Alice in Wonderland and the Treasure Box

“When I speak with you,” Alicia said with her big smile, “it is a bit like falling into a legendary world, with all these unbelievable stories that just can’t happen in real life.”

As if to stress her point, there was this new unbelievable event just as she came to visit us for the first time this June.

When we bought the house 22 years ago, the old lady that went to live with her daughter told us that there is a treasure buried in the small patch of land behind the house. She didn’t know exactly where it was and felt too old and too tired to dig for it.

This stayed the most neglected part of our small garden, with wild thorny roses and even wilder, all-scratching, Lantana competing for space under the mighty Olive tree that expanded over the roof of the house.

But this year we finally cleared the impenetrable bush and planted some vegetables. They grew to be an unprecedented success. They even were so kind as to supply us with fresh micro-tomatoes and an odd cucumber every now and then – so we had a good reason to visit this neglected piece of land almost every day.The pit in the garden

One morning, one of the first mornings after Alicia came, just as I went to see whether there is anything to pick in the back garden, I saw something strange.

Someone dug a hole in the back of the yard. The hole was some 40 centimeter deep – but there was not much mud around the hole. And the inner shape of the hole was suspiciously square. It couldn’t be anything else. 22 years later the old owners came and dug their treasure box. The crime tool was still there – an old iron pole that used to be part of the fence but was for a long time thrown useless in the garden. The fresh earth was still glued to it.

They didn’t mess around in the garden. Apparently some heir found the treasure map and came for it, digging exactly in one place, about one meter to the left of the garden’s end, near the rear wall.

I call Alicia to show her the unexpected scene.

“I told you so”, she concluded.

The pit and the crime tool


Walking on the pavement

I read a long article in “The Economist” about the decisions that pedestrians make in order to avoid colliding with others walking towards them in the opposite direction.

It said that the natural behavior of most people in our Euro-American culture is to veer to the right side of the road when someone is coming toward us.  It is important that both sides will make the same decision in order for this tactic to be effective…

According to the article, people in East Asia tend to veer to the left side, so there could be more collisions in our future as globalization mixes people from all around the globe.

I was walking on the sidewalk… The trees planted along it provided relieving shade but left little space for maneuvering.

A man was walking hurriedly toward me.

I looked at him; he didn’t look East Asian.

I started taking the right side of the road, but he continued walking on this side, his left side.

Then, just as I decided to give up on my quest for the right, suddenly he made a sharp turn to his right to avoid me.

Crash! Boom!

His head was as hard as a rock and I saw stars all around me.

– Sorry Sir. I really didn’t mean it. I was reading in a magazine…

– Better watch your step and don’t read magazines while you’re walking on a public road!