Maitri May
They took a flight to Greece, went then to the Parthenon and as they were there, Jason looked around and annoyed he asked,
- Is nobody here to explain us what are these stones? – and like a stone was Martha, petrified with such a question. She didn´t know how was possible that somebody, who was studying at the university, who should have
a minimum of cultural knowledge, didn´t know which “stones” were those ones in the Parthenon and she started to find out what kind of person she was traveling with.

They moved around with ferries to different islands of Greece but Martha noticed that Jason was extremely slow in the mornings and would take him forever to get out of bed and start to move. He would spend around
ten minutes every single morning looking at himself in the mirror and measuring his hair with his hand pulling it down his back, and every single morning he would do the same question to Martha.
- What do you think? Do you think it is longer now? – He would say pulling his curly long hair down.
The first time Martha got that question, she didn´t know what to answer because she did not believe it was a serious question, but after several days with the same one, she understood he had a bit of a problem with his
ego and she decided to feed it up.
- Yes, I think so. I mean... I can see that yesterday was shorter but today it looks really long – she answered from that moment every day to that same question, trying hard not to laugh but still with a hypocrite smile.
- Oh, really? Do you really think so? – he every day would say, believing the words of Martha and no understanding she was playing with his ego.

In one of those evenings in one island they went for dinner to a restaurant and before leaving, Jason asked her,
- Where are you hiding your money to go to the restaurant? –
- In my pocket – she said, no understanding why should she hide it.
- You idiot, we will walk through the woods and if we get assaulted and robbed, they will find your money very easily but they will not find mine because I´m clever and I hide it inside my sock. Hahaha… and afterwards, I
will have dinner and you will have to look at me eating but you will not eat because I´m not going to lend you any single dollar -
- Yeah… ok, I don´t care. You keep your fears of being robbed, I have no fears. My guts don´t tell me to be afraid, so I´m not – said Martha starting to get a bit tired of his immaturity, because he was only one year
younger than her but he seemed to be a troubled teenager.

They didn´t get robbed in the way and after dinner, when they had to pay, Jason removed his shoe, his sock and the money was no there. Then the other shoe and the other sock, and the money was nowhere. And he
realized that while walking, the money must have slipped out of the sock and he lost all the money he brought with him that evening.
- Aaahhaaa… - said Martha – and now? How are you going to pay for your dinner? –
- You lend me some money – he demanded without any shame.
- Why should I do that? You told me before we left that “if we get robbed, they will find your money very easily and I´m not going to borrow you any single dollar” – she said putting a stupid voice - So, why should I borrow
you any single dollar, when you were not going to do that for me? Do you think that is fair? You get back what you gave –

- But you are guilty – he still was not able to accept he did a mistake and accused Martha of his bad decision – you should have told me that it was not a good place to put my money!-
- And if I would have told you that, would have you listened to me and not put it there… just like that? -  she said, knowing that what he was saying, he was not even believing it himself.
- Come on, just lend me the money, I will give it back to you when we will be in the hostel – he said hurrying her up to give him the money.
- I´m going to borrow it to you only because I don´t want arguments, but you should be conscious that you lost your money because you had no good intentions of helping me in case of me being robbed. I hope you
learnt this lesson, that whatever intentions or wishes you have towards others, is what comes back and hits you –
- Don´t give me lectures, I have more experiences in life than you – he said with his typical attitude of superiority.
- Maybe, but it seems that you didn´t learn a damn thing – she said giving him the money.

They took a last ferry to Israel and went to Jerusalem to visit Christ´s Tomb but the only special thing Martha felt in that place, was that which a guy had behind the zipper of his trousers when he got too close to her in
the line, but nothing else special.

But Jason stayed almost every day in the hotel most of the time smoking around two packages of cigarettes each day.
- Come on, Jason, let´s go somewhere else! – said Martha, getting tired of being in the hostel’s room most of the time.
- I don´t want to go out, I´m on holidays and I want to take a rest –
- If you don´t want to go out but instead stay in bed taking a rest, why didn´t you better stay in your flat in Spain or in the USA and not spend the money in traveling such a long way? –
- Because then I can tell my friends that I have traveled and I have seen the world – he said exhaling the smoke of the cigarette.

