An Exploration of the Fibreoptic Revolution

During the last couple of decades the world of computers and technology has been developing at an incredibly fast rate, with nearly all devices getting exponentially faster, smaller and more powerful. One of the most important breakthroughs we made was in communication and online data transfer; today, it is possible for virtually anyone connected to the worldwide web to download or upload any piece of information they want at unprecedented speeds, thanks to the innovation we refer to as fibreoptic cable. As a matter of fact, it is safe to say that the advent of fibreop technology sparked what can be best described as a revolution in communications, and what follows is an exploration of how this breakthrough has paid off for mankind.

A Brief Glance at Fibreoptic Technology

To explain it as simply as possible, fibreoptic technology allows for the transfer of light through both long and short distances with the help of a series of transparent fibres. In other words, this means that it is capable of transmitting information at the speed of light. Regardless of where it is installed or for what purpose, a fibreop system is built out of three components.

First, there is the core, and it is the innermost part of the cable. Depending on the situation, the core is either assembled from plastic or glass and is responsible for carrying the light signal. Right outside of the core you will find the next component, the cladding. It is responsible for keeping the light signal inside the core and is made from a material with a low refractive index. Finally, the last component making up the fibreop cable is the jacket; made from polymer or glass, it is the cable’s line of defense against any environmental hazards it may encounter.

How the Fibreoptic Cable Functions

Because the cladding always has a lower refractive index than the core, the light signal travels by bouncing off the cladding at angles greater than 90 degrees, ensuring there is absolutely no loss of energy, even if the fibre happens to be curved. This mechanism allows the data to travel at great speeds without slowing down or being lost in the process.

As far as the splicing process goes (connecting one fibre end to another) there are two different methods one can use. The first one is referred to as a mechanical splice for it is made with the help of a mechanical sleeve which aligns two cleaved fibre ends. The second process is known as fusion splice, and it is performed with the help of heat.

The Benefits of Fibreoptic Technology

And so now that the fibreop technology itself has been explored, it is time to look at the features which make it such an important breakthrough in communications technology. To begin with, fibre cables are always very flexible, which is quite advantageous for commercial buildings where there are countless twists and turns to contend with.

The second advantage of the fibreoptic cable has already been mentioned earlier: its ability to transmit information at the speed of light. This means that you can easily achieve download and upload speeds of over 40 gigabytes per second, have a high-quality television cable connection with no interruptions, and even hold crystal-clear long-distance conversations over the phone. To explain it in other terms, this is the fastest and most reliable data transfer method that we have been able to come up with, and in terms of speed and quality it simply blows all the other alternatives out of the water.

Last, but definitely not least, fibreop cable is by far cheaper than the regular electric copper cables due to the widespread availability of the parts needed in its construction. That’s right, in addition to being much better, fibreoptic technology is also cheaper than what we are currently using.

Of course, nothing in this life is perfect, and fibreoptic technology does have one small flaw: if the wires are installed too deep underground gravity and the weight of earth will cause them to slowly bend downwards over time. This means that in order to maintain the cable under such conditions, rare but regular maintenance work will be required.

Final Words on Fibreop

With everything being said and done, it can easily be stated that despite its small flaw, fibreoptic technology is definitely here to stay and is the next big thing in the world of communications. It is more effective, reliable, simpler and cheaper than all the options we have had up until now, and if the progress keeps on going at this rate, we’ll probably develop teleportation technology next.

Final Fantasy XV

After so many years of waiting and speculating, Final Fantasy XV or formerly Final Fantasy Versus XIII had been announced. A trailer and some gameplay footages were presented at the E3 2013 press conference. This was a huge surprise because the game has been silent since 2011. The game was first revealed in 2006, then it remained silent until 2011. It was originally developed exclusively for the Playstation 3. However, Tetsuya Nomura (the game’s director) decided to shift it to the next generation of consoles. His reasoning is that, the vision of Final Fantasy XV can be achieved more with next generation hardware. Since the next generation of consoles are just around the corner, he decided to develop these new systems. That’s the reason why after the 2011 gameplay and trailers, Final Fantasy Versus 13 remained silent. They cannot announce a game yet because the Playstation 4 and Xbox One at that time hadn’t been announced, logically speaking. This made fans wonder if the game is still in development after all these years. Some fans even waited for the game for almost 7 years. Tetsuya Nomura’s vision for the game is ambitious and is certainly worthy of the power of the next gen consoles. Fans all around the world know that Tetsuya Nomura directed the Kingdom Hearts franchise, one of the best success of his work. However, that’s for another story. Final Fantasy Versus 13 was also rumored that it was vapor ware but Square Enix responded that it was a false rumor. Many fans were pissed off because of that announcement but also were very relieved once they knew that it was just false news. After so many years of waiting, they announced it in E3 having Tetsuya Nomura on screen and at the end of the trailer, they revealed that Final Fantasy Versus 13 is now Final Fantasy XV.

