Saturday Morning Links

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

1. Ever heard of Taghazout? Me neither. It’s a small fishing and surfing village in Morocco, approximately 5,000 people. It looks like the kind of place that no one really knows about, but you know about and you go there in the winter and you spend a week at the beach.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

2. I’ve only participated in a couple of ultramarathons and to see all that happens behind the scenes is amazing. Plus, footage of the Pacific Northwest, Victoria B.C., is pretty fantastic.

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3. Medieval warhorses were really no bigger than ponies, via the Guardian.

Outram said the vast majority of medieval horses, including ones believed to have been used in war, were less than 14.2 hands (4ft 10in) high, the maximum height of a modern pony.

One of the biggest they found was a horse from the Norman period, the remains of which were discovered in the grounds of Trowbridge castle in Wiltshire, but it was only 15 hands – the size of a small modern light riding horse.

Outram said that size clearly wasn’t the be-all and end-all for medieval warriors. He said that there might well have been some particularly large warhorses but armies would also have needed smaller horses for tasks such as harrying a retreating enemy, carrying out long-range raids and transporting equipment.

4. GQ on the best footballer in the world, Mohamed Salah.

5. I’ve been alcohol free since April 1st of 2021. Not an April Fool’s Day joke, but I suppose it could be. In the months leading up to April 1st I was trying to get some life insurance and I took a blood tests that turned up some weird results with some liver things. My doctor asked me to take a break from alcohol so I could get those tests done. The results improved and there are still issues which I hope to have resolved soon, but being alcohol free has been good. And I was never a big drinker. The most I’d drink in a day is 3 beers and I never got drunk in college. It just never appealed to me. Not having any alcohol as a 47-year old man is definitely different and I thought I’d miss it, but I really don’t. Not really at all. I sleep better and being clear 100% of the time has both its upside and downside. I probably won’t go back, largely because I don’t’ think I need it in my life and I’m perfectly content not drinking. I’m one of those annoying people that doesn’t really succumb to peer pressure so that won’t bother me in the future.

Saturday Morning Links

Photo by Allyson Beaucourt on Unsplash

1. Ever heard of Etretat? Me neither, but it looks like the White Cliffs of Dover, but this is actually Etretat in France, so they essentially mirror each other and the only reason I’m posting this is because I had never considered the same thing on the other side of the English Channel.


Photo by Laurent Gence on Unsplash

2. The James Webb Space Telescope is hurtling in space and if you want to know exactly where it is, this site from NASA tells you exactly where it is and how it has been deployed.

3. I found this very humorous because so many times art is revered, particularly art of Christ, but that doesn’t mean the artist did a good job of drawing a baby and yes, it appears at times that the artist has never seen a baby.

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4. These are the church forests of Ethiopia, or also called “Gardens of Eden” and are oases in the middle of deserts that are protected by their priests. Ethiopia is in such a unique part of Africa, so close to Egypt and the Middle East and if you want to see one aspect of Ethiopia, these pictures are great.

5. And since we’re talking about art, we should also talk about good art, via Open Culture, exploring all 717 gigapixel’s of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. And watch this for an idea as to why it is important.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of the Cameron Highlands? Me neither. It sounds like some place in Scotland, but it’s actually an area in Malaysia. It was surveyed by geologist William Cameron in 1885, hence the name, and is known for well, farming as you might guess, tea, orchards, golf courses, wildlife, etc.

Photo by Sokmean Nou on Unsplash

2. Beau Miles is back and he’s planting a tree for every minute in the day.

3. Want to start 2022 on the right foot? WeRateDogs’ Dogs of 2021.

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4. From Inverse, how dogs went from wolves to our best friends according to scientists:

“We propose that initial selection during early dog domestication was for behavior … which secondarily gave rise to the phenotypes of modern dogs,” the study’s authors write.

The authors of the study found the behavioral traits that were selected first eventually led to the selection of the physical traits of modern dogs. They concluded that primary selection during domestication “likely targeted tameness,” so you can thank our ancestors for teaching wolves to chill out, as tameness appeared as a trait before any other differences between wolves and dogs developed.

