flooding streets, to the saffron-robed monks seeking alms, to the children begging, to the disorder and chaos, the continuous movement below. He noted, aptly, that encased in that air-conditioned bar, suspended above it all, removed, you could have mistaken this bar for one in London.