A lot of fans rejoiced and most of them were fascinated with the improvements to gameplay and visuals. I also read from various polls and internet discussions that they literally “cried” when they saw the trailer. That is totally understandable knowing that the game never shed light in so many years. Information and speculations have now been answered and the fans were extremely overjoyed with the official reveal of this game. You can see how dedicated the fans are for this game. The graphics for this game have improved as well, knowing that this is going to be for next gen, it’s definitely going to be awesome, the visuals are spot on, as expected from any Final Fantasy game. The game’s lighting uses Square Enix’s new Luminous engine. As with the power of the next generation systems, texture and level of detail have been upgraded and improved. The gameplay trailer for Final Fantasy XV was well received as well. Square Enix also made short bios for the characters of the game. Certain parts of the story have also been unveiled.

Here’s some information about the story:

“The only crystal left to the world lies in the Kingdom of Lucis. Upon striking a peace with the garrison state of Niflheim, Lucis rejoices in having at last brought the cold war to a close. Their celebrations, however, are premature. Under the guise of amity, Niflheim dispels the anti-armament runewall and launches a full-scale invasion of the kingdom. The peaceful lives Crown Prince Noctis and his entourage once knew are consumed by the flames of war as they struggle to mount a resistance.” -Final Fantasy XV wiki

Basically, the main lead character Noctis Lucis Caleum is a prince of Lucis and he is the last heir of his kingdom. There are 4 kingdoms around the world that possess a crystal of power. These are the kingdoms of Lucis, Tenebrae, Solheim and Accordo. However, these nations lost their crystals through warfare and cold wars. The kingdom of Lucis having closed their doors to other nations possess the final and last crystal. The kingdom of Lucis is described as a nation both highly advanced and developed, culturally intact, with traditions that are vibrant and still alive. Upon striking a peace with the garrison state of Niflheim, Lucis rejoices in having at last brought the cold war to a close. Their celebrations, however, are premature. Under the guise of amity, Niflheim dispels the anti-armament runewall and launches a full-scale invasion of the kingdom. This shows the treachery and greed of the kingdom of Niflheim. Prince Noctis and his team have no other choice but to fight and create resistance.

These are just some of the information, hopefully, we will know a lot more of the story in the coming months. They also revealed some information about the characters of the game.

Here are some of them:

1.  Noctis Lucis Caelum, or “Noct” as he’s often referred to, suffered a childhood affliction that has left him able to see a heavenly light that enables him to sense others’ deaths. Despite being the heir apparent to the throne of Lucis, Noctis rejects royal convention even to the point of being something of a renegade, though his loyalty to those around him is unquestionable.

2.  Ignis Scientia was raised to offer his unwavering voice of reason in counsel to Noctis. Weaned on shrewd logic and a classical education from youth, he and Noctis share a deep mutual understanding and trust built on years of familiarity.

3. Gladiolus Amicitia is the eldest son and lord of the noble House Amicitia, which is sworn to protect the crown. Despite this, the bond between “Gladio” and Noctis goes deeper than simply being one of duty, but is instead one of friendship.

4. Prompto Argentum is a mischievous playboy who knows Noctis from school. Being from outside the royal circle has left him with a chip on his shoulder, but he’s still eager to help in any way he can. While he can get carried away easily, there’s another side of him which is driven to help friends in need.

5. Lord Commander Cor Leonis is a living legend, completely devoted to the king. Though he and Noctis’ ragtag band of followers rarely see eye to eye, he is honor bound to protect them.

