Showing posts from November, 2009

The City of a Thousand Minarets

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign. —Robert Louis Stevenson We waited morbidly in the Seven Heaven lounge, morbid because we were finally about to leave after a three week stay, and because the road to Cairo put us one step closer to inevitable separation. My arm still hurt from Richie of New Zealand's Tae Kwon Do twist. The lanky second-degree blackbelt, third in the world in the senior division before he discovered alcohol, had been drunk when he showed me some holds. He taught English in Leipzig and regularly patroned the English pub there for rugby matches up until a few months ago, when he came to Dahab and got a job in the Seven Heaven dive shop. “Glory?” scoffed the Kiwi, swinging his leg around in the air to show a power move. “There's no such thing as glory. It's all ego, mate.” While Jean attended his Facebook, Amelia and I listened to a wild tale from Maria of Denmark, which I will here relate. Maria first arrived in Dahab four mo

That's Just Fine

Time wasted is existence, used is life. —Edward Young Jean pulled his bike up in front of Ali's Shop and took a seat at a table. “You're back,” said Ali. “Yeah,” said Jean. “How are you? Can I have some lunch?” Ali served a large plate of mincemeat balls in a thick tomato sauce, and when Jean had finished, he asked, “So what are you doing?” “Well,” said Jean, “I wanted to get into Egypt, to take the ferry from Aqaba to Nuweiba, to meet my friends. I knew it would be a big hassle. I got to Aqaba but the man told me, 'It's very expensive to take your motorbike. I wouldn't do it.' I need a report filed back in France, and a deposit in a bank account. I said, 'Don't worry, I'll pay.' But he told me, 'I'm not letting your bike on my boat.' So now I need to find a place to store my bike.” Ali did not have to think. “Not a problem,” he said easily. “You can store your bike at my house. Some French climbers are keeping their gear there as we

The Walls of Rum

When he first started, the roar of the world he had left still rang in his ears, as the roar of a tunnel rings a little after the train has passed through. But when he had put the Mutteeanee Pass behind him that was all done, and Purun Baghat was alone with himself, walking, wondering, and thinking, his eyes on the ground, and his thoughts with the clouds. —Rudyard Kipling As I read it several times , and it formed the core of the site's romance and my interest in it, and, on reaching it, the foundation of my awed perception, here follows for assigned reading T.E. Lawrence's depiction of the Walls of Rumm, which turned that Arabian formation into a Western tourist destination. "We were riding for Rumm, the northern water of the Beni Atiyeh: A place which stirred my thought, as even the unsentimental Howei-tat had told me it was lovely. The morrow would be new with our entry to it: but very early, while the stars were yet shining, I was roused by Aid, the humble Harithi She