I shake scarred hands and ask the story. My shadow is always there, covering my rear flank. Unobstrusively skilled, I hand him a short staff and he grins. He's a fighter on a lot of levels. Good to have my radar confirmed.
The half-adopted stray wags her tail. Her ears are cropped, the custom here with stray dogs (that puzzles me, neither killing nor adopting strays but taking the time to mutilate them). I scratch behind her stubby ears and share my breakfast- flat bread and cheese, usually, but sometimes garbanzo soup. Nasty.
I can run and I do. Sometimes the mud sticks to my shoes and I stop after only a hundred meters or so. Each foot weighs several pounds too much and I am standing inches taller. It will take forever to get all the mud off my shoes.
"A king was executed on that rock."
"That is the ruins of one of the oldest villages in the world."
"Would you like to buy a hunting falcon?"
"All the bullet holes are so high because they had to shoot from outside the walls."
A man with disfiguring scars does mundane business with a breathtaking beauty across the counter of a shopping gallery.
Just a minute, really, allowed to swing a hammer in a forge that has changed little since the dawn of the Iron Age. It is his heaviest hammer and I am trying to be precise, not show off muscle. He makes his living at this and I don't want to mess up his job. The hammer rings, lift and stroke and it rings again. Yeah, I could do this and be happy for a very long time.