A Hologram for the King Chapter 18
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- It's getting pretty nihilistic up in here. Alan and the crew head back to Jeddah after another meaningless day of waiting in the desert.
- He wanders around the hotel for a while, not really sure how to kill time (remember, there are no bars in Saudi Arabian hotels).
- So of course he heads back to his room to drink up Hanne's moonshine and maybe take another stab at writing a letter to his daughter.
- He wants to tell her that everything will be alright. He especially wants to tell her that he slayed in Saudi Arabia and she can go right back to college.
- But all of these things are lies, which just makes his attempt at letter writing quite sad.
- This leads him down a sharp shame spiral: If only he'd saved more, invested better, not made so many stupid decisions…
- We learn that Alan had tried to build his own bike and market it. It had been a disaster.
- The problem wasn't the prototype of the bike. It had been beautifully designed. The problem? People like Alan had made American manufacturing obsolete.
- And Alan's father had no problem rubbing salt in the wound. He already had a lot of contempt for his son's role in the offshoring of manufacturing.
- Alan also couldn't get financing for his project because he'd had a teensy hiccup with his credit. A misunderstanding with a store credit card had destroyed his credit score.
- He couldn't resolve this credit problem because 'bots rule the world. After that, he couldn't qualify for a legit bank loan.
- At this point, Alan's pretty hammered in his hotel room. And that's when Hanne calls to invite him to a party at the Danish embassy.
- She promises him that his drunkenness will be an asset at this gathering.