5. I don’t know how to end this week’s Saturday Morning Links. Another thing to read or perhaps another video doesn’t seem appropriate. 2021 was weird and I am ready for a non-weird year. I hope that you are happy and healthy and that you improve upon your 2022. Last year I did my year in graphs and I haven’t had time to find my old spreadsheets, but I can assure you that I have accomplished my mini-goals every day for this past year.

  • 458 straight days of having a glass of water before coffee.
  • 453 straight days of writing a gratitude journal.
  • 697 straight days of picking up a book.
  • 736 straight days of doing 100 push ups.
  • 368 straight days of planks.
  • 341 straight days of meditating for at least 3 minutes.
  • 368 straight days of putting away my phone when I got home from work.
  • 623 straight days of brushing my teeth at night. This is what started these habits, or finding an app to track them.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of the Banks Peninsula? Me neither. A normal photo of what it is really doesn’t do it justice, but an overhead view from a NASA satellite photograph really makes you appreciate how it just sprouts up from nothing, this huge land mass. And the peninsula is two large shield volcanoes that were formed 8 million years ago. The header photo is from the Akaroa Harbor, which looks amazing.

Header Photo by Michael on Unsplash

2. Really kind of a neat story of a man, Hugh Wilson, who had a vision to turn the Banks Peninsula in New Zealand back into it’s native vegetation, which was old growth forest through a conservancy and purchasing land and letting the land do it’s thing. Imagine doing something with your life that you will likely never fully realize.

3. I read two really long articles while at soccer practice for Youssouf, Texas Monthly’s Skip Hollandsworth writing “The Notorious Mrs. Mossler” and D Magazine’s James Dolan writing “My Father, the Hitman”.

4. The Atlantic’s top 25 news photos of 2021.

5. Tommy Rivs Puzey is the guy that taught me how to run. He didn’t do it personally, but through i-Fit on my Nordic Track treadmill. Tommy has a rare form of cancer that affected his lungs, was in a coma from June or July through November and his weight went down to 95 pounds. I found his coma experience absolutely fascinating and hopeful and maybe a guidepost for how to live your life. Tommy wasn’t here, he was somewhere out there. He makes it clear that this was his experience, and not everyone’s experience. If you want to start at a place, start at the 49 minute mark. I cannot tell you how much I love and appreciate this experience.

The most powerful part for me, especially with my wife and her family losing her brother, was his explanation of what heaven and hell was for him. Again, this is what was in his consciousness and this was his experience and he definitely wasn’t attempting to be definitive of what your experience may be.

It’s not just darkness, it doesn’t just end. And it’s right here, it’s all happening right here, but it’s different. I remember realizing that, okay, if I become unmoored from this body, I can’t go back, and I will still be here, right here. All of this will still be happening, but I won’t have the ability to communicate with everybody who’s still in that space. And I remember thinking how agonizing that would be to see my girls and that they would still be right here, but I wouldn’t be able to communicate to them. I wouldn’t be able to let- But you would have awareness of the other dimension. But also complete awareness of all of their fear and all of their questions and all of their grief and all of their heartache and being able to see it and feel all of it, but not be able to reach across and say, but I’m still right here, just so I’m still right here. The fear of that was a huge motivator.

I remember also thinking and feeling and seeing that heaven and hell and they exist, but they exist to everybody simultaneously. And they exist in proportion to the amount of love that we give and the amount of love that we’re able to receive. And then the hell part is the recollection and the understanding of all of the love that we didn’t give and didn’t receive when we could have, and that heaven and hell exists simultaneously based off of the different relationships that we had while we had the opportunity to express those things. That there could be a sense of heaven. It’s such a big term, but a sense of peace with the way that we conducted ourselves with a certain individual and the complete opposite was an awareness of the way that we connect to ourselves with somebody else. And that it’s all connected, that it all continues.

And that, gosh, just the urgency of now and that what we continue to feel beyond this is directly linked with the way that we interact with people.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Ronda? Well, Brian has, but I had not. It’s a town in Spain in the Malaga province in the Southern part of Spain, not too far away from the Strait of Gibraltar. The bridge pictured above is the Puente Nuevo bridge, 390 feet above the canyon and you’ll note the “nuevo” i.e. new bridge was started in 1751 and completed in 1793 and the aforementioned canyon is the Tajo canyon.