- Ok, I was anyway planning to travel by myself. We are traveling together because that girl in the camp insisted but actually there is no point and no use for us to travel together, so I will do my own thing because to
come to these countries is not something one can do every week and I´m not going to miss this chance. You stay in bed smoking your hundred cigarettes, that I´m going to experience the world – and from that moment
on she only waited for him in the mornings till she was ready, and if he was not, she left alone not wanting to waste more time because time was too precious to waste it doing nothing useful.

But those were Muslim countries and for a woman alone it was risky and her physical appearance also was of no help because she was small, didn´t look dangerous and she had something which many men like.
She got bothered in the streets being stopped in almost every step she would walk, getting offered to drink tea in a shop or in some other places and because she had no companion, she had to think in a way out of that
situation and
ot having to push away all the time the men who were trying to grab her.   

But Israel was not as terrible as it was later Egypt where they traveled in a night bus.  
They went to the pyramids like hundreds of tourists every day and had a ride around with a couple of camels. Jason had the travel book guide with him and he was reading about the pyramids, when suddenly he said
very excited,
- Wow, could you believe it? When they made the pyramids, they were not like we see them now, the surface was flat, with no missing stones and they had colors! –
Martha could not answer to that, she was trying very hard not to laugh and name him something, but Jason realized of her face biting her lips.
- Yes, of course, you are going to tell me that you knew about it, isn´t it? I don´t believe you. I think you have no idea because it is something that is not told to everybody and you just want to show off –

Martha didn´t want to argue, continued walking and after a while Jason wanted to leave back to the hotel.
- Let´s stay here, I heard there is a show of lights in the evenings over the pyramids – said Martha.
- No, let´s go, the film in my camera is finished –
- And? What that has to do with staying here to see the show? –
- Because then I can´t take pictures and I can´t show my friends that I saw it – he said.
- Are you telling me that you are traveling for the only reason to take pictures to show to your friends, not because you like it and enjoy it?  – she said, trying not to tell what she really thought of him.
- It doesn´t matter the reason, the thing is that I have no film and I can´t take pictures. I want to go back to the hotel to take a rest –
They left together but because she was tired and had no strength to argue with him. Back in the hotel, she told him she wanted to go next day to the Egyptian Museum and Jason said he had no interest in Museums,
preferring to stay in the hotel.

Next day she went alone to the Museum and about half an hour before they were closing it, she met Jason there by chance.
- Have you seen what´s in here? – Jason said very excited.
- Of course I have seen it, I have been here the whole day. Since when are you here? I didn´t know you decided to come –
- Why didn´t you tell me before what kind of things are here in this museum? they are closing now and I will not have enough time to see really many things–
- Typical you, now I am guilty that you have not seen all the wonders which are found in this museum. I think it is about time you start to accept that you are responsible of the decisions you take in life and not only of the
ones which have a positive outcome, but of all of them. What did you tell me you are studying at the university? – asked Martha.
- Psychology. But in any case you could have told me this museum is special –
- I can see what kind of therapies you will give to your patients, I feel sorry for them already. I´m not going to say anything of why I didn´t tell you, because I did tell you and you said you were not interested in any kind of
museum. Enjoy your evening, I´m going to visit one last hall still I didn´t see –

Next day she wanted to visit an area of El Cairo which had mosques and palaces, while Jason stayed in the hotel smoking. If she wanted to ask for some directions, she didn´t ask any man because they would not give
her any answer but invite her for a tea. She asked women knowing that generally they don´t speak any English but they are kind and ask a man to be the translator. Then, with the woman there, the man could not bother
Martha nor ask her to go with him and she could get the information she needed.
But she learnt from her experience in Israel, that in order not to have problems with men, she has to accept one man as her companion for that day and he would push the rest of the men away, and at the end of the
day, she only would need to get rid of one man.

- How was your day? – asked Martha to Jason.
- Great, here taking a rest, I needed it after going yesterday to the museum–
- Yes, of course – Martha said hiding her face because she was laughing.