6.  Stella Nox Fleuret is a young girl and ambassador from the Tenebrae’s Kingdom, which her family Fleuret is from. She’s one of the primary characters that first appeared on the Final Fantasy XV. Stella had a brief conversation with Nocits about the “Light”.

According to Nomura, the world of Final Fantasy XV can be traveled by car or by an airship. Basically, you can control your car or airship while traveling the world. Now, that’s a nice touch because we weren’t able to do that literally since Final Fantasy IX. Digging out some of the Final Fantasy classic gameplay like these are very much appreciated and welcomed. Chocobos are also present but we will know more of that in the coming months. The tone of the game is much darker compared to other Final Fantasies. The game’s level design and world map is yet to be revealed fully as we progress through other game press conferences and events in the near future. Hopefully, we could have a release date soon. Square Enix stated that Final Fantasy XV will not be released before its fiscal period, of which ends in March 2014. So this means, we will probably have an announcement for the release date after March 2014.

Overall, many are excited for this game, including myself. This is a different Final Fantasy but we all know that this game boasts of quality. Hopefully we can have more information soon. The game is available for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Although I thought at first that this would be a Playstation 4 exclusive but oh well, the more the merrier. This game is definitely one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. We will just have to wait and see.



Final Fantasy XV Announcement Trailer

Final Fantasy XV Gameplay Trailer 2013

Playstation 4 is the Best Choice

Sony officially announced the Playstation 4 for the first time way back in February 20, 2013. However, it was in E3 2013 last June that Sony fully gained respect and wide world recognition because of their used games and pro gamer/consumer policies. So far, it’s the number one console choice for gamers around the world. Although, it’s a bit early for that since both consoles for Sony and Microsoft have not been out yet. The amount of pre orders from retail companies such as Gamestop and Best Buy, shows that the PS4 is leading the race against Microsoft. The ruckus and issues with Microsoft’s anti consumerism and restrictive policies certainly paved way to Sony’s advantage. We all know that Microsoft already with held those policies but it made such bad image in the company that the effects are daunting. There are a lot of Xbox loyalists move to Sony’s banner because of this. Well, enough of Microsoft, let’s talk a little bit about Sony’s Playstation 4. The Playstation 4 is technically more powerful than the Xbox One. It’s memory is also faster than its competitor.


Here are the official Specs for the Playstation 4:

Product name PlayStation®4 Jet Black
Product code CUH-1000A series
Recommended retail price US$ 399, Canada$ 399, € 399, and £ 349
Main Processor Single-chip custom processor
CPU : x86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores
GPU : 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD next-generation Radeon™ based graphics engine
Memory GDDR5 8GB
Storage size 500GB Hard disk drive*1 (user replaceable)
External dimensions Approx. 275×53×305 mm (width × height × length)
(tentative, excludes largest projection)
Mass Approx. 2.8 kg
BD/ DVD drive (read only) BD × 6 CAV
Input/ Output Super-Speed USBx (USB 3.0) port × 2
AUX port × 1
Networking Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)×1IEEE 802.11 b/g/nBluetooth® 2.1(EDR)
AV output HDMI out port
Included PlayStation®4 system × 1
Wireless Controller (DUALSHOCK®4) × 1
Mono headset × 1
AC power cord × 1
HDMI cable × 1
USB cable × 1


Sony’s first-party studios have 30 games in development for the PlayStation 4, 20 of which are due to release within a year of the console’s launch and 12 of which are new franchises. This is more than Microsoft’s 15 games and 8 of these are new IP’s. As you can see, Sony definitely has the edge. Sony is well known for its huge exclusive games for the PS3, of which the Xbox 360 only has 2 well known hit exclusives. Sony has made exclusives like the Uncharted Series, Heavy Rain by Quantic Dream, God of War Series, Ni No Kuni, Metal Gear Solid 4, and the list goes on. While Xbox 360 has only Halo Series and Gears of War as huge exclusive hits.

