Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gladiator of Morocco

The New Gladiator of Morocco

We didn’t stay long in Marrakesh, we were again on an eleven hour bus ride to our next destination. (Oh joy) The one thing keeping me sane is we are on our way to where they shot “Gladiator,” one of my all time favorite movies.
Morocco, though mostly Sahara desert, also has a mountainous region, as well as sporadic oasis; flowering beauty in the midst of a vast expanse of nothingness. The mountain regions, I am told, bloom with great beauty after rains.

valley in Morocco

We continue our journey, finally, in a scraggly hillside I see ancient buildings rising from the dusty hillside. This city is over 1,000 years old and has become quite the attraction for tourists brave enough to venture the vast stretches of nothingness that comprise Morocco.
The car finally stops. Excitedly, I race past all the souvenir shops, up a hill, and into the ancient city. It is relatively well preserved and apparently a couple families still live amongst the ruins. I finally arrive at the top of the mountain and gaze down. A local river, although currently depleted of water, accounts for some of the green.
ancient city where Gladiator was shot
Ancient ruins
I sit atop the hill imagining what Maximus Desmudus Meridius, Commander Of The Armies of the North, father of a murdered son, husband of a murdered wife, thought when he gazed down upon the remnants of the coliseum below at the beginning of the first millennium. More than likely: “This is soooo cool!”

(check out the coliseum they filmed with and then added CGI to Gladiator!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Juice Nazi Of Marrakesh

The Juice Nazi Of Marrakesh

the entrance to the square in Marrakesh
Though less crowded than usual due to Ramadan, Morocco’s most famous square was still pretty much non-stop hustle and bustle in the early afternoon. Musicians, ice cream bars, restaurants, performers, monkey handlers, vendors, and … snnnnnaaakkkkeeeessss!!!!
I instinctively freeze. Directly in my path are three puff adders and a king cobra, coiled like springs, hissing, praying that someone ventures within striking distance so they can release their pent-up frustrations of having to listen to a tone-deaf flute player, all day commanding them to dance. In the middle of the Marrekesh’s medina ... are some of the world’s deadliest snakes.
The snake charmer doesn’t sit more than a meter away from them. With all the oblivious tourists walking by, it is obvious these snakes are de-fanged. 100% guaranteed.
The snake charmer beckons me to approach. I won’t do it. How funny it is that I am willing to assault 12 foot long crocodile on a riverbank in Ghana that could easily kill me, but won’t go near snakes that, at least intellectually, I realize pose no threat.
I am told that primates also have a natural fear of snakes, and note, throughout every single culture, be it Roman, Ghanaian, Christian, the serpent has always been the representation of evil. I guess some things might just be hardwired into the collective human psyche.

I return to the square at night with Bruce, who is seemingly one of the few other people in my group with any sense of adventure. I definitely wanted to see the square at full tilt after people were able to break their Ramadan fasts.
Make eye contact with a Moroccan here, be prepared to be sold Something; leather, souvenirs, hashish, whatever you want, it’s available. I run into two funny looking brothers who force some ancient musical instrument into my hand and sing the word, “America, America, America” over and over and over with me til I burst out laughing, which is their queue to extend their hands, expectantly awaiting the royalties for our new hit single.
Singing the hit song "America" on Moroccan Idol-- Source: "Rolling Stone"
Large carts serve as storefronts for most vendors, many selling the same exact products side by side. Almost all merchants get an A+ for presentation. It’s a competitive marketplace.

One of the fresh squeezed orange juice stands has a line much longer than the others. I am told by a local that the owner is one of the great juice artisans of our time. I need to get a video of this, I raise my camera to check the lighting. The stand owner notices, and shakes his finger at me strongly, a disgusted look on his face. “You no take my picture, I am not a monkey!”
“I wasn’t taking your picture, I was checking the light—
“—No, I see you take my picture! You take my picture. You must learn Respect.”
“No I didn’t, I was going to film a little video vignette while I was buying some orange juice from you.”
“You? You think you can get a juice? You want my juice?”
“Yes, I do.”
“No juice for you! Come back one year!”
I stood there in shock. Then, he took it upon himself to serve Bruce a free glass of juice, and followed it up by giving him a fresh squeezed bottle of OJ to take with him. And while serving Bruce, he was giving me a death stare, the entire time. The following is a scientific breakdown of the Juice Nazi’s eye contact--
Richard- 100% (death stare)
Bruce- 1%
(Disclaimer-- this study comes with a 1% margin of error)
So as you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to traveling with Rich. On one hand, his rude and boorish behavior might further degrade America’s already sullen image throughout the world, and possibly be a marker future historians will point to as a catalyst for World War III, but on the plus side; you’re quite likely to get a free glass of juice. Pack your bags.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Al Qaeda" Taxi Drivers of Marrekesh versus Israel