- But you know at the border we only got a one week visa and because tomorrow will be one week and our bus leaves the next day back to Israel, we have to go tomorrow to the immigration office to get a stamp on our
visas not to get in trouble at the border – said Jason.
- Ok, but at what time are we going to the immigration office? Because I would like to go somewhere else, as it is our last day here –
- Around 12 at noon, you know I don´t want to hurry up and get up early because I´m on holidays – he said lighting a cigarette.
- But if we go there at 12, plus the time to arrive there, then wait to get the stamp, then the whole day is gone and I will not be able to go somewhere else – Martha said with the hope he might then accept to do the effort
to get up earlier, but he didn´t.
- Then you go wherever you want to go and we meet here in the afternoon. Remember they close the office at 7pm and if you are here around 6 pm we will make it on time –

Martha had not a clear plan but only to go to a small village where in the guide book said they do nice pottery. She took a local bus and there a young man was sitting next to her whose English was very poor but still
they could understand each other. He would be “her companion” of the day, who will help her to get rid of the rest of the men.

Being in the village he told her that nearby his village the archeologists had recently discovered ruins of little pyramids where have been not yet tourist operations running but it will be in the future and offered her to be
her guide there. As she had no plans, it sounded more interesting than staying in the hotel with the childish Jason and she didn´t have any strange feeling in her guts, showing her she could trust that man and go with

But he had first to visit his uncle in the Pyramids of Giza to do something, and arriving there he left Martha with his uncle, while he went outside. This man was the owner of the camels which were rented in the pyramids.
He chat her up and tried to get some personal information from her, like if she is married, and then he asked directly.
- I offer you two camels if you accept to come with me inside that room – he said.
- No, thank you, I came with Abdul because he is going to show me something in his village but I have no interest in anything else – she said, keeping distance from him with a serious face, showing him he better should
keep away – “only two camels?” – She thought jokingly offended – “he really thinks I´m a cheap bitch! I´m worth at least 8 camels!” – hiding her face because she was laughing.

The shop owner saw he had no chance, didn´t try anymore and went outside to call Abdul understanding then Martha what was all about and not that Abdul had really something to do there, but still she didn´t care and
felt protected.

They went to take a local car which the people take to go to the villages around and it has only capacity for five people plus the driver. Martha sat behind, in the middle with Abdul to her right, another man sat in her left,
another in front and they were waiting for another person to sit also in the front. But many men were coming closer to the car to watch the white woman sitting there.

It was then a crowd of men looking at her with leering faces, some of them even drooling over the windows. They were getting louder till the point of shouting, and suddenly Abdul shouted something, quickly pushed down
the door handle lock to block the door, the other two men also did the same thing and pushing down the driver´s lock shouted at him – Go! Go! Go! – the driver pushed the accelerator to the floor almost driving over
some of the men, who started hitting the car as it was driving away.
Martha realized what could have happened but still she had no fear and felt protected.

They drove for about half an hour out of El Cairo, went out of the car in a very small village in a desert area and when walking in the street, children came around and followed them while shouting happily, and women
made a loud sound with their mouths, informing everybody in the village that somebody new had come.

They came into Abdul´s home and the women sitting in the main room left in that moment, not because they didn´t respect the guest but because it is tradition that women should not be in the same room as men. A
“cousin” of Abdul, Salim, came and the women then brought some food which they placed over a tablecloth on the floor. They three sat down on the floor but Martha still didn´t know the muslin traditions when eating and
didn´t know how to behave. She only knew that they don´t use toilet paper but they wash themselves in the toilets with water using their left hand. There it was a flat round bread which everybody had to cut with their
hands, to be used as a spoon to take the rest of the food with it, but as she saw they were cutting the bread with both hands, her only thought was if they washed their hands perfectly after they were in the toilet.
She realized she couldn´t pay attention to the conversation because she kept in imagining bacteria creeping over the bread and decided to stop thinking about it just to enjoy the conversation.

Salim worked somewhere with tourists and his English was good and they talked about personal things till the moment when Salim said he wanted to marry her.
- No, sorry, I´m not interested, I´m not going to marry anybody, I want to be free and not having to deal with anybody at home – Martha said to his proposition.
- Don´t worry I will not pressure you, you can be free but married with me – he insisted.
- I came here with Abdul to see the pyramids, so better we go now because it´s getting late –

Salim asked his neighbor to borrow him his donkey, so that Martha didn´t have to walk in the desert, but the donkey didn´t have a saddle, only a blanket and for Martha it was difficult to ride and to keep balance and she
preferred to walk. During the walk, Salim and Martha were still talking about different matters and Abdul was always quiet. After one hour walking through the desert, they arrived to where the ruins of the very small
pyramids were. Salim tried to explain what they think it´s the history of those pyramids while walking around the area and after one hour they returned back to the village.

