You can read part 12 here.

Dedication of this chapter goes out to the SOFREP family’s favorite, Mr. Yankee Papa!

Mission notes

I was intentionally up early the next morning to set out and do a bit of clothes shopping before I caught my train to Mechan. I stepped out onto the damp cobblestone alley into the barely lit day. There wasn’t a thing to be heard save the distant call to prayer. That’s just the way I wanted it as I headed through some alleys of residential Tangar.

I pressed my way through a gap in the corner of a stone wall and presented myself to some laundry hanging just ahead and rocking in the morning breeze. I quietly plucked a djellaba (GELL-la-ba) from the line, rolling it quickly and tucking it under my arm I skated away… like a rat!

A typical djellaba

A djellaba was a unisex robe that is customary wear by most everyone in this country. I wanted to look like the rest of the Romans in this place, at least from the standpoint of a cursory inspection. I fancied the day before that I might need a lid to top off my homeboy garb. With that understanding, an unattended fez from the hotel made its way into my bag and bolted…like a rat!

WWII German soldiers wearing the traditional fez headgear.

Slipping a final time into my hotel room I affected a final change of clothes into my newly acquired wearing apparel. I assessed that my American jeans and polo shirt were still clean enough as I rolled them up and seated them in my pack. I looked at my high-end hiking footwear and wondered if I shouldn’t get some ‘Roman sandals’ as they say in songs about being from Oklahoma.

Hell no; sandals don’t get along with walking long distances, so I would just have to continue styling in my Salomon trail blazers. As I passed the front room clerk behind the podium I reached for the bill of my hat to tip to the clerk, not thinking that a fez has no bill. The clerk looked at me in my local garb almost in horror. That didn’t look good; maybe this wasn’t a great idea.