My Jedi training continues as the store I went to did not have what I needed, and I had to board a Land Speeder with some of the local aliens. I am informed a fair price to the medina (marketplace) was 20 dirham (Morocco’s currency) , but the locals were having none of that.
It is Ramadan, and I needed a specialized item. We haggled and settled on the price of 50 dirham.
They both got in the cab with me, causing me a moment of consternation as that is not something that I am used to. What if they were Imperial Guard Al Qaeda. I kept my window rolled down in case these towel heads got any ideas …
And I mean that literally. Some of my US Marine buddies refer to Arabs in a derogatory manner with such terms, but they were wearing towels atop their heads, and for good reason. It’s a 120 degrees Fahrenheit outside and these towels are soaked with cold water which cools them throughout the day.
Muslims, following the rules of Ramadan are not allowed to drink during daylight hours. At least this way they aren’t getting completely dehydrated. And here’s the thing, I didn’t see one person breaking the Ramadan fast. I seriously wonder how many Americans would stand-up to a liquid fast in 120 degree weather, FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH, when most of them can’t even follow a fricking diet.
This takes a lot of willpower! Respect!
Guaranteed monkeys
These two guys, you could tell they had been friends, like Forever. They argued in Arabic like an old married couple about which store was most likely to have it, who would be open, etc. I didn’t know the entire content of the conversation, but it was a lot of fun to listen to nonetheless.
What’s more, these guys both know 5 languages each; Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and English, and one also knew German and the other Berber (a native Moroccon dialect) It blew my mind. People think I am a whiz kid in the States cause I speak Spanish, Italian, and understand Polish. In Morocco five languages is COMMON.
We turn the topic to politics. These two taxi drivers know more about what is going on in America than the average US Citizen. Let me sum up their political views which, by and large, the majority Moroccons I spoke with echoed.
First off, they really like Obama. They were really surprised that America elected a person of color, which demonstrated to them that America is actually much more tolerant than the radicals of Islam preach. Mainly they like him because Obama is much more likely to solve things diplomatically rather than through war, like George W Bush, who no one, in this region, likes.
As they simply put it, “Who gained anything from the Iraqi war. Many many Arabs died, many US troops as well, it sewed plentiful seeds of hatred, and cost everyone a lot of money.”
While I agreed with them, I had to play devils advocate. “At least Sadaam Hussein is no longer in power. At least, in theory, every Iraqi has a political say.”
Give them credit for momentarily considering my statement before responding, “Not even close to worth it.”

Is there anti-Semitism in Morocco? YES. But not from these guys, though they really dislike Israel because they “kill innocent Palestinians, and make life miserable for them.” They have no problem with Jewish people, just Israel.
Jews used to make up 25% of the Moroccon population, and though many emigrated to Israel, the King of Morocco, who I am told is generally respected and considered progressive, is actually courting Jews to return, as they, in the past, were the backbone of the economy.
The younger a person is in Morocco, the more likely they are to be Anti-Semitic. A theory another driver told me was that they see nothing but non-stop bad news coming out of that region, and the news in the Arab world rarely (if ever) portrays Israel in a positive light.
These guys are smart, these guys are intelligent, these guys are disciplined enough not to break the Ramadan fast in 120 degree weather, and they just spent a half hour each driving me around, educating me, making sure that I got the right adapter for $3 each! Against this backdrop, I don't see how Americans are able to complain about ANYTHING. We are incredibly fortunate to born in our great country.
We get back to the hotel, and they must have felt slightly guilty as they collected the agreed upon price, not sure if is right to overcharge an amicable guy like me. “You know, we had to get you there, it Ramadan, you would have paid a higher price at the electronics store without us—"
I’m not hearing any of this nonsense. It was worth EVERY PENNY. Here’s a tip.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jedi Training On Marrakesh (Morocco)

