Breaking News: the plans of the pyramids have been stolen!
The news was terrible. An invaluable treasure was stolen from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Believe it or not, the plans of the pyramids disappeared! I turned immediately my radio on to hear about the robbery. The media announced a few well-known suspects were already tracked down. Local security patrols failed miserably in safeguarding the national treasure and left the thieve escape without anyone noticing.
A few moments later, Egyptian telly aired fuzzy pictures from CCTV that clearly showed the suspect running out of the building with the maps. It looked clear from the pictures that the suspect was a female acting alone could clearly define a female acting alone. Was I going to deal with Katherine Brunch, Merey LaRoc or maybe Ihor Ihorovich? All were good candidates. I wanted to know more and decided to take the next flight to Cairo to find out more.
Is this Merey LaRoc? Is she hidding the maps under her dress?
In a rush I managed to catch a late flight. Fortunately I didn't forget my credit cards. Imagine paying that fortune for just a 4 hours trip? I could have easily spent this amount for a journey around the world in 80 days. During the flight, in between two naps, I educated myself on the mission's details. A 12-page confidential file was already prepared and given to me when I arrived at the airline lounge.
From the window, I could view the immensity of the city and I could even see in the distance Gizeh. Cairo is a city of 25 million, the biggest of Africa and the Middle-East. It was not going to be an easy task to find the thief!
I decided to start my day with a typical Egyptian breakfast to think about how I would organise my day. The server brought me a baladi bread, taameya's, foul and delicious hallawa. The entire city still seemed under shock about the previous day events. I asked the bartender: "What do you think of all this?". He answered: "Sir, it's dramatic! If we don't find back the plans of the pyramids, we'll never know how they have been built!". That was evidence.
I went to the bank to check my account and while at my private bankers' desk I got informed, totally amazed, that someone just came asking to change almost a million Egyptian pounds into something 250 millions Liras. It was a lady in a hurry and a strong Southern accent that left the bank running into a limousine for Mena House's Oberon Golf Club in Gizeh, at the foot of the pyramids! I thanked him very much. This was a lucky start. I rushed out.
Incognito, our suspect vanishes in the streets of Cairo
Less than an hour later I arrived at the club-house where a limousine was already parked. "Where is your customer?" I asked. "She joined the golf club director. I understood she wanted to climb Mount Titano with him... in San Marino". I was surprised, this was just hard to believe. A few seconds later I heard a helicopter leaving a bit further away. Too late, she was just escaping in front of me! Why San Marino? Why all this money? Two calls later, I was already on my way to Rimini, the closest airport to the small republic. I found out San Marino was a well-known fiscal paradise. The only thing I was missing for my next mission was some hiking shoes to climb to the top of the 739m mountain.
Let's go shopping on my way to San Marino
My chauffeur drove dangerously crazy, honking abusively but was kind enough to stop next to a shoe store I had noticed on the side of the road. Since I have Egyptian feet (to the contrary of Greek) I had no troubles to find a beautiful pair. I boarded my jet with the hope to arrive before the lady thief in San Marino. This was wonderful trip to rest and relax a bit. Everything was so well organized, even the hostess was so charming.
Is Carmen hidding in the fortress of Mount Titan? Did you recognize her? I need to act fast before she escapes another time!
Flying at night is not a problem. However, get back to work in the early hours has never been my strong side. Quickly after having arrived in San Marino I immediately took the occasion to complete the collection of Euro coins for my little nephew. He was going to be a happy man, I tell you! Apart from this little break, I was there for much more serious matters... arrest the suspect. I decided to go directly to Mount Titan's fortress in hope to find evidence. It was a beautiful day. I arrived in a very remote village at the foot of a path where I could not see anybody around. There was only a car with a Slovenian number plate parked next to a small creek. The door was left open.
Only clever people could guess who this lady is!
International Arrest Warrant, not a joke
I looked inside the car and besides a dozen tennis magazines in the back seats there was nothing much else to find. I saw a small path going up into the forest and walked it up at a fast pace. I followed the yellow marks and quarter of an hour later I walked into a field of flowers. A shepherd was sitting on a rock a little bit further down. I greeted him and asked: "Buongiorno, avete visto cualcuno passare questa mattina?". Not surprised, he answered: "Si signore, una bionda, una bionda! Certamente inglese. Mi ha detto che sarà a Londra sta sera per studiare il suono del Big Ben! Gli ho risposto che non era la buona direzione. Ah Ah!". I could have thought about it before, my suspect has to be Annie Dazzle! A renowned blond English lady famous for horrendous crimes around the world which had special taste for luxury goods and good at tennis. It wasn't for nothing that she liked limousines. I turned on my laptop to confirm my suspicion. A click on 'Compute' and I knew I had it right. An international arrest warrant against her was opened. Not wanting to loose any precious time, I went back to my jet and left for London City Airport. My visit to San Marino was very short but productive.
007, my hero
If I had a parachute, I would have asked the pilot to drop me above river Thames, but I am not James Bond, you know. Don't misunderstand me, my cup-of-tea is more like the dolce vittà and far niente, but when business catches me up I am really capable of everything. Bond wouldn't even dare to say the contrary. I called him and he picked up the phone:
- Bond, James Bond.
- Hi James, this is SuperCobra. You've probably heard I managed to have an international arrest warrant this morning against Annie Dazzle. I was wondering if you were also on the 'affaire'?
- You know, you are cleverer than you look...
- Better than looking cleverer than you are! So, do you have any news to share?