Arriving there, Salim came again with the idea of marrying Martha.
- As I said, I´m not going to marry anybody and now I have to take a bus back to El Cairo – Martha said.
- Bus? There are no buses here – said Salim.
- Ok, one of those cars which take people to the city – said Martha remembering the kind of car in which they came there.
- Now it´s five in the evening, the last car leaves at four thirty. There are no cars anymore – Salim said laughing.
- What? – Martha got surprised – can´t be! I have to go back to El Cairo! Why didn´t you tell me before that the last car was leaving earlier? – she said looking at them shocked.
- Because then you have to stay here with us and we can marry – still insisted Salim.
- I´m traveling with a friend and we agreed to meet at 6pm to go together to the immigration office and if I don´t arrive there on time, he will call the police – she said trying to threat him.
Salim and Abdul had a big laugh – Don´t worry – said Salim - the police here does nothing, they are not going to look for you –
She felt hopeless while Salim started making plans about what to do next, how they will marry and where, and talking for half an hour about plans for the future.

But Martha didn´t desperate, she knew somehow that Abdul was kind-hearted. He was always quiet because he couldn´t speak much English and he stayed as an observer of the conversations but he didn´t work with
tourists and his mind was not yet corrupted by ideas that might come from the contact with foreigners and he was still keeping his nature. Martha felt he was still some sort of gentleman.

She looked at him as if flirting, looking into his eyes and sending him the message that she needed his help and she asked him mentally – “please, can you help me to go back to El Cairo?” –
In that moment Abdul reacted, stood up, asked Salim in a serious way to get out of the room with him, they went out and Martha could hear an argument between both of them. After a couple of minutes, it was quiet and
they left the house, coming back after another 10 minutes.

- We arranged a car of a friend of us and we are going to take you to the entrance of El Cairo. We will leave you there for you to take a bus which will bring you to the city center – said Salim.
Martha didn´t want to ask because she was already contented.
- Yes, Abdul made me see the disadvantages of keeping you here and the problems we might face with your embassy, and he is right. We are going to help you to get out of here – Salim said a bit sad of not being able
to get what he wanted.
Abdul came in with a big smile, feeling happy that he managed to convince Salim and they are going to help her, and he pointed towards the door indicating that their friend is already there with the car and they should
get out.

They drove back to El Cairo and stopped at the beginning of the city. As they arrived, a bus was coming and they made it to stop. Martha was so happy that she didn´t think but reacted as a typical Spanish girl, giving
them both a kiss on their cheeks telling them continuously “thank you” with a big smile and in the moment she did it, she saw the face of shock of Salim and Abdul, and then she reacted – “oh, shit, what I have done? I
might have created again a problem for myself” – she thought to herself.

But instead, suddenly the two young men got inside the bus shouting something and threatening everybody there including the driver. Martha saw the faces of the passengers all scared and looked at Salim.
- Don´t worry – said Salim – I told them that you are our guest and friend, and if they molest you or give you any problem, we will look for them and give them more than one problem, because the people in our village is
well known for giving trouble. And I also told the driver where he should tell you to get down the bus, once in the city. So, don´t you worry, you will be safe –
Martha felt very happy with that also, her smile couldn´t be bigger, and again she repeated several times “thank you”.

The passengers made space, told her to sit next to another woman, nobody bothered her and at a certain moment the driver told her it was her stop and towards where she should walk. She asked him how much was
the ticket hoping for it not to be too much, because she had only one dollar with her, but he made a sign of “no, nothing” and asked her to get down, as if trying to get rid of a trouble.