Sony’s messaging regarding used games in E3 and its pro gaming policies has been received by gamers world wide. The issues with Microsoft didn’t do well with gamers because in E3 they were arrogant enough to say that “this is the future”, and after a week (possibly due to weak pre orders) they changed their policies. Well, we don’t know for sure but that’s one factor in looking at it. Sony bashed Microsoft with grace and sheer power. If this was a boxing match, Sony uppercut the face of Microsoft. Their clear messaging and emphasis on the gamers choice has certainly impacted a lot of audience. Abolishing the rules of DRM within Sony’s first party games and always online rule. Sony mentioned that Playstation 4 won’t need online requirement to play single player games and “it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated in 24hrs”, after Sony’s announcement regarding used games, everybody in the crowd cheer for joy. Whether the media were shocked or even relieved, it’s safe to say that it’s something of a positive note. Sony even made a short video on how to share Playstation 4 games, here is the link for it, how to share ps4 games

The video is kinda hilarious, isn’t it? This just shows that Microsoft has gone overboard with their policies that even the most simplest way of sharing your games has been “re-enacted”  by Sony so that the gamers would get their message by saying that they own the games that they buy and that they can do anything with the games that they purchased. They can sell the game or lend it to whomever and whenever, just by simply giving/selling  it to their friend personally. That’s how Sony punched Microsoft in the face, they want to tell consumers and gamers that they don’t want to choke them and feed them something that they do not want in the first place.

To end this, Sony announced the price of $399 for the Playstation 4. That’s a hundred dollars less than the Xbox one, which is $499. Sure, Xbox One is more expensive because of kinect, but Microsoft required it in their package. Sony didn’t include the Playstation eye, because they don’t want to force their consumers to buy something that they don’t want. There are a lot of people who don’t like Kinect as well, so why force them to buy one? There are a lot of claims saying that they even hate Kinect. However, to be fair to Microsoft, the Kinect 2 sensor will get the consumers to “test” the new features of Microsoft. However, those new features are addressed to the casual or even non gamer. All Microsoft does is TV, television, TV, television, if you watched previous gaming news, you know what I mean. To put it simple, the hardcore gamers don’t care with those features, because it all comes down with games, of which Microsoft fails to understand. That’s why for this generation, Sony is a way better choice. From specs, price and games, the Playstation 4 will deliver entertainment into your living room with pure fun and pure quality. These are all facts and there’s nothing wrong if you purchase an Xbox One, but are you really sure, even though the Xbox One has turned 180, they have showed themselves to be money hungry corporate thugs that want to milk your money in every way possible that they can. I would rather buy a Nintendo Wii U than an Xbox One. Well, that’s just a personal choice. Good job for Sony, and let’s hope that this new generation of consoles would bring us more and more great and quality gaming experiences.

Xbox One turns 180

Microsoft backtracked on its much derided policy that would have required Xbox One gamers to connect their consoles to the Internet once a day to prevent game piracy. They faced a huge backlash when it announced its policy, just before the E3 video game conference earlier in May. Then, the company said it would allow gamers to play offline for up to 24 hours on a primary console, or 1 hour if they were logged onto a separate console accessing their library of titles. At that point, offline gaming would have been disabled until players re-establish a Web connection. The restrictions that Microsoft made for its consumers have clearly affected the gaming community.

Gamers all around the world “protest” to these evil policies and became victorious, well in a sense. Some speculations say that the reason why Microsoft “opened up” their eyes, is because of their low pre orders from Gamestop and also in Best Buy a well. There’s truth in this because official records of both retail companies say that most consumers pre ordered the Playstation 4. There are a lot of PS4 pre orders from gamers today. Microsoft has no choice, but to turn 180 with their “restricting” policies, if not they will lose sales to Sony.

During E3 Microsoft was very “arrogant” enough in saying that their policies are “the future”. There’s also an interview conducted by Angry Joe with Major Nelson, of which Nelson asked Angry Joe, “Do you want to come to the future with me Joe?”  This arrogant statement makes it more hilarious because after a week, Microsoft abolished their polices. The reason why gamers/consumers are so angry with the Xbox one policies is because the policies are very anti consumer. You buy an xbox one game, but technically the game is not yours. You can’t sell it to a friend or even let him borrow the “traditional” way. The move by Sony in E3 has been one of the most exciting and mostly well received.