Photo by Chris Unger on Unsplash

2. I don’t know what i was expecting when the YouTube algorithm suggested that I was this video of a bloke (yes, that’s intentional) backpacking from the north end of Britain to the southern end. Took 2 months to travel from John O’Groats to Lands End. When I clicked on the profile, I discovered a ridiculously robust wealth of video content from one Liam Brown, who has been in the British army and is now van-lifing all over the place (except when he’s not backpacking). The accent is absolutely killer, love the use of the slang that’s not something I hear often, so getting to hear things I’m not used to hearing is great.

3. I ran the Turkey Trot in Dallas, the 8-mile version with my brother-in-law. My first time to run that length and was really usure where I’d land regarding my time. The first couple of miles I ran with the crowd with 8:15 miles and then once things opened up and was able to run the rest of my miles on a sub-8 pace with my best mile being my last mile at 7:18. Overall I ran 1:03:58, which would have been 17th in my age range had I actually paid for the timing aspect of the race (which I did not). The funny part was that my BIL and I snuck into the gate (inadvertently) where the timed runners were and it was much easier to get ahead and not be packed in the first part of the run. I was really happy with my effort and proud I was able to run as fast as I did (which really isn’t all that fast, but it is fast for me).

4. This is pretty neat. The idea of mythical creatures is something that’s always been a thing. Maybe since as long as humans have been able to tell stories. Werewolves, giants, imps, etc. DeepBaltic intereviewed one of the persons that put this map together, which originated at the University in Lithuania, the students of Vilnius.

5. You can go into a deep wormhole if you want, but Wait But Why’s Tim Urban breaks down your life, the number of dumplings you have left, the time remaining on the tail end of your life (and the time that those people have left) with the end result being what’s pretty important in the grand scheme of things.

1) Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I probably have 10X the time left with the people who live in my city as I do with the people who live somewhere else.

2) Priorities matter. Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you—not by unconscious inertia.

3) Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Mostar? Me neither. It’s a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina and sits on the Neretva River and was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who guarded the famous bridge above and below. That bridge was built in the 16th century by the Ottomans.

I’m always pretty well amazed by places that I’ve never heard of and at some point I keep thinking that I’m going to run out of opening places to ask if you’ve ever heard of a place, but when you find places like Mostar then the answer is probably “no, I’ll never run out of places”.

Photo by Yu Siang Teo on Unsplash


Photo by Zac Wolff on Unsplash

2. This isn’t going to hit with everyone, but my favorite radio station is 91.7, KXT, which is a non-profit radio station in Dallas. You can listen online if you don’t live in the DFW area. The reason why this station is so great is because you’ll hear something new, something terrible, something great, something depressing, something that makes you want to change the station. They’ll play Stevie Wonder, Radiohead, Lorde, The Killers, Charley Crockett, Dua Lipe, Prince, The Beatles, Jon Batiste, and hundreds of different things inbetween. It’s difficult to give a general idea as to what they play because there’s no algorithm telling them what to play. There are actual humans picking records, so some DJ’s you like and others you don’t. In a world where you get to pick whatever you want whenever you want, it’s sometimes nice not to do that and also nice to just sit through something you may not like knowing there’s something on the other end that you may like.

3. Via Business Insider, the oral history of Trading Places, the greatest Christmas movie ever made.

The script was developed for Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. And when I was sent the script, Richard Pryor, unfortunately, had his accident where he burnt himself rather badly, and they sent it to me and said, ‘What do you think?’

‘48 Hours’ hadn’t come out yet, but they’d previewed it, and Eddie Murphy had previewed very well, and they thought, ‘Ah this kid’s going to be a star,’ So they said, ‘What do you think about Eddie Murphy playing the Billy Ray Valentine part?’ And I of course said, ‘Who’s Eddie Murphy?’

Because I didn’t watch Saturday Night Live since John [Belushi] had died.

