You are going to Singapore, they said. Yes, but which way? was the natural response. If I’m flying to the island-city, my flight should take in something with a more exotic range of scenery, perhaps even a sniff of nature. Birds and stuff. So the painter and I decided on Portugal: and why not throw in Spain? My own travels had never taken me further than Catalonia, which so determinedly is, and is not, Spain. Off, then, for the long flight west with good books and red wine; en route I looked down on Cairo for the first time in my life. The Ptolemaic map of lights spread out as though forever.