Jedi Training On Marrakesh

Landing in Morocco for a second time (the first a twelve hour layover on our way to Ghana), we were warmly met by our marvellous guide Hamid, and after making it through customs, we loaded onto the bus and set sail for … wait a second, where’s Nancy?!
Oh my God, she’s stuck in customs. The Imperial Guards of Morocco have taken her hostage! Her passport is Belizian and the visa company she went through didn’t bother getting her a double entry! She’s not getting in!
A droid rolls its way onto the bus making strange beeping noises, we all surround it, trying to get it to talk, but it will only communicate with Hamid. A video message plays for him. A grainy image from Princess Lea, “Help me Obi-Won Konobi, you’re my only help.” Spry beyond his years, Hamid springs into action, levitating off our starcraft.
Half an hour later, a visibly shaken Nancy is rescued, and back amongst us.
I sit by Hamid. Is he, in fact, Obi-Won-Konobi performing a Jedi mind trick on the Imperial Immigration Officers? Can I learn the power of the Force from him to defeat big, tall, black, half-machine/half man Darth Vader (Rico Hanes) and bring order back to the galaxy? “How did you it Obi-Won?” young Luke Skywalker inquires.
Our Jedi Master is incredibly modest, at first he wants no credit. Luke presses him again.
“You exert confidence and authority without making them feel less then,” Obi-Won finally explains, “You hint that you have the ability to call someone who will make them do it, but put them in charge and give them the credit for making the right decision. You acknowledge that there was a mistake made, because you are showing them respect, but you also make clear that it wasn’t her (Nancy’s) fault, and that the visa company made the error. If they suggest that they talk to their superior, that’s when you tell them that you wish to speak with their boss, or they, themselves, can make the right decision, and it is in their hands, their power. Then they feel good granting amnesty.”
Skywalker’s ears are at attention.
Marrakesh
The entrance to the main square of Marrakesh
Even on this super-sonic spacecraft, it took over four hours to traverse the vast chasm of space between Casablanca and Marrekesh. I kept begging Han Solo to take the Millenium Falcon up to warp speed, but his curt reply, “What, this bucket of bolts?” was substantiated by a roar from a nearby Wookie.
It’s not an exaggeration to say we were in “space.” Morocco is largely mountainous or desert, with a few oasis (planets capable of supporting life) between them. The rest, a vast nothingness.
Dunes in the Sahara desert- where they actually did shoot Star Wars
Upon landing on Marrekesh, I jumped off the spacecraft and immediately started running in the direction of a store I was told had the necessary adapter for my computer. Skywalker was a little hasty. Planet Marrekesh regular reaches a full 120 degrees Farenheit (51 degrees “Centigrade” -- which is a bizarre, alien scale this part of the galaxy uses to measure temperature, where water freezes at zero and boils at one hundred. I am told that the odd molecular structure of Marrekeshian water accounts for its eerie boiling and freezing points. My father, an MIT physicist, has told me that water’s properties have no variance … Well, well, well; Take that, “Dr. Science!”)
Though I completed the half mile run without any ill effects, I sometimes wonder when my luck will run out, as people have been known to suffer heat stroke from far lesser activity, but such are the travails of a less than brilliant padawan.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Etherean Shakedown

The Theory of Ghanaian Time Relativity

In contrast to the Western World, which operates on the standard 24 hour clock, though the numbers might appear identical, Ghana uses what is known as the “Astrological Clock,” wherein, after agreeing to a 10 AM appointment, your next duty is to immediately consult a local psychic who will confirm that your meeting will begin at 2 PM sharp! (or 8:30 AM depending on your psychic.)
Having failed to consult the local soothsayer, we arrived at The Etherean Mission (Tetteh’s Church) at promptly 10 AM. Apparently the guests of honor, the local chiefs, had three different psychics, each of whom, independently, came to the consensus, and this was considered a miracle by all of the Ghana, especially considering the pinpoint accuracy of their independent prophecies, that the event would not begin at 10 AM.

This doesn’t mean that we were bored while we waited for the chiefs to straggle in. The beat of African drums, and the extremely warm and friendly churchgoers lead to enthusiastic dance party in the courtyard.
I had made quick friends with a young, pretty African girl named Jessica, she tells me that “I’m a pretty good dancer … for a white guy.” (Anyone remember that song by the Offspring, ‘Pretty Fly for a White Guy’ ?”

