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100 camels in the courtyard

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

“welcome to egypt.” “where you from?” these are the questions posed to me day in and day out roughly 100 times a day here in egypt. occasionally, i become so exasperated by these annoyances (and others such as “you have beautiful smile. can i just talk to you for 2 minutes? just please 2 minutes!”) that i am beginning to make things up just to amuse myself and make things interesting (“i’m from egypt, can’t you tell?”) but mostly it just bugs the sh#t outta me dealing with these aggressive dudes. once in awhile i come across someone genuinely nice and quiet and will have meaningful conversations with that person. i have met such a person here in dahab, on the southern end of the sinai peninsula. this guy walid runs the restaurant across from the hotel where i’m staying and has shown me much kindness and generosity (discounts on food and drink, free drinks, complimentary sheesha pipes breaks, lifts in his 4WD car to the nicest beach, etc.). the conversations have been interesting and he’s taught me a bit about egyptian culture which is, of course, fascinating to the uneducated. he also taught me how to write my name in arabic! if i could do so here i would share this with you people, but i don’t think i can on this keyboard.  [read on]

this is england

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

early june: arrived @ london heathrow. afternoon. am happily communicating with the people in the same language i learned as a small child. two weeks of asking for things in english, being responded to in english, and actually getting what i asked for was sheer bliss.

i have a lot of good friends in england and in scotland. i made a few more good friends in the short time i was there. i will not soon forget any of them. the kindness flowed like a fine single malt scotch and i drank it up in spades. i was surrounded by record collections vast and impressive at the homes i visited (except at jonnie’s parents’ house in norwich). needless to say much of the conversations i had with these fine folks was centered on music: always a favorite topic of mine, as those of you who know me know very well.

first stop brighton. the weather was perfect on the first day and rained on the 2nd. i found the alley where the mod guy and girl, in a brief escape from the mods vs. rockers riot, shagged up against the wall in that movie Quadrophenia (quintessential mod flick from some 25 years ago). although the scene wasn’t the most poignant of love scenes ever created on film, it seems a fitting locale considering the characters were sleeping under bridges and on the beach and thus had no access to private domains for such rendezvous. ahem, anyways, so that was fun. my hosts in brighton, martin & lina, were nothing short of gracious and lovely. i hope to repay the kindness someday.

lobster playing grab-ass, brighton beach, june 2008

next stop: london. my hosts there, jo and matt, were also most kind and fun to hang with. they live in swanky notting hill. the visit started out well at an afternoon DJ gig matt was doing between bands at the Macbeth that went on late into the evening. many drinks were consumed. good to catch up with my peeps across the pond.

next stop: essex. specifically, bumbles green, nazeing (what a name, eh? wow! doesn’t get much more english than that!). helen came to collect me at tottenham hale and we drove down to essex to where she lives with her folks. they have a lovely country home with some horses in a field next door and lots of clean air. it pretty much drizzled the whole time. we walked around some woods and gabbed and had a nice visit. helen has traveled a lot on her own all over the world and so proved a valuable source of information for me as she has visited many of the places i’m visiting. i hope to have as good adventures as she’s had on hers. poor helen didn’t sleep the night i was there and so couldn’t really hang out the next day. got the train back to london, back to matt and jo’s, and hung out there for a day or so until it was time to catch a train northeast. met up with sonja, the friend i’d made in koh tao, for a drink and a bite. was good to catch up with her too and we swapped stories about thailand and she very nearly arranged for me to appear (vocally if not physically) on Big Brother. i was meant to call in and be interviewed about Big Brother. as it turns out, i was not needed. shame that my fifteen minutes of fame were so short lived – non-existent, actually.
[read on]

thaıland fever, the mıddle east, turkey and greece

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
it was a sad day the other day...ı left koh tao on may 18 on the 9:30 am boat to koh samuı where ı caught the plane to bangkok ınternatıonal aırport. the samuı aırport ıs small and nıce not unlıke ... [Continue reading this entry]