Wednesday, March 26, 1997

U.S.A., Georgia, Atlanta

As I was walking down the street from the Public Library, which doesn’t open until 10 a.m. and it’s not yet 9 a.m., I saw a Dunkin’ Donuts shop, the second I’d seen here in Atlanta since I got off the Greyhound bus as about 7 this morning, and so I marvelled at how nice it was to be in a city with doughnut shops and not bagel shops. And then as I came to the front door of the Dunkin’ Donuts, I saw the enormous poster proclaiming: “New – Fresh Baked Bagels.”

Monday, March 24, 1997

U.S.A., Tennessee, Nashville

Got up early. Accepted a bowl of oatmeal. Said goodbye. Picked up and went walking down the road. Feet hurt bad. Kendall County peace officer pulled over and talked to me. Asked me where I was going. I said, “This way.” Then asked me where I had come from. Said, “That way.” But was no problem. Got picked up by Danny, the son of the old guy, Ulysses. He gave me a ride to Chattanooga. Very affable guy. Very nice being in a car, on the road. Dropped me off in Chattanooga – he was on his way home to Alabama. It was late. Unsettling neighborhood. Called for a cab from a grocery store to the Greyhound bus station. The bus boarded 5 minutes after I got to the depot. Got to Nashville, took a cab from the depot to Vanderbilt University. Nice cab driver. Immigrated to the U.S. in 1993. Had spent 1990-1993 in Kenya as a refugee from Somalia, his home. Was planning to get an education here, then go back home. At Vandy, tracked down Dan. Slept on the floor.

Sunday, March 23, 1997

U.S.A., Kentucky

Wasted the day. Tried to sleep some, read some. Cold. Shivering a lot. Didn’t leave the tent all day. Late in the afternoon, an old man came by. Talked to him for just a bit. Was wondering if someone was hurt or whatnot. He lived in the house just across the road, the house that I had purposely set up in front of, because it was the most well-kept property in the holler. Not long after he left, a peace officer talked to me. Someone had complained. He was a town cop from a town “not far” away. He told me that, officially, I needed a permit to camp in the park, but that they were just gonna let it go. Later, in the early evening, I went up to the old guy’s house. I pounded on the door several times. Could see people moving in there – no answer. Then a car drove in. Started talking to the guy – he was the son of the old man. So went in with him and chatted until early in the morning. He let me sleep inside. It had gotten down to freezing the night before.

Saturday, March 22, 1997

U.S.A., Kentucky

Slept until 2 in the afternoon, shivering. Mildly cold. Woke up, read some of After the USSR. At about 5, pulled up and went walking again, still south on 177. Was getting dark and cold. Found a park by the river. In a holler. Set up my tent. Tried to sleep the night – really couldn’t. Got real cold – it was bad. Had no sleeping bag or blankets – put on every piece of clothing I had. Was bad.

Friday, March 21, 1997

U.S.A., Kentucky

Hit Cincinnati late at night. Anna dropped me off and I took off walking south. Was a warm night. Feet starting hurting quickly. Finally got out of there on Hwy 177, south into Kentucky. Set up camp in an empty field just as the day was dawning.