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babaganoush and baksheesh

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

yeah, i know, it’s been ages since i have updated Ye Olde Blogge. i’ve got a slew of new stories and tales of mad adventures in the arab world since my last post. i do not, however, have the time or energy at the moment to write. see, i’ve got a nasty head cold at the moment which i’ve had for over a week now and all i want to do is sleep and sleep and sleep…let me just say, though, that i have, sad and emotionally drained, left my humble family dwelling in cairo. i spent 8 days there after splitting dahab. i was in dahab for nearly 3 weeks. while dahab was chilled out and relaxing cairo was the polar opposite. mayhem, chaos and MORE. i loved it though and will return again as soon as possible. my special egyptian friend hassan gave me lots of useful arabic (arabian, according to locals) words and phrases to practice for when i come back.

yesterday, 23 july, i landed in cape town, south africa after a 7 hour flight from cairo to johannesburg, then a 2 hour flight from jo’burg to cape town. thanks to martin’s friend percy in hermanus, i have arranged to take several tours (i know, i know, backpackers don’t DO tours, but i just couldn’t resist these options). get this: cheetah petting! shark cage diving! wine tasting in stellenbosch! oh yeah, baby. south africa’s going to RULE.

am shacked up at the ashanti lodge (hostel) in cape town, just off the main backpacker area of long street which is, as percy puts it, cape town’s version of khao san road in bangkok. he’s not far off the mark either. the hostel itself is very nice and clean and secure and pretty much has everything i could possibly need from the bar/cafe to internet to travel and other information. my room is about $50 US a night and well worth it (although it’s freezing in there…there’s a good heater though) for the modern bathroom, common kitchen facilities next door and gorgeous victorian/african architecture – imagine a gingerbread house with wrap-around porch and that’s what the building is like. cute as can be. some highlights so far: good wine, coffee and pork products. HOORAH!

there will be more on my adventures in cairo soon, i promise, as well as the remainder of my stay in dahab. stay tuned, folks. i’ll be baaaaaaaack…

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]