She looked for the watch in her rucksack and it was already a quarter past seven in the evening, too late to go to the immigration office and she will have problems at the border. She came into the hotel and met Jason.
- Where were you? I told you to be here at six! - he said upset.
- Sorry, something happened and I couldn´t come before, I know now I will have problems at the border–
- No, still we have time to do it if we hurry up to go there – Jason said, hurrying her up to go back downstairs.
- They close at seven and now it´s half past seven, no way we make it on time – she said, stopping him of pushing her.
- Because you didn´t come at six, I went there alone. When they attended me I told them that somebody else should have come but you didn´t and they told me that today is the Daylight Saving in Egypt, when they
change from the Summer Time and the watches go one hour backwards, which means now it´s not 7:30, but 6:30. We have to go there now –
- What?!- Martha laughed. She couldn´t believe the great luck she had.

When walking in the street, she asked Jason,
- Were you worried for me? Did you call the police? –
- No way, I don´t care what happens to you. My worry was your mother because I had no idea how to tell her that something happened to you – he said seriously.
- I understand you are scared of my mother but … - then she stopped talking because she knew it was not point in making such a person understand something about compassion.

They arrived in the immigration office and she got the stamp she needed just one minute before they were closing. Martha went to bed that night with a big smile and a great thankfulness to Abdul and that everything
went so nice and so perfectly synchronized.

They traveled next day by bus back to Israel and they had to take a taxi to the airport of Tel-Aviv. She stopped a taxi, asked how much does it cost to go to the airport and then looked at Jason and asked him if he
thought the price was ok, but Jason kept still and she asked the driver to go.

- What´s up? How much do you think it should cost? – Martha asked him.
- I looked at the money I have and I have nothing left but only one dollar, I can´t pay for any taxi. – he said.
- What?!. You came with almost threefold the amount of money with which I came, you did almost nothing but staying in the hotels smoking, while I´m been traveling around, and now you have no money left? – Martha
was almost shouting at him – what have you done to lose all your money?-
- I don´t know – he said looking really stupid.

- You might not drink alcohol anymore but you smoke like a chimney. It seems like the main thing for you it to have a vice, no matter what, and instead of enjoying such a wonderful chance which we had, you smoked all
your money!. And I should remind you something you told me before we started the trip,“ if in any moment you run out of money… DON´T ask me for a single dollar. If you get stuck in a country because you don´t have
any more money, go to the Spanish embassy and ask for help there, because I´m not going to help you… puff… you have no idea of traveling!” – Martha said with a stupid voice angry at him – Who has no idea of
traveling? YOU, and who is not going to help you to get out of this country? ME. Then now you should think in how to go walking to the airport or to the American embassy to ask them for help –
- Oh, come on, don´t be like that, that´s not fair! – he said, still not being able to say sorry or please.

- Listen, I´m not like you, I´m been fortunate enough in this life to be born with compassion. You should be ashamed of having the kind of thoughts you have of not wanting to help others and you should know that you
receive back what you give. You give no help, you should receive no help. But I know that we are going circling around from life to life repeating the same mistakes and I know that if I don´t help you now, I will also create
that situation for myself in the future. Maybe I´m not doing this out of real compassion but of not wanting to get into this situation again, but you are lucky because also I can see this moment as the moment when I was
with the Egyptians and they helped me, so I´m paying back to them their kindness through you –

Jason looked at her satisfied but still he didn´t say thank you.
- And I´m still wondering how will you be able to help people as a psychologist, when there is no that attitude in you? It´s not part of your nature – Martha said stopping another taxi.
- Because I only want to work with alcoholics – he said.
- Still you need to have a different attitude towards people and life –

As they arrived in Martha´s house, Jason took his things, left to Madrid and they had no contact anymore.

Something had changed in Martha and she felt more free and strong. In her university school they had gardens and she went there to have her space and time to talk to Matthew.
- It was a great trip, Matthew – she said still with the smile since those days.
- But maybe you risk it a bit because you went into the desert with two guys you didn´t know and they could have done you wrong, you know that – Matthew said.

