No Speak Engrish

The navigator’s gangsta rap collection starts repeating along I-89 on the way to Utah.

A request from the back seat: “Maybe we can try the radio?”

For the next fifteen minutes we survey the satellite channels — our first break from hip-hop in three days of driving. For a few tantalizing seconds, I hear Jimmy Rushing singing with Count Basie (“Ha ha, that’s 張’s music”) and then it’s gone. 

With the dial set to channel 50, the navigator pauses to check his phone, and I get to listen to Don Covay’s “See Saw” for a verse and a chorus — until the driver wises up and changes the channel.

But it’s enough. I can remember the bridge, and I listen to it in my head.


Don Covay, “See Saw” (1965)
Atlantic 2301 

The tour of Upper Antelope Canyon is a cross between an elementary school fire drill and a sandstone edition of Where’s Waldo? Every few yards, our guide stops to point out a new image lurking somewhere in the canyon walls.

"If you stand here in the light, it looks like the Batman signal," he says. 

"Batman! Where?" someone yells, and the line crushes forward.

"And if you step over here, right by this corner, you can kind of see a butterfly."

"Butterfly! Where is it? I don’t see it! Show me where’s the butterfly!"

I’m at the back of the line, so I miss out on most of the little epiphanies up ahead. I figure I’ll find my own set of Waldos if I have to.

We go to Horseshoe Bend afterwards to chase after another sunset. The cliff drops off almost straight down to the water, and I can’t get myself to stand within five feet of the edge — so I never get the full view of the river that my friends can see. 

"Group photo!" one of them shouts.

From where you’re standing? Uh, not unless you’re gonna bolt my shoes to the rock.

The sun finally sets and we head back to the car. One more place to hit today.

"Ice cream, right?"