Jessica Boifo, Accra Ghana

(Check out Jessica’s beautiful blinged out dress. This is kinta cloth. It can be very pretty ... sadly, for y'all, footage of us all dancing and many other pictures were lost while transferring from my camera :(

Check out the row of children. I think church is the same for kids everywhere
I ask Jessica a million questions about Ghana.
A middle class wage is about $550 a month. Her Mother, a pharmacist who works for the government, makes somewhere around that, but her Father, who works for a private company, makes substantially more. And while the $2,500 or so this family of four brings in a month makes them on the wealthy side for Ghanaians, it is in obvious contrast to the purchase power such an amount would be in the US.

The beautiful dress you see above, which she very much values, the fabric alone if I remember correctly, costs in excess of $200. It was a gift from her parents, and she hired a seamstress to customize the cut for her. Jessica loves fashion and one day wants to travel to Milan to study fashion.

All Ghanaians love soccer. They are proud of their World Cup team, who would have made the semi-finals if not for a Uruguayan player’s blatant and intentional hand ball which prevented a Ghanese goal at the end of the game. It is sore spot for every Ghanaian, and Suarez (the Uruguayan player) is unlikely to ever be granted a visa to the country. In fact, I am sure the immigration officer would relish the opportunity to stamp his application, "DENIED!" 100% of Ghanaians within 50 miles of a television watched the game. There wasn’t a single car on the road.

Divorce is exceedingly rare in Ghana, and the family and extended family, are a very tight knit group. The most powerful man in Ghana, is not the President, Jessica informs me, but rather the Ashanti Chief, who presides over the mining (gold in particular) region of Ghana.
Obama is very popular here in Ghana. He represents hope unheard of. The Ghanaians simply did not believe that it was possible for a person of color to be elected President of the United States. On the eve of the election, the people of this country watched the results more closely than the majority of people in the United States.

When Obama was declared president, a mighty roar was heard in all corners of Ghana. It wasn’t so much the fact that Obama is black that they were cheering, but rather, the fact that the impossible just took place. What dream could possibly be out of reach, now that America has elected a black man?
Also of interest, Ghanaians were thrilled when Obama chose to visit Ghana, but some were suspicious that this was business as usual for America, since Ghana had very recently discovered a large amount of oil, and they thought perhaps Obama was there to plunder their wealth.




(African dancers- pretty fly, even for black guys :)



The Chiefs Arrive
“Later” finally arrived, and the chiefs were accounted for. The aforementioned Ashanti chief was invited to the ceremony, but as he could not attend, he sent three of his local sub-chiefs in his place.
There was dancing, a few ceremonies, and, believe it or not, a lecture on Ghanaian law during which Jessica and I took it upon ourselves to go get water and snacks at a local convenience store. After a good deal of time, Ishmael got up and spoke.
At the, albeit very unlikely, risk of costing what was gained by Ishmael, I have decided not to go into too much detail on the world wide web, (but if any of you back home are curious, it’s a great story that I’ll tell you in person) but let me just state that Ishmael is a master of manifestation, and all of us who were there from America, were merely unwitting, but even afterwards quite grateful to be pawns in his ingenious master plan.
In the middle of his beautiful speech, he made a large request for what it was he wanted, and then followed it up by stating, “We must speak of these things out loud, for as the saying goes, ‘We must speak of fish, or else we will only eat bone!’ “
Well, moments later, Ishmael was granted his large request (which will do enormous good for the youth of Ghana) so the “cultural day” was a huge success. After all speeches were concluded, we went outside where we formed a line to inspect the various foods from the various regions of Ghana brought in for the event. Yes, before eating, you go and inspect the food to make sure it is up to your satisfaction, which is contrary to my commonly held belief I refer to as, “dig in.”
While the food was plentiful, I cannot say I am a huge fan of Ghanaian food. Most of it is quite heavy, a lot of it fried and oily, with few vegetables, but I had a lot of fun nonetheless. (plantains however, are yummy!)

35th Anniversary Celebration
The following day was the 35th Anniversary celebration, and Michael Beckwith, the founder of Agape who you might have seen on Oprah or in “The Secret” who is a very deep and knowledgeable man, got up and gave a speech that blew everyone away. Michael, like Tetteh, is a brilliant orator, but today he was ON FIRE. Thoughts and words were just moving through him, he was channeling something far beyond the human mind.