Martha laughed – No way. Along my life I have learnt to distinguish what my guts say, or maybe you could call it intuition, but it is a sensation I feel in my stomach or in my whole body –
- And so, what? – asked Matthew.
- You remember my protector when she warned me about those boys in the motorbike, isn´t it? – she knew Matthew remembered – since then, I know I´m protected and she will not let anything bad to happen to me. In
that time she talked to me directly but then I learnt she not always talks but she warns me making me feel as if I have something strange in my stomach, or I feel nervous, or some fear to go to a certain place or do
something, or I might feel my feet very heavy when I walk towards a certain direction. And all that for me means a total “no, don´t go there, don´t do that, or bad news are waiting for you when you arrive there” -
- Are you sure that is the meaning of all that? – asked again Matthew.

- Yes, like when I was a child and one day going home after the school I had a bad feeling and felt nervous. I hurried up to go home because that is what I felt like doing. Later it came in the news that in that area where I
used to walk back home, ETA killed a man and it happened just a couple of minutes after I passed the area hurrying up –
- And how come it happened that thing with that man in the abandoned house?– asked Matthew, a bit teasing her.
- Because in that time still I didn´t know how to differentiate it. I did have the feeling, something was pulling me out not to help him but I didn´t pay attention to it. And I think it is very important to listen to our intuition
instead of listening to the sweet words of people, isn´t it? –

Matthew laughed – I´m glad to hear that because it seems that your self-confidence got very strong. Of course I know why you went there with those men without any fear, I just wanted to make sure you knew why. And
yes, if you learn to really feel your guts, listen to your intuition, it´s better to follow that than listening to what other people tell you, because it is your intuition, your higher self, God, who is very wise and knows what´s best
for you, despite what other people think what is best. You are your best adviser, because you know yourself better than anybody, since you were born and before. Your subconscious knows everything, even if you don´t
remember –

Martha looked at the sky and felt again as she was one with it.
- Always… follow your guts, listen to your intuition. Everybody has intuition but not everybody listen to it because they think it is “only a thought”.  Yes, Martha, you are protected… by your intuition – heard Martha to
Matthew still saying in the distance far away.
Chapter Twenty-six

- I´m thinking maybe I will travel towards Israel or Egypt, something a bit more adventurous –
- That sounds really good. Why don’t you go with Jason? He is also planning to go in that direction and maybe you can help each other because that area is a bit dangerous and it
would be better if two people go together. Don´t you think so? – said her colleague, another female Leisure Instructor.
- Humm, I don´t know, I worked together with him in July and I find him not a very interesting person but a bit boring and childish. I don´t have the feeling that he would be of great help
for me – Martha said.
- Maybe, but at least if something happens to one of you, still the other one can look for help-
Martha didn´t want to travel with another man as it was enough with the experience of the year before but her colleague told Jason of Martha´s plans, he told Martha that it might be a
good idea and at the end they agreed in traveling together and he also spent a couple of days in Martha´s house before they departed.

Jason was an American guy from New Mexico who lived in Spain two years and after this trip he would be back to the USA to continue with his studies in the university. He had been
alcoholic before but he assisted the AA and he didn´t drink anymore.
Before they left, Jason asked Martha how much money she was bringing with her in the trip.
- 40.000 pesetas after I bought the ticket to Athena – she said. That was around 250€.
- What? Only? For one month, traveling around several countries, having to buy more flight tickets, plus sleeping, eating… are you crazy? – shouted Jason.
- I can´t spend more money because I have to pay for my next year´s studies in the university –
- Listen, I take with me much more money than you, almost threefold. And if in any moment you run out of money… DON´T ask me for a single dollar. If you get stuck in a country
because you don´t have more money, go to the Spanish Embassy and ask for help there because I´m not going to help you… puff… you have no idea of traveling! –
- That´s ok, don´t worry for me. I know this is what I want to do and I might not have enough money but “someone” will provide for me – she laughed and Jason looked at her as if she
is really stupid – I was told so and I strongly believe it. I have no fears, nor worries, you are the one having them – she laughed.
- Yeah, yeah… you laugh now… let´s see when the moment comes who is going to help you out… “whoever” told you that you will be provided for whatever, might help you in that
moment, but not me, that´s clear – he said turning around and not wanting to know anything more about that subject.
After that month of work in the north she got sent to the main school near Madrid and towards the end of her job she thought she would love to travel again as she did
the year before with Patrick but this time she wanted to go alone or with somebody who would not think of him or herself as the only one having the right to decide and
she talked about it to a Spanish colleague.
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