It has been awhile since we saw companies retaliate and bash each other. Sony did a great job in punching the lights out of Microsoft. They even made a video on how to share your PS4 game with a friend. This depicted as simple portrayal of a person lending his friend with a PS4 game, by just giving it to him. Microsoft went overboard that this video was made, of which seemed so hilarious because that’s what’s a console is all about. You can do anything with your game because you paid for it.

Microsoft policies want to restrict the gamer, therefore, even though it’s a simple video made by Sony, it’s very strong in its message. Microsoft’s anti consumerism and lack of value to its loyal fans have really damaged their name. Even loyal Xbox fans started to move away from Microsoft. These Xbox fans are now heading for Sony’s new platform, the Playstation 4. Other gamers griped because Xbox one’s feature are not focused on games but rather in useless gimmicks like the “TV Television” concept. Many fans during the Microsoft pre E3 presentation were disappointed albeit, annoyed with that useless concept. That’s why Sony is better because of its gamer friendly options. Plus, you can even sell your game to your friend with no restrictions whatsoever.

In conclusion, Microsoft turns 180 realizing that their sales have gone down because of poor messaging and restrictive policies. They want something new but their message isn’t clear to the public, especially to the gaming community. They have made a huge scar or wound in their image as a gaming company. Although, there will always be fanboys, many believe that Sony will take lead this console generation. Microsoft’s restrictions really took the toll. Sony’s console is much more powerful and is much more cheaper compared to the Xbox One. Sony’s Playstation 4’s price is $399 only, while Xbox One is 599. Most consumers will definitely pick the PS4. There are a lot of reasons, but these events prove that gamers aren’t idiots. Microsoft wanted to milk money from the consumer to the last penny, they thought that the consumers will accept that. However, they are wrong, this just shows that most consumers and gamers’ aren’t fooled that easily by capitalism and anti consumerism.

Can You Regrow Teeth As An Adult?

Having perfectly shaped teeth is something that everyone desires, but unfortunately not everyone was born with naturally nice teeth. There are many things that can alter your smile, but one of the worst things that could ever happen is having your tooth get chipped or completely cracked off. Getting implants is probably the last resort people turn to so that they can finally get back their smile. Having a missing tooth or a cracked one, can change the way you smile forever and so people tend to spend a ton of money on all sorts of procedures. However, people tend to wonder if there is any way to regrow new teeth even if they are adults.

Can You Regrow Teeth As An Adult?

Unfortunately, the third molars are the human’s only set of teeth which can grow back when you’re an adult. All humans are born with two sets of teeth, their primary which grow when they’re still babies and then the secondary set that comes soon after their primary fall off. Therefore, after their second set has accidentally fallen or cracked off, there is no possible way to grow another set back naturally. However, much debate has been revolving the human ability to regrow new teeth after they have fallen ever since scientists have found alligators to have this nifty capability.

An alligator has been shown to regenerate every lost tooth over 50 times. This has been significantly great news for people, especially hockey players, as researchers at University of South California have been studying how alligators’ teeth regrow to try and check if doctors can one day stimulate the adult humans body to automatically replace any tooth that they have lost. However, for now, doctors, especially dentists have been telling people to instead get dental implants while this study hasn’t been fully thought out yet.

Benefits Of Dental Implants

The amount of benefits to dental implants are quite endless. One of the main advantages to them is the fact that they restore your old smile back and make them appear as natural as is possible. By simply replacing the whole tooth, including its root allow dentists to replicate the functions and appearance of natural teeth using a strong and stable foundation which allows comfortable chewing and biting to patient. Plus, nothing in your mouth will look or feel artificial whatsoever.

On top of that, dental implants have been proven to preserve the natural facial structures, as a loss of teeth can cause sagging and other facial deformity. By preventing your bone resorption which would normally occur from the loss of certain teeth, your facial structures will be able to remain intact. Having your face to collapse is the last thing that you want, because it can change the way you look forever.

Your smile will also be improved when replaced by a dental implant. Even when just one tooth has been lost, long term esthetics truly are a smart thing to do to prevent any negative factors from occurring. This is essentially important for the front part of your mouth, as it will prevent visible bone defects and instead create a natural appearance.

