The bombing campaign that would become “Shock & Awe” and launch the invasion of Iraq started before 3am London time the day of this post. Not that the exact date was predictable, but there had been sabre-rattling for weeks beforehand. It was at least foreseeable that a major regional conflict of arms would spring up. The first Gulf War produced much hand-wringing about commercial air traffic, but, I suppose that, given how “boring” that conflict eventually was (memories circa 1991 of sneaking into the video room on the estate night after night and watching it unfold; playing with the remote to my father’s satellite dishes and watching strange, foreign programming into the wee hours with no one around), the Invasion of Iraq didn’t seem to worry people the same way. The flight delays and cancellations I fretted over never materialised.
Perhaps I’m being paranoid but I hadn’t anticipated the potential shutdown of international air traffic because of Gulf War II: The Sequel. This could actually cause me a bit of a problem as I’m not in a place I really want to be stuck in for too much longer. This was supposed to be a waypoint, not a destination. It’s not a critical thing, but I am upset with myself for not thinking it through better.
I also need to identify a new money manager, or perhaps a few, and I’m not going to do that in this country. Suddenly, I’m very anxious to get out of here. I can’t both manage my own finances and run at the same time- not effectively in any event. I need a trustworthy and discrete money manager to help me. This, I am quite a bit more worried about. I left with quite a bit of capital- I never would have considered departing if I didn’t think I could survive for a long, long time comfortably without any income.
I still had the tale of Robert Vesco in my head when I wrote this. In 1973, facing securities fraud charges, Vesco supposedly took the corporate jet and absconded to Costa Rica with $200 million in pilfered funds (the reality was much blander and might not even have been criminal). He spent some time bouncing from one island to another finally ending up in Cuba. As told to me, the cautionary tale went: once he ran out of money to pay his hosts, they tossed him and his wife in a Cuban prison. The message: You better have a lot of capital if you plan to be an international fugitive for any length of time.
Flight isn’t itself a difficult thing, I have found- or not all that difficult- but getting caught out without capital, without liquidity, that would make my trip short indeed.
I also worry that all this focus on terrorism and money laundering might make it hard for me to move my own resources around without undue attention. The fact that I’ve committed no crime (aside from maybe using false identification and changing my name for travel purposes) is probably not going to be a useful distinction if my father gets really determined.
This turned out to be spot on, as it happened.
I have no illusions that if he thought it would draw me back he would find it convenient to accuse me of any manner of infraction and co-opt international law enforcement to search for me.
I feel isolated today. I worry after what is going on at home. I have no reconnaissance, no intelligence source back home. It feels badly blinding. I have no way to know what measures might have been undertaken already to come after me. No way to respond. With the world at war again (that sounds a bit melodramatic, no?) I am a bit homesick. I remember sitting in my father’s office during the first Gulf War while a steady stream of aides came in and out giving him updates. I always thought it wonderfully exotic that aides would come and lean over and whisper important and secret tidbits into his ear- even while his expression remained unchanged.
I wrote this as a dream in this entry, but, in fact, something very like it happened to me the night I left. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to colour it this way. Maybe revealing the reality of it was just too personal, too close to home.
I dreamed about him last night. In the dream he was looking at me from across the dinner table and an aide walked in and leaned down to whisper in his ear- just like that and he knew, just knew what I was planning. I had to cancel it all, in my dream, even just to prove him wrong. No, father. I’m not doing anything. For once you were wrong.
I’ve also decided I’m going to have to alter some of the timings and locations I describe in here, to make sure I’m not leaving any important intelligence.
I’m going to buy a ticket tomorrow and head to my next waypoint if I can.