So I read the script, and I saw Eddie’s tapes, and went to New York and met with Eddie. And they wanted — I won’t tell you who they wanted me to cast — but the studio was very unhappy with almost everybody they wanted me to cast.

John Belushi had died, and [Dan Aykroyd’s] movie without John was called ‘Dr. Detroit,’ which was a failure, so conventional wisdom was that Aykroyd without Belushi was like Abbott without Costello, and that his career was over.

Now I knew Danny well, having worked with him, and I knew Danny was a fine actor, and he could easily play this guy. Danny, he’s an actor: You tell him what you want, and he delivers. And I thought he’d be wonderful. So he reduced his price quite a bit, and I got him, so I had Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, and they were upset because Danny hadn’t — his last couple of pictures hadn’t done well, and Eddie was still an unknown really. ‘48 Hours’ came out while we were shooting…

4. While we’re doing Christmas movies, via Rolling Stone, the untold story of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Chechik: Both Chevy and Johnny have the gift of comic timing without the gloss of it. There was an odd flatness to it that was super funny.

Galecki: One day John Hughes, Jeremiah, Chevy and I were sitting around waiting for a scene to be set up, and Chevy said, “There’s always been kind of a man-to-man scene between Clark and Russ in the previous films — a coming-of-age scene. But there isn’t in this one.” John mentioned that he had something like that in an initial draft, and Chevy said, “We should consider putting that back in.” So they asked what I thought and I said, “I don’t think there’s any point. Somebody thought it was worth taking out at some point, so even if we shoot it, it’ll probably get taken out again.” I literally talked myself out of what could have been a classic scene with Chevy Chase. Now that I’m a jaded Hollywood fuck, I realize the error of my ways. I still kick myself in the ass for this everyday.

Chase: Now Galecki’s making 100 million a year and I’m sitting here.

Galecki: Chevy worked like a puppet master for me in some scenes since I was was young and had never done comedy before. He’d almost cue me for my timing. He would nod, point, or wave a finger. He was so supportive, teaching me comic timing. That took a patience and consideration because the movie would have been funny enough without Rusty having that specific timing. He was terribly generous with me.

Latzen: At one point between takes, Chevy turns and looks at me and says in a very dry way, “Hey Ellen, why do dogs lick their balls?” And I said, “I don’t know.” He said, “Because they can.” As a kid I didn’t get it, but as an adult I can totally appreciate the humor of it. With us kids, he was great. That was his way. He was very dry.

5. Earth.

EARTH from Michael König on Vimeo.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Sandwich Harbour? It’s in Namibia and this is the kind of place that looks amazing, but is probably also absolutely unforgiving.

Photo by Sergi Ferrete on Unsplash

2. This guy travels to countries and he doesn’t do a 20 minute video about an entire country, he does nearly an hour on a country and it’s pretty specific and informative. It’s also dubbed in English, so other than getting used to that, it’s great.

3. Would you like to see some fall colors of Yosemite Valley? California Fall Color has some beautiful pictures.

4. Alistair Humprheys bought a bit map near his home, divided it by 52 squares and explored each and every square for 52 weeks. This last post, Parakeets is the culmination of that project. Humprheys also wrote about the idea of adventure being a self-indulgent pursuit without value to society. This is something I think about but had never been able to internalize. Going and doing things was something that I love to do, but it also meant leaving my family and doing things that really no one else participated in because I’d go run for a few hours and the only one that this benefits is me. Regardless, these things still benefit me greatly, or at least I get a tremendous amount of benefit from doing these things. This is fun for me so from a societal standpoint, there may not be a huge benefit, but from a personal standpoint, yes it is benefit.

5. Absolutely terrific. Texas Monthly’s Wes Ferguson spends a day with the squirrel hawkers of East Texas.

Of  all the red-tailed hawks that have ever soared on a Texas breeze, only one gets to live in Charlie Alvis’s house, at least during the winter hunting season. “My bird has its own bedroom,” said Alvis, a falconer who’s based in the unincorporated community of Porter, just beyond the northern outskirts of Houston. “When I come home at night, that bird comes in the living room with me. We socialize for hours at a time.”

