The trip across the ocean was the most amazing thing Liza ever experienced. She loved watching the ship's crew, and she was especially intrigued by all of the different kinds of people who were sharing this experience with her. And of course, she loved the ocean. Liza had never been very far from the ocean. She couldn't imagine what it would be like in Tibet where she would have to travel for days before she could see her beloved ocean again.
"The wind that lives upon the ocean also lives upon the peaks of the highest mountains." Liza started, and spun around to try to find the source of the voice. It was a small, hoarse voice, almost indistinguishable from the sound of the wind passing across the deck where she stood. She saw the hunched over form of an old man wearing frayed robes as he hurried away from her, disappearing into the crowd.
She thought she saw the old man several times on the train as they journeyed through India on their way to Tibet. Each time, she barely caught a glimpse of him before he disappeared. She thought it seemed as though he wanted her to know that he was there, even though he apparently didn't want to talk with her. Liza tried to tell her father about it, but when the words came out, they sounded like nonsense, even to her. She gave up on it. Wonders were piling up, one on top of another, in her growing reservoir of experiences. She would wait to deal with this one until she could not do otherwise.
That opportunity arose as Liza and her father disembarked the train at their destination in Tibet. They stood together on the platform, breathing in the strange smells, and trying to make sense of the strange sounds. Although they didn't realize it, they were taking in the feel of the place. In a simultaneous maneuver, Liza's heart began to race, and her gut tightened into a knot. And then he was there. The wizened little old man with the one good (but wayward) eye. "I can help you," he said. "Things are not always as they seem, but I can help you find the way that lies between the illusions. Come with me."
And with those words, their journey had begun.