A humorous moment came when Ishmael asked someone from the youth ministry to volunteer to give someone a blessing, and a brave young boy answered the call.
For several minutes words raced frantically from the ten year old,. Slowly, audience members began to open one eye, then the other, while the boy continued his invocation. Applause began to rain down upon him, a hint to wrap it up, but he just kept going and going and going while the applause became louder and louder coupled with laughter. When he finally completed his prayer, he received a standing ovation.
The poor boy stood there, sort of dazed, then realized what the applause were related to, and raced back to his mother, burying his face in her arms while she consoled him. I felt both bad for his reaction, but also had to laugh , knowing that in the future, assuming he doesn't develop a fear of public speaking, he will likely become a charismatic speaker.

(you can feel warmth and joy even in this brief video)

The VIP's Meet Moses

I ain't going to lie. Ghana is traffic can be horrific, so when we were to receive a VIP police escort to the airport (courtesy of Ishmael), we are all excited to see whther it would make any difference.
But low and behold, we cut through massive amounts of gridlock like a razor through butter. Sirens wailing in front of us, behind us, lead our gigantic wildabeast like buses through traffic that would have taken 2 hours to get through in 15 minutes.
We were unbelieving of the magical feat. Someone in back of the bus, offerred the conclusion that the lead cop's name must Moses.
Frankly, I don't think that gives the guy enough credit. His feat had a far higher degree of difficulty than parting the red sea. In line with Ishmael's teachings that all comes from the same source, I'm going to call him God.
the general feeling I think our group left behind in Ghana

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Accra, Ghana and Ishmael Tete



Obama is exceedingly popular in Ghana

Part 1/2

Finishing our circular navigation route, we arrived back in Ghana’s capitol, Accra, a city in perpetual motion, its citizens always trying to line their pockets with a few extra dollars. Ghanaians are very industrious people, and work exceedingly hard to feed their families. Unlike most poor countries, beggars are rare.
Market in Ghana
Friends here are instantaneous. While vendors and cabbies are always trying to gain some level of rapport to increase the odds of a sale, many Ghanaians are happy just to make your acquaintance, their warmth is genuine.
Mechanical know-how is a must. Ghanaians are continually repairing or enhancing their fifteen plus year old cars that generally leave plumes of exhaust in their wake. Scattered piles of trash dirty the busy city. Get on the wrong street, be prepared for congestion.
baskets of commodities displayed atop heads
Vendors hawk their goods on the sides of every road. For a dollar or two, women act as transports balancing baskets of various commodities upon their heads, regularly moving heavy items more than a kilometer. Oftentimes these rather cumbersome “hats” serve as both store and display. Ask for a bag of banana chips and a quick overhead reach will produce the requested item.
Clubbing
A number of us decided to go out to a club in Accra and to experience night life in Ghana. Immediately I was called over by a group of young Ghanaians to join them. I note their outgoing energy and a natural sense of joy not often found the United States as they puff on their cigarettes. I purchase some pineapple juice for a one of the girls. The next thing I know we are dancing. She is grinding me.
This is just the way they dance in Ghana. All three of the Ghanaian guys in my group received such treatment at the downstairs disco. I dance with her and her friend an hour and a half. It was the longest lap dance I have ever received.
She sits on my lap trying to kiss me. That is pretty much as far as I am willing to take it tonight. She asks me if she could have some money. I am not shocked. My ten dollars is worth a lot more to her than me. I leave. She definitely wasn’t a professional, she was embarrassed when she came out of the bathroom and her friend was grinding me, but that’s a slippery slope into the abyss.
The Etherean Mission
The founder of the Etherean Mission is named Ishmael Tetteh, a powerful, handsome man standing six foot three, who looks far younger than his 62 years (I believe) of age. We were there to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the founding of the church.
I spoke to Ishmael for about thirty minutes or so privately, and he related some of his story to me. I had met Ishmael in America, and heard him speak, and let me tell you, he is an incredibly dynamic and powerful orator.
Brother Ishmael Tete
The thing about Ishmael is he walks his talk. This man has thirty-seven children … two of which are biological. Anyone that needs help that ends up in his path, he does all he can.
He tells me it is harder now, that he and his wife had agreed to stop at 36. (Wasn’t there some old show called “Eight is Enough?”) Apparently a twenty-one year kept sneaking into their back yard and taking scraps of food. He soon found himself sleeping on Ishmael’s couch. He had no education. Ishmael made sure he got it, and the young man’s agreement to fully and willingly participate was a prerequisite to continuing care. That made 37.
Ishmael believes that God is love. Nothing less or more. He personifies his beliefs. Being around this bubbly, loving powerful man cannot help but awaken your own natural state of joy. Brother Tetteh exudes love. He is one of the most charismatic men I have met.
In fact, the only human being I have ever met who exerts more unconscious power is a living Saint I was fortunate enough to spend some personal time with while in India nicknamed Babaghi. Babaghi will absolutely blow the “YOU” away, literally and figuratively (phrasing intentional) merely by being open to his presence.
I grew up in a household with an atheist MIT Physicist father. Science is amazing, providing us with the wonderful lifestyles we live today, but the more I learn and open as a being, the more I understand that science is merely God expressed in mathematical form, and my prayer is that one day my Father will be able to express love and joy as a quantifiable equations that can be replicated for the rest of the world. If I can offer him one hint, I am positive that ego dissolution would be an important variable.