Dental implants will also enhance your overall quality of life, because they function just like natural teeth. These implants are supported replacement teeth, and so the appearance of your smile will be natural and they will feel natural as well. The result basically is increased comfort and an increased confidence when you speak, smile, and eat. If dentures and other partials tend to be replaced with implanted supported teeth, your overall enhanced quality of life will be more significant.

Lastly, you will also be able to have a more improved oral hygiene. It’s way easier for you to care for your implanted teeth because they also have the same texture as regular teeth. It is also a lot more convenient for you to clean an entire set of implants supported from replacement teeth compared to the traditional denture.

If you want to restore your smile back to normal due to a loss of certain teeth, then you should really consider to get dental implants. Since there aren’t any natural ways to regrow new teeth, consider getting dental implants to get your teeth back.

How Many Burglars Does It Take To Steal A Light Bulb?

Tired of getting your light bulbs stolen by filthy burglars? Sick of living in a dark house?

In the Middle Ages, this problem was not an issue at all. Not only because they had pits with crocodiles, cauldrons of boiling oil and goblins watching over the treasure piles; also because the light bulb was not invented yet.

Unfortunately, we live in the world of the technological revolution. We have to spend out meaningless lives surrounded by all these nasty technological miracles; playing disgusting high quality video games, watching repulsively good TV shows, and lying in horrifyingly comfortable intelligent mattresses. That’s the world we are living in, and light bulbs are a very important part of that world.

Burglars are greedy and mischievous; they want all the light for themselves, and there’s only so much we can do to stop them. The times of the spiked fences, the killer swans and the magic secret doors are over, and now we are forced to cope with all sorts of gizmos created to make our lives easier. Who would really want that?

Modern home security systems are there to accomplish two goals: preventing burglars of entering your home and calling the police when they are inside. Nothing about killing or maiming them; that belongs to our glorious past, my friends. So, you may have an incredibly expensive system that will close the doors of your house -big deal- and, when the burglars manage to get in, call the police. Excuse me, but if you are not able to close your own doors or to call the police when a stranger is unscrewing your precious light bulbs, you have no right to be in this planet, sir. Or madam. Or whatever you are.

There are people who build Panic Rooms at their houses. For me, that idea is just crazy. Why would you want to have a room that inspires terror and despair inside their own homes? It’s way better to have that room outside, or way below. That’s what we call a proper dungeon, with monsters and ghosts and all that inspiring stuff. Let me tell you this: no dragon will agree to pile his treasures in a simple Panic Room. Dragons need caves, big spaces with rocks and moonlight entering through a tiny hole in the ceiling, not Jodie Foster screaming into a camera.

The last trend in security systems is the use of wireless technology. Those sneaky little invisible radio signals creep through your house, talking behind your back and shouting out loud when a burglar gets in. I’m sorry, but my mother in law is way better equipped for that job; not only she does all the things a wireless system can do, but she is also able to cook a poisonous casserole to kill all the guests. Beat that, modern technology!

Answering the original question, “How many burglars does it take to steal a light bulb?”, the answer is quite simple: You need eleven burglars to steal a light bulb.

  • One to plan the heist.
  • One to drive the car.
  • One to open the gate.
  • One to feed the dog.
  • One to cut the telephone lines.
  • One to force the door.
  • One to unscrew the light bulb.
  • One to carry it to the car.
  • One to sell the light bulb to a licensed black market fence.
  • One to watch the whole operation, eating burritos and saying “you are doing it wrong” every single minute.
  • And one to rule them all.

My final advise is to forget about modern technology, retire to a mountain, learn the language of the goats, and live unhappily ever after.

The Moroccan Desert’s Spiritual Essence

The red earth spread out around us, and from up above, we would have appeared not so very different than the thousands upon thousands of stones scattered upon her surface. I imagined that we were being watched; even an atheist succumbs from time to time to fantasies about a watcher up above.

We found ourselves in a desert, not of sand, but of packed dirt and stones sprawling as far as the eye could see. The Moroccan sun was hot, but my companion, David, was accustomed to that after spending almost a year teaching English in Errachidia, an eternally sunny city situated between the High Atlas and the nether regions of the East. David didn’t even wear sun-block lotion anymore. His skin had taken on the honey hue of the locals. It was easy to forget where he came from; it seemed as though he had always lived in Morocco. I suppose that my extended visit from the United States served as a reminder to him, a connection to his past.

