In The Knight of Cups, Rick is a kid who loves stories. That’s why his father reads a lot, including one that Rick loves and speaks of the Eastern world, a distant and exotic world.
In that story a king sends his son to Egypt, in order to find a valuable pearl and take it back with him. The prince comes to town and there they offer him a cup, possibly tea.
The prince drinks her and suddenly forgets who he is, what he has gone to do to Egypt and falls asleep in a very deep sleep, which may take a long time to wake up.
It’s been many years since Rick listened to his father’s tale, but now he is a grown-up who remembers the story and without knowing how, his footsteps are headed to that distant and exotic East of the tales.