The 43-year-old Alvis, who’s temporarily living in Brownwood, in Central Texas, for work, is long and lean and sports a gray beard. His five-year-old hawk has a golden chest, dark wings, a fan of reddish tail feathers, and, often, a murderous glare in her eyes. Alvis acquired the bird from a falconer in Georgia more than two years ago. He named her Calypso but doesn’t use it. There’s no point, he told me. Hawks respond to whistles and bloody snacks, not noms de guerre.

Human and hawk share a certain understanding, though. Alvis can sense any change in the bird’s demeanor. “I can open the door to her room and tell if she’s ready to hunt,” he said—her normally fluffy feathers become slicked back like a solid suit of body armor. In such moments, she answers an unspoken question: Do you want to kill some squirrels? “You know I do,” the hawk seems to tell Alvis. “Where are we going?”

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Wistman’s Wood? If you’ve never been to a rainfoest, you should. Or just a place where a rain forest exists, which can be in a place in the Pacific Northwest or near the equator, but it’s pretty amazing nonetheless. I didn’t know that there is a temperate rainforest in Britain, Wales near starting in Gwynedd (pictured above) and includes a place called Wistman’s Wood (which I could find no pictures that were free to post, but that link has a ton of them).

Photo by Craig Davis on Unsplash

2. Via The Atlantic, there’s a dog in Istanbul there’s a dog named Boji that’s been microchipped and just walks around Istanbul, riding trains, ferries, taking naps, etc. That’s 29 photographs of Boji. That’s a good name for a dog as well.

3. I’m about to start cycling as my brother is building me a bike so this link is just for him. We are in the year 2021 and Bitter Southerner profiles the very first competitive cycling team at a historically Black college at Saint Augustine University.

4. Some professor sat down and thought about the laws of stupidity and this third law is something I recognize way too much.

Law 3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

5. Reasons to be Cheerful the story of Kristine Tompkins and her late husband, Doug, who spent $345 million to buy land in Chile and Argentina consisting of five million hectares to create the Tompkins Conservation.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of Labrador? Well, there’s a decent chance that you may have as it is in Canada and it is the place where the Vikings landed in item 2 below.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

2. Via SyFy, by using the knowledge of solar flares and the samples of wood that was taken down using metal tools in Newfoundland, Canada, scientists have determined that the Vikings arrived in North America in the year 1021 A.D.

The scientists extracted 127 samples from the wood, and 83 rings were examined. They used two methods to secure dates. The first was to compare the amount of carbon-14 in each ring with known atmospheric amounts from the time. This gives a rough date for the waney edge of the wood. They also then looked for an anomalous spike in carbon-14 in an inner ring, knowing this would have come from the 993 A.D. event, and then simply counted the rings outward from there to get the date of the waney edge.

In all three samples the waney edge was dated to the same year: 1021 A.D. This would be incredibly unlikely to occur at random.

This means that Vikings were definitely in North America, specifically Newfoundland, Canada, more than four and a half centuries before Columbus. And mind you this may not have been the first visit, just the first we have evidence for. So Vikings were there in 1021 A.D. at the latest.

In fact, looking at different kinds of cells in the wood the scientists could tell one tree was felled in the spring of that year, while another was in the summer/autumn, indicating the Vikings were there for several months.

3. Via Medium’s Alvin Townley, this is the story of Cecil Smith, the Texas cowboy who may have been the best polo player ever.

4. The Atlantic Photo, the volcano exploding on the Canary Islands is absolutely demolishing La Palma. I mention a changing coast below, but this is changing the coast of this island too.

5. The Statesider’s Elizabeth Miller on the ever-changing Louisiana coast, the rising water forcing the changing of the coast because it just is. I like to think of the coasts of maps as finite, but that’s just not the case.

We’d launched onto a quiet bayou an hour’s drive south of New Orleans, then cruised through calm waterways, raising binoculars after heron and egrets. We were aiming for a manmade island that marks what used to be Louisiana’s southern edge and looking for evidence of the efforts to reconstruct a vanishing coastline along the way. At one point on our south-bound trip, Healthy Gulf community science director Scott Eustis showed me his GPS. The screen indicated we should be in a channel. Instead, open water surrounded us.

