Von Igelfeld is quite pleased with his role as a visiting scholar at Cambridge, even if his English colleagues can be difficult to comprehend. They frequently speak in metaphors and make peculiar assumptions, saying such odd things as "I take it your journey went well," when that is not the case at all. But von Igelfeld settles in the best he can, and is soon deeply embroiled in some shady political scheming at the university. After returning to the comfort of his perfectly rational Germany, von Igelfeld is invited to Colombia for a special fellowship. But while there, he gets caught up in some decidedly unscupulous behavior.