Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gone Fishin'

The trip is over. I am one twelve hour flight from Chicago, a three hour drive home, and hopefully a large amount of Wisconsin 2% milk. I am in Istanbul airport right now. This is a much smaller version of the international Mecca that is Heathrow. A few differences I noticed while in the open air (it’s raining, which is an enjoyable change) smoking lounge enjoying one of Cuba’s finest that I can’t bring back into my homeland include the lack of English being spoken by the smokers. Judging by the stereotypes of the 20 or so folks enjoying their nicotine fix I was the only American. Once again, abroad and alone like the desert, or my latest adventure in Egypt: the sea.
We got up before the call the prayer. As the 3,000+ Imams of the mosques were getting ready to climb the stairs of their minarets(or more realistically, turn on the microphone) that would cascade over a sleeping Cairo for the morning prayer, we were on a bus headed northeast to Ein Soukna, the area just south of the Suez Canal. Upon arrival we stowed our gear, and many people took advantage of the natural cradle provided by a marriage of our ship the Prince Omar, and the Red Sea. Those of us that were awake threw lines off the stern for the two hour journey to the fishing spot in the middle of the Red Sea. Large cargo and oil ships heading into or out of the Suez surrounded us. I imagine this is what Lord Nelson felt like on a daily basis with control of a massive armada. Our mission was less imperialistic. We were going to conquer the sea in the form of a noble and long lasting tradition and join the Somalian pirates further down the coast in a calling that Captain Jack Sparrow would be proud of: fishing. Gone Fishin’.
A boy becomes a man when one thing happens in his life: he is too big for the bathtub. The fierce naval battles I waged in-between rinse and repeat could have easily been taking place around me with the vast amount of shipping we saw. Once we reached our spot we reveled in the fact that we were between Africa and Asia.
Two things have always existed: Allah and Egypt. Both have continuously stood the test of time. God has always been worshiped in Egypt, though sometimes in a plural form. The religious devotion the Egyptians have had whether it be the Pharaohs or the Copts and Muslims is something I really admired. It was a hell of trip. I was a little “templed and tombed” out by the end but really glad to have seen almost all of Egypt.
On our last night I had the best hookah of my life. This was at a café in our new neighborhood where we were for the last 4 days. Zamalek is very much like Wisconsin Ave in D.C. It is chalk full of embassies and Victorian style buildings. It is quiet with many perfect and hidden cafes. At the last one of these, where I increased my affection for shisha, I managed to enjoy the bubbling smoke, a burger, tea and lemon juice for $12.00. Egypt was very inexpensive, unlike the current duty free areas I have been frequenting in order to be able to cash hard on the long flight from Istanbul to Chicago.
Hopefully I can find some inspiration above the clouds and get in a final post. A lack of a drinking age at 35,000 feet may help. Just kidding. See you soon.

1 comment:

Sara Abdelrazek said...

Just Loved it Ian! So glad Egypt won your heart! "Classy Alexandria" will be thrilled to have you in Spring 2011! Though you've been "tombed" there are more places to check out and I also know one that you have in mind! Cannot wait to see you again!

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