We weren’t proud men, and I don’t say that of David because he was my friend, but because he was truly humble. I imagine that he remains so, though I haven’t seen him for years. This is a story that occurred in the past when we were young and taken to adventure.

A feeling of satisfaction had descended upon us, a feeling of achievement after having bicycled a good twenty kilometers over rough terrain. Our bicycles lay a few meters off, abandoned for lunch and a short rest. We felt justified in eating our picnic, eagerly tearing into the hard-boiled egg and cheese sandwiches that we had packed before setting out.

With full stomachs and happy hearts, a weariness crept in and a slight chill, so that we both put on the sweaters we’d packed and, not being in a rush, fell asleep under the sun.

I slept for only a short while before the hardness of the ground proved unbearable. I sat up, stretched, and squinted my eyes in the bright light. It was then that I realized there was a watcher after all. He was crouching a few meters past our bicycles. He was not from above; our eyes were level as we stared silently for a moment or two.

I told David to wake up. He would be able to talk to the man. He spoke his language, a distinctly Moroccan dialect of Arabic. I had already witnessed his ability to impress the Moroccans with an unexpected turn of phrase, or a bit of sarcasm that belied the brevity of his acquaintance with the language. David wished the man peace, asked about his health, his family. The man blessed David and asked if we were Americans. David said that, yes, we were Americans, and asked the man how he had guessed. The man said he had heard about an American in the big town who spoke Arabic, but he never expected to meet him out in the middle of nowhere.

The man was interested in obtaining a cigarette. I didn’t smoke and neither did David. The man became agitated at this news and explained how he had tried to stop smoking many times but couldn’t live without it. David translated for me and I nodded my head in understanding, for I had smoked in my college days and had found the habit hard to give up.

The man asked for water; he drank slowly, only a few swallows, and returned the bottle, thanking us excessively and blessing our parentsDavid told the man that he didn’t need to thank us; it was our duty. He then offered the man an orange and a package of cookies. The man accepted the orange and said he would eat it later. I wondered how, laughing to myself, for the man didn’t have a single tooth in his mouth.

He had been on foot all day, on his way from his village to the big town where he hoped to find work. David asked him why he didn’t take a bus to Errachidia and the man explained that walking is good for the health, which I found amusing, given his penchant for smoking.

I offered to give the man twenty Dirhams, plenty for him to catch a bus along the way. David would have stopped me, but the money was already in my extended hand. The man again blessed our parents and said he’d be going now. We shook hands, placed our hands over our hearts, and watched him walk away in the direction of the road.

We assembled our things, mounted our bicycles and headed away from the road, wanting to put in a few more good, hard kilometers before turning back. Feeling energized from lunch, we sang at the top of our lungs as we jangled and bumped along the rocky flats. We sang of wine and love and women and heartache and cheeseburgers and sadness and death.

When at last our legs began to tire, we turned back toward the road and the long route home. We had checked our watches, and we calculated that we would make it back to town around dusk, before dark.

We sang no more, but only pedaled, and I felt weary. I think David did too, but he didn’t say so, so I didn’t either. I fell into a silent, semi-conscious state of exhaustion. I listened to the crunch of the gravel and the rattle of the loose headlight fastened to the steel frame of my bicycle. Behind me, I heard David shifting gears, trying to find the right one.

Now I noticed a difference between us and the stones. We were moving. We were going somewhere by the power of our own legs. It occurred to me that the man, the watcher, had always lived by the power of his legs, so to speak. I thought that perhaps I should try to ride my bike more back in the States instead of taking the car all the time. Then, I thought about dinner and what would be good to eat. Chicken and fries sounded good to me.

Soon, we saw a man walking along the roadside up ahead. As we approached, we could see that it was the toothless man. I wondered out loud why he hadn’t taken a bus.

When we caught up to him, David greeted him and we again shook hands. David asked him if there had been any buses and the man said yes, there had been many buses along the road. Why didn’t he take a bus to the big town, David wanted to know. The man explained that he had no money for a bus. David protested kindly, pointing out that I had given him twenty Dirhams for bus fare. The man laughed and said that he intended to buy cigarettes as soon as he reached the big town.