Chapter One
1
Arrival


"Ladies and gentlemen, we shall shortly be arriving at Grasic airport. Please fasten your seat belts. Pleas ensure that your tray table is stowed, and your seat back is in the upright position. Please extinguish all cigarettes, and refrain from smoking until you are inside the terminal building."
I looked with interest at the Loglandian airport. Jumbo jets from many nations were landing and taking off on the broad runways.
On the other side of the airŪeld I could see the Loglandian Air Force, which consisted of a few old, propellor driven SpitŪre Ūghters and Mosquito bombers. The Loglandian Airforce is needed only to discourage raids by rebel tribesmen up in the Lojbandian mountains. A helicopter hovered near the control tower.
The aircraft came to a stop, and the jetway was swung into place. I retrieved my bag and my notebook computer from the overhead locker and followed my fellow passengers down the aisle. With a smile the pretty Loglandian stewardess wished me a happy stay.
“What is the purpose of your visit?” asked the immigration ofŪcial in his smart green uniform.
“I am a student of Loglan at the Loglan Institute in San Diego. I now want to learn Loglan and Loglan culture in your capital,” I said.
He stamped my passport with the usual friendly wishes and I wheeled my bag on a trolley through to the customs hall.
“Anything to declare?” asked the Loglan customs ofŪcial.
“Only a notebook computer. I need it for my Loglan studies.”
The ofŪcial made a blue chalk mark on my computer and smiled.
“Enjoy your stay.”
In front of the terminal building I found the bus stop. There was a board announcing, “Today Loglanders celebrate the birthday of Brown. No buses are running to the city. Enjoy your stay.”
I said to myself, “Dammit.” I could see a lot of people standing in line for taxis. Suddenly I heard a voice behind me.
“Hey, Traveller, are you going to the city?”
I turned round and saw a pedicab, driven by a beautiful blonde.
Pedicabs are very popular in Loglandia. The young Loglanders don’t go to health clubs; instead they volunteer as pedicab drivers. In this way they improve their health, and transport causes less pollution. The handlebars of the pedicabs are set low, so many Loglanders jokingly refer to them as ‘bottom-viewers’.
“Yes please. I’m going to the MacIvor Arms Hotel,” I said. I climbed aboard the pedicab.
“My name’s Sally. What’s your name? Where do you come from? You’ve got a funny accent,” said the pedicab driver.
“I come from France. My name is Alex. It’s difŪcult to learn Loglan pronunciation, because very few people outside Loglandia speak it,” I replied.
“It doesn’t matter. Anyway your Loglan accent is cute,” said Sally, and she started to pedal. Soon we were moving quickly along the special pedicab lane.
I very much enjoyed the ‘bottom-view’, and Sally pointed out the interesting sights along the road. When the road began to slope uphill, Sally grabbed hold of a moving rope that ran on wheels at the side of the road. She Ūxed the rope to the pedicab, so that it pulled it along and she didn’t have to pedal. She turned round to me and started to tell me lots of things about life in Loglandia.
“You know today is Founder’s Day, don’t you,” said Sally. “In the evening there is a great Ūrework display near the river. I like to go up to the castle on Whorf Peak to watch the Ūreworks. We all have a big party there. If you like, you can come with me. That way you’ll meet a lot of logli friends, I’m sure. Founder’s Day is the birthday of Brown. Do you know about Brown?”
“I’m not unaware of him. I’m studying at the Loglan Institute,” I said.
Soon we arrived at the city. Sally drove expertly through the trafŪc to the hotel.
The MacIvor Arms Hotel, a large, ornate baroque building, has many domes and spires and a huge stained glass window that looks out on the river and onto an elegant bridge. The pedicab stopped in front of the hotel, and Sally said, “I’ll see you this evening. Enjoy your stay.”