Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Short holidays in a country rarely encompass much of an all-rounded experience of life there. So, I consider my living in Egypt for 15 months as providing me with a comprehensive set of experiences you cannot come across on a 2 week or even 3 month stay. Add to that comprehensive list this month: getting sick and having to go to hospital.
Forced to leave work early because of the immensity of the pain I was going through, I headed straight for the Emergency Room at Al-Salam Hospital (don’t worry, the situation wasn’t all that bad). There, the doctor saw me within 5 minutes of my arrival, gave me a bed, and put me on an IV drip to relieve me of my pain. For me, the event was epic; I cant remember ever having an IV drip being inserted in me (except of course, age 8 when I was put under total anesthesia for the simple procedure of removing two teeth — yes, full anesthesia — the idea of getting my teeth pulled out frightens me to no end). And really, I have discovered that the IV drip is a miraculous thing. Apparently, its purpose was to just wash out my organs and remove the toxins that were making me see stars and double up in pain. And it worked! Why don’t women have these things installed in their bedrooms during that time of the month?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sokhna's got me izzmiling, (izzmiling)!

Thursday 6pm after work. Wondering what to do over the weekend. It's my last weekend before the magazine goes into production, and obviously, I would like to make the most of it. Mohammed Ali club for a day by the pool? Dinner at a restaurant by the Nile? I made a booking for that evening at Sequoia, so that was an option.

And then Fawzy calls and asks us if we want to go to Ain Sokhna for the weekend. Fawzy's family have a villa up there, and would we like to go spend 2 nights there, frolicking in the Red Sea?


Cancel all plans for the weekend, and an hour later, we're in Fawzy's lovely jeep cruising down to Sokhna, which is a mere hour away from Cairo. Spend two nights there, lazying around, watching Satellite televison until 4am, eating KFC, sleeping in, wading around in the compound pool, and swimming in the BEAUTIFULLY warm waters of the Red Sea [which btw, is swarming with wildlife, we spotted a gazillion starfish, sand dollars and sea urchins without even venturing beyond knee deep water, and one of my friends also got stung by a sea urchin's needles, and had to be taken to hospital to get them razor-bladed out, a story for another time.....].

Egypt can drive you crazy, especially living in Cairo, and the frustrations can build up until breaking point. But only in Egypt can you also go on super-spontaneous weekend getaways on the Red Sea and forget you ever had to live in that dusty ole city named Cairo...

Theme song for trip: "What can I do my baby? For Joying (for joying), for dancing (for dancing), for szmiling(izzmiling!) Izzmiling (izzmiling!) Izzmiling (izzmiling!)"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Back from London yesterday. 10 days of epic eating, shit weather and one mini trip to Manchester. Two chance encounters with two of the most cherished people in my life when I least expected it. Kashfi was flying Dhaka-Paris-Toronto, and made a quick detour through London to see me. My lovely girl and I spent my first 2 days there together, before she jetted off to gay Pareee to catch her flight. On my last day, I managed to catch Minal who'd only flown in the day before from Mauritius, gave her a 2 minute hug before saying bye once again. Was pissed off that I didnt get to take any of my favourite walks through Central like I used to back in the day, but nevertheless came to a reality-biting type of realisation that when you lead a nomadic existence like mine, very very few people in the world end up really mattering to you. I envisioned a big hungama of meeting tons of friends and catching up, but really, after a day or two, I realised I didn't really care. That small handful of people you cherish the most are the ones you end up seeing on any short trip, on every trip, year after year.