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Showing posts from February, 2011

To Amman by plane

I do not leave the same way I came.... By boat, I arrived to Nweiba 27 days ago; a Bedouin named Farraj took me Southward, to the city of Gold. Today I leave the city heading to Sharm Al Sheikh - also southbound, but this time, it's to board a plane. The cab driver is Egyptian, I do not know his name. I was supposed to leave two days ago, but "the fast boat Maritime is not running anymore" said the unfriendly man behind the counter at the Nuweiba port. Great! I hopped back on the bike, wrapped my arms around Apollo and headed back home to Assala, with a smile on my face. "اجت منهم مش مني" but knowing I have to be back sooner or later, I booked a flight for the next day. The next morning, while brushing my teeth before heading out the door, I got a call: "The flight to Amman has been cancelled, not enough people to operate a plane." Toothpaste dripped down my chin. I did not smile, I laughed out loud, "You'd think I'm not meant to leave t

Sinai's Aphrodite

The news recedes into the background I've been sitting with my back to the Sea The moon has snuck up on me A day and it will be complete signaling return from Sinai by Sea. The tide is low I step onto the rocks and reef I walk on water The sea foam carries the moans of Aphrodite Making love til dawn she is still climaxing. FTS

A carpenter named Mahmood

"The Brotherhood won't rule Egypt," he says, "The Coptics were already here when the Muslims came, there are Christians and Churches, ma yinfa3sh ... The next leadership will come from the youth." He is a carpenter from al-Mansoura . His wife is from Marg in Cairo. They live in Assala, a sha3bi neighborhood, poor and under-serviced. Assala: Unpaved roads, no side walks, open manholes; houses with tin roofs held down by junk: tables, strollers, chairs and rocks. All houses seem to have satellite dishes, except for one. Its roof is made of pressed sugar cane mixed in with paper, and rolled out into sheets. The early winter rain has left the roof sagging, with moss for decoration. In Assala, many people leave their doors open; sitting on their sills, they are on the road. Children play barefoot on the streets, and the goats chew on flowers and litter. On the way to the carpenter's house, we pass a corner store. It is a window, opening into a room of a ho

Fire in Al-Areesh

At the Ghazala I eat Tiramisu for breakfast and drink a Nescafe Gold, with a drop of milk. It is early afternoon, the sun is up and the Sea is exceptionally blue. Last night, in the city of Areesh-Northern Sinai, clashes erupted between masked locals and the police. The news on the net is inconsistent in regards to the numbers of killed and injured. I get my news first hand, from my friend Al-Arabi , who comes from that city. He works here. "Ten people were killed, and 35 injured, when members of Al-fawakhiriyah attempted to free members of their tribe held in Egyptian prisons. Al-fawakhiriyah sought help from their armed Bedouin brethren. The police abandoned their station, and the prisoners were freed" Guns were fired in the evening, celebrating the departure of a dictator and the return of loved ones." Early this morning, another police station was attacked in Al-Areesh . This time, the police knew about the attack beforehand and fled the scene. The station was set

Mubarak & AbdulRahman

Una giornata pigra ... I spent the daylight hours indoors, with the door open, looking upon a tiny garden. A bougainville rises above the uneven brick wall, its pink flowers cover the threshold The sun is up. The wind is gentle. Souad Massi plays in the background. I sit on the floor. Last night, I cleaned my ears, using a cone made out of bandage, fastened with honey. I placed the tip of the cone inside my ear with my head horizontal on a pillow, lit the cone from the other side and let it burn. The dirt in my ears coagulated inside the lining. It was disgusting. This morning, I could hear the birds clearer, but the sound of noise and roosters has drifted into the background like a soft hum. Selective hearing at its prime. Today, Mubarak stepped down from his throne. Today was also a AbdulRahman's birthday, he turned five. Yesterday, I promised his seven year old sister that I will celebrate the day with them, but today is here and they are not. Their father shipped them off, w

On land and under water

I sit with the boys at the SeaView, We roll smokes and listen to music. We drink sweet tea with sage in small cups. We play cards at times, joke and talk. We get tangled between our three languages. With only .5% of us fluent in two of those languages simultaneously, we manage to communicate. The boys feel like my younger brothers, simple and sweet. And we all have a common love, the Sea. The Sea .... it was calm like a sheet a few hours ago, but as soon as darkness dispelled the last traces of light, the wind blew heavily. The tide is now high. From 7 knots at five, to 28 at eight. The South-Eastern winds have changed direction and are now coming from the North. The Northern wings toss a Specials chalk-board across the street. There is no one there. No alarm by the flying wood. Dahab feels deserted these days. I like it this way. There is probably no more than a dozen tourists. It's mainly just the people who live here-who are here right now. Several scuba centers and hotels are

From the Southern Sinai : من جنوب سيناء

Uncanny timing, as usual: I arrived in Egypt via Nwaiba' on the maritime on the 28th of January, 2011. Riots had already begun a few days earlier, but they didn't seem too threatening, so I proceeded with my travel plans. I was met at the seaport by the Bedouin who gave me a ride last time I was here. We bargained his fee, and off we headed to Dahab, a city name 'gold'. As soon as I arrived to the Ghazalla hotel, I was told that the Internet was down in all of Egypt. Social media networks had been cut off for a couple of days, but I knew that already. Within 24 hours of arriving to Sinai, the riots started intensifying. Aljazeera was blocked on satellite TV. The riots spread to Alexandria, and Aswan. Some even say turbulence happened as far as Sa'eed a few days later. Mubarak was MIA for several days, then gave a speech that the whole world must have witnessed. He did not say anything enlightening. I only got a part of his speech, late night at store in a shanty a