I spend an hour in the Frankfurt airport draped over my backpack like a lightly-worn dress shirt, snoozing in a position that I never thought myself capable. Eleven hours of obsessive in-flight culture-binging takes me and a hundred Japanese to Nagoya, Japan, where I spend an hour before about fifty Japanese and I arrive in Guam. That’s right: I’m in Guam, which means I have officially set foot back on American soil for the first time in since July. It may not sound like a big deal to you, but it is to me. The lady at the immigration line, who confirms my suspicion that I was the lone American on my plane, does so by looking at the plane roster. I am alone in the U.S. citizens line: America’s prodigal son, here to crash on Her couch for a night then slip out the following morning without so much as saying goodbye. But She will take me back, when our paths cross again. I hope.
But for now, I am only concerned with what nourishment I can devise. I have not been nurtured by the Soup of the Great American Melting Pot since early July, and now is the time to catch up. After checking into my hotel, the receptionist offers candy from a bucket, a mix of which looks too carefully curated to anything but Halloween Candy. Two teenage girls in black stroll behind me.
“Is today Halloween?” I ask.
“Yeah,” they utter in unison in the most blasé intonation possible. They're too old to care. But I'm not.
I am Victor Scrooge, who has survived three somnambulant nights since leaving Ethiopia--before midnight on October 29th--and still made it to America for Halloween!
I miss an Uber, that is a “Stroll Guam,” ride when the impatient driver peels off a moment after I leave the hotel. I call another, and an Uzbekistani man picks me up fifteen minutes later to convey me to the nearest mall. Oh how I’ve taken America for granted! And now I, who have a contract awaiting me several hundred miles south, must truly celebrate this beautiful holiday--this beautiful country--for all it’s worth before I go. For dinner I eat Taco Bell the American way. That is to say that, rather than order a “well rounded” combo meal like a sane person, I order 4 absurdly cheap things off of the value menu, and a large Diet Coke a la carte. They have none of this where I’m going, and so as the Mall MC begins introducing a mall-wide Halloween costume contest, I sit down and begin watching the Americanest Americans celebrate their American holiday while I stuff my face with American food. If you can call Taco Bell food, that is. And I love every minute. At the mall I shop, buying shirts off the bargain rack at a discount store that are somehow way cheaper than Ethiopian dress shirts (God Bless Us, Every One!)
Victor Bernabei is just another millenial travel blogger. But here's the twist: He isn't a millenial! His goal is to see as many countries as he can, and spread the message that the world is not as scary as the news wants you to believe, and that there is beauty in all people, places and things.