Every map you look at of Louisiana is a lie. They simply can’t keep up. A relatively current print edition will show a chunk missing from between the highways that run alongside the farmland, fishing docks, and oil and gas processing stations to the southern fringes of the state. In satellite images of the coast, pond names hover over expanses of blue. The broad fans of the Mississippi River’s delta have washed away into thin strips. That river poured the landscape into place over millennia, but it’s taken just a century to unravel it.

Saturday Morning Links

1. Ever heard of the city of Ulm? It’s in Germany and it’s the beginning of the journey from link #5.

Photo by Luis Fernando Felipe Alves on Unsplash

2. Via Wired, a guy read every Marvel comic and then wrote a book, All of the Marvels, which appeals to the comic fan in me.

Reading them all at once, though, allowed Wolk to see the entire landscape at a single view. He notes, for example, that decades-old characters written by dozens of different people end up having consistent themes, but they change to reflect their times. Stories about Iron Man are always about the military industrial complex, Wolk realizes. In the 1960s, they were pretty rah-rah about American power. That changed during the Vietnam War. Back then the stories were about lasers and nukes; these days they’re more likely to be about surveillance, data, and artificial intelligence. Or take Captain America, a character whose stories are always about how Americans perceive themselves—which made it interesting when the commie-smashing Cap of the 1950s comics was reimagined in the 1970s as a government-employed imposter who turned out to be a white nationalist. X-Men stories are famously about diversity and acceptance, though the team was created as a race parable. It evolved, if you will, into present-day stories about international relations and gender identity.

But if a story is so big that it contains, like, everything, is that still a point of view? Is that still art? Wolk’s answer is yes, but his main goal, he tells me, is still to find ways someone could start reading Marvel Comics now, today, and enjoy them without being crushed by history and time. “I’m somebody who’s leading you on a guided tour of this enormous territory that I’ve walked every mile of, and you don’t have to walk every mile,” he says. “I don’t want to show you what I think the highlights are. I want my readers to be able to find the parts that will matter to them.” He’s trying to pathfind a trail that maybe only a longtime comics reader can see. Every frame of every Marvel story might have been an infinitesimal, but like some grand mathematical model they all integrate together into the long, long arc of the Marvel universe.

3. Via Colossal, Anglea Hao digitally draws Japanese shops with incredible details and these are just neat to look at. That’s it.

4. Via Reddit, websites that people wish other people knew more about. This is actually pretty amazing and have found several websites that I had no idea existed. And you sort of get the idea that the internet is bad, but there’s lots of good out there as well.

5. Via Vanity Fair’s William Prochnau and Laura Parker, in 1932 Oskar Speck is bankrupt, the threat of Nazi Germany is looming, and begins a 7-year and 30,000 mile kayak trip.

In 1929, the Great Depression crushed a country already on its back. By 1932, more than 30 percent of German workers were unemployed. Speck ran a small electrical-contracting company. It went bankrupt, taking the boss and his 21 workers into the streets. For Speck it was the last straw. He was fed up with the limitations of his life and his country.

The same frustration drove many Germans to the guttural siren song of Adolf Hitler. It drove Speck over the horizon. In the strange bubble world he would live in for the next seven and a half years he would brush up against Germany’s new keepers briefly, fly a swastika, and at least once seek out the Nazis’ financial help. As with so many Germans of his era, the full story of his political leanings will probably never be known. But in 1932, Oskar Speck seemed without any politics at all. “All I wanted was to get out of Germany,” he said later.

On May 13, 1932, he packed up his five-year-old kayak, called Sunnschien, boarded a train to the Danube River city of Ulm, dropped the boat into the water, and, “without any fuss or farewell,” paddled east with the current.

It was an unlikely start by an unlikely adventurer. Speck stood five feet ten inches, and weighed a lean 140 pounds. He couldn’t swim—and even traveling halfway around the world by ocean he never bothered to learn. He pushed off with little money, little planning, and only a vague goal of reaching Cyprus to find work in the copper mines.