Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age
In life, sometimes you miss out on golden opportunities but I do not believe you should spend time looking back and regretting. When I think of my missed chances, I prefer to smile about them, and in some cases to thank the powers that be for saving me from their subsequent fates.
In the seventies, I was in Mexico and was tempted to take a lucrative job as manager of a North American coal-mining company, in Haiti. This was shortly after the notorious Papa Doc Jnr became President. I was offered a preposterous amount of money to take the precarious position. Even though I was in difficult financial straits at the time I decided to miss out on the job. The following year the corrupt dictator threw all the company employees in jail, where they remained, in atrocious conditions for a long time.
Another time, in Ecuador, I missed out on a flight in a small two-engine aircraft. This would have saved me a seven-hour, road journey from Largo Agrio, in the Ecuadorian Amazon region to Quito, the capitol. I learned two days later the plane had disappeared in flight and to my knowledge has yet to be found. There have been many other missed-outs over the years but I cannot recall one that I did not miss that much.
However, there was one wonderful missed opportunity in my life which to this day I remain undecided which one of two offers I should have accepted. Because of the decision, I made then, I regret I have yet to see the Pyramids or the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
It was while serving as a soldier with the British army near the Egyptian city of Ismalia, I was given the marvellous chance of visiting the Pyramids and then Jerusalem or – a couple of days in the sordid city of Port Said. I chose the latter, preferring at the tender age of eighteen, to visit fleshpots of Port Said, to antiquities of Cairo or the Holy City.
My reason for declining that prior offer was influenced by an older (by two years) and more experienced Scottish comrade-in-arms. He rather easily convinced me that the two cultural sites would still be there in a thousand years, whereas the Fatimas who dwelt in the disreputable city of Port Said, would not be around so long.
Such was our two days in the said port, which include an uncomfortable night in a not-to-be recommended Egyptian jail and other mischiefs which I have written about elsewhere, that the trip is still well remembered
Now, in later life, I find myself wondering, if I had taken advantage of the first offer, would I now be regretting I had missed out the opportunity of the second???
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