When the news broke that Ryan Lochte’s story didn’t hold up under (minimal) scrutiny, I, like everyone else, waited to hear what Lochte and the three other US swimmers (Gennar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen) were covering up. It is the way of the world to tell an outrageous lie to hide a minimal transgression. In Lochte’s case, the real story was that he and the other swimmers had been out late partying, and then kicked open and broke a bathroom door at a gas station, and urinated in public. The incident should have been resolved when Lochte and the swimmers agreed to compensate that gas station for the property damage, except Lochte told his mother that they had been robbed at gunpoint. From there it became an international incident.
I recently returned from my first visit to Morocco, specifically the city of Marrakech. One interesting aspect of traveling in the third world is how I can’t separate my past from the experience. This is always the case. For example, I experience France as an American and my thoughts are colored by my personal history. However, France feels familiar enough that I can almost forget that I’m experiencing something very foreign. In Marrakech, the feeling of being other is overwhelming.