- Prepare you trip to Peru. We have spotted Annie in a currency exchange shop near Leicester Square where she asked for Soles. We followed her in a Latin American grocery store where she bought some rum. The owner told us she wanted to study Spanish colonialism. She then managed to escape. The crowd was so dense that we lost track of her at Covent Garden. I don't know what she prepares but I believe you have to act fast.
- Thanks so much Bond, with a bit of luck I'll capture her in Lima!
- Watch out Cobra, she's dangerous. Please pass by at Q, he has new gadgets for you and a new watch, your twentieth I believe.
- Time goes really fast, you're as always a gentleman.
- My pleasure Cobra, bring us safely the maps of the pyramids back!
Dressed in red, Carmen should not go unnoticed!
I'm a small detective but I have my connections. It's something to know James Bond in person. That guy has 60 years of experience in the Secret Intelligent Services and he is still unbeatable. What a man! He gets all my recognition and honours.
Hello London and goodbye
So I took a black cab for Brompton Road. Work is one thing, I entirely agree. Leisure is another thing, and I enjoy it and will never make concessions about it. I also like Harrods and nobody ever stopped me from going there for some shopping. "Omnia Ubique Omnibus", doesn't that ring a bell to you? My purchases done and I was on my way for yet another monstrously long flight. I could only dream of being tele-transported to Lima. I felt really tired and felt asleep while drinking a delicious mocha in a Prêt-à-Manger... how did I then manage to get into Heathrow is still a mystery.
In Peru for business
I didn't know much about Peru, not even the national airlines name. I was there to arrest Annie Dazzle, nothing more, nothing less. I only had to be careful not to let her go her way and escape once more. This time I chose to stay determined and to set aside my little touristic breaks, though I secretly hoped I could visit the country as one should do. One of my dreams has always been to go to lake Titicaca, the largest and highest lake of Latin America located in the middle of the Andes at over 3800m altitude! This is must truly be an amazing place to visit, also knowing that you can navigate on it. Nevertheless I had to put this dream aside.
Upon my arrival I could hardly resist watching the people around me walking in their traditional clothes. The shops were marvelous to watch with plenty bright colours. Quickly work took it over. Peruvians are very kind people and through their hospitality I quickly learned that Annie was again playing cat and mice with me. Before I even finished drinking my infusion, I knew she was already on a plane to Istanbul. She was probably one of the biggest liars I had ever dealt with. None of what she said or claimed was sincere. Studying the Big Ben, bullshit. Learning about Spanish Colonialism, let me laugh. One thing she didn't know is that I would not leave her alone. She was an enduring person but I had no intention to let her win. I hurried up to get in time in Turkey to finally arrest her...
Why is Carmen always wearing a hat? Here she is on lake Titicaca.
In Istanbul, Annie is still on the run
24 hours later, I finally land in Atatürk airport. I had a good rest and back full of energy, especially after having seen 'The Fugitive' during the flight. Remember this amazing movie where the killer always manages to escape police, a bit as in Annie Dazzle's chase this week. I was really in a great mood, though I knew this was maybe not my final destination. First I went to Kapalı Çarşı, one of the largest covered bazaars in the world. A real labyrinth with over 66 small roads, 2500 stores and many many craftwork shops. It was the perfect place to hide but also a real Ali Baba cavern where you can find everything you want. To help me, I hired an interpret and a few local secret agents to accompany me. Thanks god because my Turkish is not yet that good. All the hints we collected pointed us to think that she would go to Colombo in Sri Lanka because she wanted to catch a Sea Snake and learn more about Veddag artifacts. She even tried to find a Tamil dictionary in a library!
Be warned, Carmen Sandiego (Annie Dazzle) is maybe stealing something the the Great Bazar of Istanbul!
While at the airport, I received a SMS: "Annie Dazzle registered on a flight to Kigali. She's trying to scramble the tracks. Don't go to Colombo". Discreetly I boarded the same plane as her. Rwandese police were informed and ready to put the shackles when she would land. My mission ended in the middle of the jungle, not really I place I would ever have chosen for my vacations. But since I had an almost unused pairs of walking shoes, I decided to spend a few days in the jungle to meet gorillas. An unforgettable experience. As I felt asleep under the stars I thought it would probably be a good idea to go home... to be ready for another adventure.
This time, no way to escape out from this jungle!
And Annie Dazzle in all this? She was of course captured and the pyramid maps where found in her luggage. She was emprisoned and extradited to Egypt where she was forced to general labour works in light to safeguard the Egyptian cultural inheritance. Three years later, she managed to escape again.
In your opinion, is Annie going to reoffend?
The track is over. I hope this long journey has kept you going. Did you like it? If you were Annie, what would you have done instead to escape me again? Do you want to read other fictions of this type on vosvacances? Do not hesitate to leave a comment below. I'm curious to see your reactions.
A short note on the context of this article. This one is inspired by a video game released in 1985 whose main character is Carmen Sandiego, an unusual burglar. My previous blog / website was about a microcomputer that accompanied me throughout my childhood, the MSX. In 2008, I decided to publish this fiction following the publication of the famous game "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" on MSX (portal made by SLotman). The script of the fiction strictly follows the trips made during one of my games playing. Everything else is obviously fictitious. Today I publish this article again by adding images of the places visited by Carmen (Annie) to give an additional humorous layer.
Final word on the game, see what I am referring about!
It's an old game, runs on a 64Kb MSX. I let you judge by the screenshots.
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