Ghana is predominately a Christian nation, co-existing peacefully with Islam and other local faiths and customs. Ghana is the most stable and peaceful of the Sub Saharan African nations.
Ishmael tells me that many Christian churches preach fear and the devil. Ishmael could not comprehend that a God of love, would allow the devil to exist to scare humanity. It made no sense, in the same way a parent would not lock his child in a room with a poisonous snake to fear. How then, could the devil exist?
At the age of 26, he got on national TV and stated that God was love and that there was no devil. Immediately he became a pariah, labeled the Anti-Christ by some, and received death threats.
“As a 26 year old, let me tell you, it was not fun,” states Ishmael.
35 years later his church of new thought is packed. We were there to celebrate the 35th anniversary its founding. ----------------


For more on Ishmale Tetteh click here http://www.ethereanlife.com/



Part 2/2 coming tomorrow!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Man Attacks Crocodile!!

Man Attacks Crocodile!!
African rainforest
The twelve foot long, man eating croc, sat on the riverbank sunning itself, re-energizing, readying to take down his next victim, not knowing that it was the one who was being stalked by the crazy guy nearby who had a hankering for croc meat. The ensuing brawl would put any UFC match to shame …
On what was my favorite day in Ghana we got to visit one of the last vestiges of rainforest left in the country in Kapkum National Park. I'm a nature lover, minus every mosquito dead or alive.

Much of rural Ghana is covered in new growth forest, scrawny 98 pound weakling trees as compared to the Arnold Schwarzaneggar’s that have all but been clear to make your hot tub deck, the last vestiges residing only in the National Parks. (please make certified sustainable woods purchases)
Immediately I am struck by the beauty of the African Rainforest. Emerald green shining in the against a background of saturated golden light, trees extending their arms towards the heavens, birds and monkeys chattering up a storm, and the soft warm rain alighting on my skin.
I ventured onto the canopy walk, rope bridges spanning from tree to tree one hundred and twenty feet above the ground. It was soooo beautiful, to look at all the surrounding vegetation from an eagle’s vantage point.
Alice Beckwith on the rope bridge


(A view from the canopy)

Straight from branches of nearby trees came the coconuts and cacao fruit I chopped open with a machete. Birds lizards, and salamanders abounded. I had a great time!


(A lesson in where CHOCOLATE comes from)


After what was only an hour and a half in the forest, we had to board the bus again (don’t get me started, we spent 80% of the first four days on that stupid bus. Less travel, more DO please.)
With that frustration in mind, we stopped for lunch by a local lake, known to have crocs, and sure enough, the local legend, the twelve footer who the locals said was known to have eaten at least one tourist was sunning himself on the bank.
Now, a quick adoption of game theory, (measuring each possible outcome and weighing the benefits of one against the downside of the other) came up with the following results.
Outcome #1: I survive my encounter, educate you guys about crocs, and have a fun story to tell
Outcome #2: I get pulled into the lake and eaten, a grizzly horrible death by any standards … which means that I don’t have to get back on the bus!
A no lose situation for Rich!
Apparently, the rest of my group didn’t agree with my analysis and told me I was CRAZY. It’s not that I have any empirical evidence to counter their argument, but do they really have to state it out loud? It kind of hurts.


(Rich versus Crocodile- the brawl of the century)


You can see the full results of the croc brawl in the video. As I am still standing, it’s pretty safe for me to claim victory. I guarantee that croc slid back into the water, and all his pals told him, “man, you’re a loser. If that was me, CHOMP, yum-yum,” but my croc undoubtably replied with a refrain often heard on the basketball court, “Maybe if he wasn’t so quick.”
On my end, it was the first time I was grateful to get back on the bus.