【明報專訊】I was working as a freelance gardener when a neighbour's friend needed Christmas help at his bookshop in downtown Monterey. The shop was called The Poor Scholar, and it was in a small adobe building around the corner from the Monterey Post Office. The old boy who owned the shop was an interesting character, a stuffed shirt whose primary interest, apart from selling books, was Egypt and Egyptology. His name was Jim Hall, and Crown Press had published his book on the subject. He could chat for hours about the twenty-six Dynasties and the kings and queens associated with each of them. There were times when we weren't busy, and during those times I learned. Quite an education.