This is the end of an era. Or a beginning of an end. Everything beautiful has its ends, and now is the time for me to have a break and concentrate on the real issues at hand. Near future will be one with memories and events never to forget.
My friend (yes, I still have friends) is coming to Hong Kong and we are about to start our mutual quest. My name is Phileas Fogg, not really, and my partner follows the name Passepartout, not really. Our mission is not to travel around the world in 80 days but to retrieve the Holy Grail containing the blood of Jesus. This may well be written in the pages of postmodern history. After reading some literature I have made a stunning discovery: the blood of Jesus is hidden in Mekong River, or some sources indicate that another option is somewhere along the Silk Road in China. We have to dig haunting graves, explore dangerous and deep caves, meet strange talking people, drink mysterious beers, swim piranha filled waters, fight against our rivals with our wits and turn all rocks so that we can eventually solve this mystery which has surrounded us for more than thousand, maybe even millions of years. This will be a huge adventure filled with dangers and excitements, but someone has to volunteer for the sake of better future for our children. We will be well prepared. I have gathered all that I think necessary, said farewells, shed tears and kept speeches; it is time, everything is ready. The necessities include:
l twenty passport size photos - to hand over as gifts to those unfortunate ones
l one pair of indoor shoes - can be used also outdoor (my invention)
l one can of tuna (no opener) – works as a trade product if necessary
l map of Hong Kong - we may never know when we may return
l Bible - even Dr. Livingstone had with him when he went and paid a visit to black Africa
l Swimming suit - nudism would be too much of a risk
l a whip - if Indiana Jones had it, I have to have it
l Camera - for us to take pictures to share in Facebook
l Computer - for us to upload pictures to Facebook
l Postcards - to send from different places back home
l Stamps - to put into postcards
l Money - to bribe, buy and humiliate people who don’t have money
We understand that many in South-East Asia or China haven’t seen men like us before so they might startle us at first but after we nourish them with our intellect, charm and timeless wisdom, we are sure to make contacts useful to us on our quest. We will bring gifts like Starbucks coupons, used DVDs, pencils, rice, small Jesus statues and crucifixes, and western cooking recipes to ease the path. It is their fortune to meet us, not the other way around. But of course they can provide us valuable information how to find the Grail. They must know something, and money is the answer to open these chests of secrecy.
We will begin our journey from Shanghai, a small village located in eastern china. There we will do some ground work and search people who might know something about long-distance history. We are confident that locals are able to help us to find information of the whereabouts of the Grail, an artifact symbolizing the West’s belief of immortality, supremacy and religious vanity. The Chinese are very well aware of the world history; at least this sounds the most promising place to start. From Shanghai we will head to Taipei, the capitol of Taiwan and city of once forgotten Chinese traditionalism. I have heard that the Taiwanese people treat their quests with warmth and hospitality. If lucky the Grail will already be found here, and we don’t have to move on at all, although this would need more than beginner’s luck to become reality. In Taiwan we are also accompanied by Mr. Karvinen, a famous research assistant and sociologist from Tampere Finland. Hopefully he will turn out to be more than a basic tourist, but we fear the worst.
Bangkok is our first stop in South East Asia, a place full of interesting business possibilities. Luckily we are not there to make money but to use it as a hub to get transportation to Cambodia, a paradise of millions of land mines and a long and horrendous Khmer-history. We will be there to make our own history so why be interested in history of others, who wants to know a history of death and genocide any way: positive attitude, that’s the spirit! Angkor Wat will probably the only place in Cambodia where we might go and do some sightseeing, after all it is nominated as one of the Seven Wonders of the World right after Pentagon, Berlin Wall and Big Ben. Tomb Raider was also filmed partly in Cambodia, and it only proves that there are many secrets to unravel. And it might be even true that Jesus visited Cambodia one time during his travels. Rumors have wings as they say.
Laos was once also a colony of France. Why did they gave it up, I wonder. Well Laos is situated above Cambodia and offers plenty of nice spots to do some grave digging. In Laos people are poor so they will tell us what we need. It is unlikely that Graal would be found there but in the vast Laotian jungles lodges many blood drinking tribes of ancient Hmong people. Maybe they have also some clues where the blood of Jesus is hidden. I can even give them some of my precious blood what they can use as a potion of eternal life. Hopefully we can also find our way to gibbon forest, a holy forest inhabitated by mute people who look miraculously like monkeys.
China is our second best bet to find the Grail. Yunnan Province is the natural first leg of our China conquest. Before arriving to Beijing we have around 6000 kilometers of distance and space to cover in less than one week. But we are everything but unconfident of finding the treasure. We just need to work harder and trust our instincts as professional explorers. After we have found and taken the blood to our hands we will leave the colossal continent of China using a Russian train – maybe the most trusted and praised form of transportation on earth. This high speed train will take us home faster than any other. Trip will last only for two weeks, no less. I always wonder how the people in the early days were able to manage without these modern innovations. I should be home before August but anything can happen when taking part in such a risky mission. But you should all know that we are doing it for you. We are giving our contribution to the world by trying to locate something which can really change the course of time. At the same time we consume lots of beer, food, roads, gas, time, tracks and the company of ourselves and others. We hope you all have a nice summer and will remember us when we are famous, in return - we won’t remember you.
Nipa (and Make)