April 2007 archive

The Boy is back

I am finally back from Turkey. So much to report, so little time.

I have to say that my feelings towards Turkey are mixed at best: I really like the country, the food, the city of Istanbul and the ambience of it all, but I am having serious issues with a big part of the turkish population that I had to deal with. When I arrived, 2 seperate attempts to con me took place before I even got out of the airport, and then I spent a day escaping from the 58400572065879 pimps that surrounded my Hotel, who all spoke arabic. I felt like yelling and screaming" No, I don;t want Turkish girls, I don;t want hot russian girls, and my name is not Hajji". I ended up needing to take a girl with me everytime I walked out of the hotel because they wouldn't approach or harrass me if I had a girl with me. Imagine the ironic fruedian mindfuck of it all.

Also, amongst the things that did occur: an attempt by a friend to purchase hash for himself that turned horribly wrongand placed him and me in the clutches of turkish gangsters, which I managed to get out of with my money and ass intact; a weird foriegn lady living in the room next to me, who grabbed my ass and forced me to chnage rooms and floors; a number of cafes without menus specifically to cheat you out of money when the check comes, and a car accident on the way to the airport between our taxi and a truck which bruised my back and fucked up a friend's leg. And if that wasn;t enough, the secularists the day before I arrived did a huge demonstration to protest Adrogan's-turkey's islamist Prime Minister- presidential ambitions. The Islamists, sensing the secularists' fear, responded in the way expected from them, and slaughterd 3 turkish christians. To say things were tense in Turkey, well, that would've been an understatment!

But the food was good, the apple tea was good, the turkish coffee with pistachios were good, taking a cruise all along the Bosphorous was good, The haja Sophia and Sultan Ahmed were awesome. So all in all it was an ok trip!

Anyway, back to 270 unreplied e-mails, and this blog and a house that needs cleaning, and shitloads of laundry. Hmmph. Good thing I bought a lot of Alcohol Bottles coming in. Yay for Bacardi Reservoir Superior 8 anos rum. Hmmm….. 

Dispatches from Turkey

Ok, so I don't have any internet here, so this will be a brief dispatch from Funky Cairo..I mean Istanbul.

This place is insane. Within 2 houres of arriving, the driver that was supposed to pick me up didn't, the shuttle guy at the airport tried to con me into getting a  car for double the price, the cell phone guy tried to con me into buying a link that would've been more expensive than the Turkcell one by 80% and a pimp who spoke perfect arabic tried to sell me on his privately onwed hamam with, and I quote, the nicest russian women I have ever seen. Needless to say, this place is insane! No wonder I love it.

 Pictures and stories will come later. They have the funkiest food. They have a desert called chicken pudding, which is pudding with chicken in it. They sell turkishcoffer grounded with pestachio, They have 10 flavors for tea, apple tea being my favorite so far. And the people I am with are excellent. And I am , again, getting confirmed that this is a messed up region. Who knew that the assyrians were opressed in Syria? Crazy world!

But for now, I am ok, and I miss blogging. Damn you Hotel! 

Untill then… 

A matter of perspective

Something has been bothering me of late, and you, dear reader, can help put my mind to rest regarding it.

As you all know, I never really think before posting anything about Egypt. My posts are usually emotionally charged and reflect my anger or disdain or cyncisim towards what Egypt has become over the past two years. I used to get attacked by people who accuse me of tarnishing Egypt's reputation, which I always thought to be bullcrap, because 1) Unless to expose our problems we will never truly confront them or try to solve them, and 2) what I write about what's going on in Egypt isn;t any different than what many arabic prominent blogger writes, Wael Abbas for example. The difference is, I am told, that Wael writes for egyptians and arabs, while my audience is a bit more, ehh, ecclectic. I always thought this line of reasoning- that we have to hide our problems from the west- was bullshit, and still do till this day. However..

Ok, so a couple of days ago I was sitting with a friend and reflecting on the last refrendum election, and how we have videos of forgery. VIDEOS. And they were broadcasted on TV, and everybody had seen them, and yet nothing freakin happend. The people were not botherd at all, while a similar thing in any other country would've probably brought the entire government down. The thing is, I told him, we are used to this shit by now. When we get shocked, it is not because of the act, it's about how brazen it gets carried out now. We always knew there was torture in egyptian police stations, but we never expected them to be so brazen to videotape it and share it with friends; we always knew there was sexual ahrassment of women, we never envisioned a mass sexual assault during the first day of eid of all times. We always knew they were stopping cetrian people from entering voting polls, but we never expected to see them get shot at by the police. We always knew there was poll rigging, but we never thought they would videotape it and show it to the world. All of this crap, we expect it, because this is Egypt. Things that horrify any foriegner from any self-respecting country wouldn't raise the eyebrow of the average egyptian. We are used to this. Heyah dih masr ya abla!

The thing that bothres me now, is this: How does the average foreigner, who never been to Egypt, knew nothing about it aside it being the land of the Pyramids, and who only got his image of Egypt from reading this blog, well, view Egypt now? I mean, I have been blogging for almost 2 and a half years now, and some of the people who started reading me back then continue to read me today. My question for you is: How do you, based on my writing and those like me in the egyptian blogsphere, view Egypt? 

Please let me know! 

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