The convoy was stopped for a service break in Morocco, on the way to Fes. A young security guard smiled and asked, 'Where you are from?' I said I was American. 'Where you are from there?' When I told him Boston asnd saw nothing register on his face, I said I was from near New York. 'Ah,' he said, 'Nueva York,' with little feeling. Then he said, 'I like Texas. Cowboy films very good.' Then he drew his fingers from imaginary holsters and went, Bam! Bam! and laughed like a small boy. It struck me that one of his imaginary holsters was real.
Two days later, we were driving through north eastern Algeria. Rolling hillsides of semi-arid red earth were stuck with low bushes and clumps of small pines which grew like neat green bowls. I told Rich, who was driving, that the landscape looked a bit like West Texas, plateau oopening out after plateau. About ten minutes later, we came across cattle grazing both sides of the unfenced road, as if on cue. A few minutes later, a sign informed us that we were entering the Algerian municipality of Taxas. All it lacked was some cowboys out of Central Casting.