You wake up one day, stretch out, open your eyes and see around you the furniture and fixtures of your old bedroom as a child. Most of us would just wait to really wake up, and enjoy the dream in the meanwhile. Others would blame the government. Others yet would be looking around for the device that brought them back in time, sure to be able to find it, somewhere between the sheets and the bedpost, left there by a careless travel guide who will shortly manifest. If you are one belonging to the latter group, welcome! You are not alone. Search for the others . . .
I started time traveling at the age of eight. My first trip started in my own sleepy town in the heart of Sardinia one late afternoon in the early seventies and took me to the tropical seas of central America, to the town of Maracaibo, in the late thirteen century. I found myself a stowaway on a not so large but heavily weaponized frigate, just as it was pulling into port, its motley crew eager for a few days of rest and celebration, drinking and feasting. The pearl of the Venezuelan coast was a splendid sight from the calm waters of the large natural harbor, a rich and mellow Spanish beauty at the height of its power, its garrison thousands strong and its bronze cannons shining from the parapets of the un-assailable fortress.
I watched in awe the shenanigans of the crew on board as the men made plans on the proper use of the gold and silver they expected to win in their card games or cock fights, their eyes twinkling with excitement at the prospect of the massive amount of wine to be drunk.
I was but a little boy, inexperienced of the ways of the sea, but I could tell from their scarred faces and multicolored but uniformly filthy clothes that this was not a military ship or a commercial vessel, but one that flew a dark flag, which the first officer stowed away in a small box as the ship approached the bay.