El General, a Tunisian and a catalyst in the Tunisian revolution -
and since we are on the subject, listen to Elissa too, sing "Mawtini," one of the enduring Arab anthems, written by Palestinian poet Ibrahim Tuqan in 1934 and composed by Lebanese composer Mohammed Flayfel. Mawtini means 'my homeland' incidentally. It has been the national anthem of Palestine, it is the anthem now of Iraq, the tempo is faster and more of a marching vibe there. Elissa's is a slower, yearning, more soulful, rendition. Many Arab singers have sung it to this slower beat, my favourite being Omar Kamal.
Now what can I tell you about Egypt? :) It’s Enticing, and its history is as mind-boggling as Syria’s.
It’s like an oddball miracle of geography that defies all possible logic – a roaring great river comes slashing across the most formidable desert on the Earth and never dries up all the way to the sea. Not only doesn't dry up, instead floods (!) and creates the most fertile soil which then sustains life for 700,000 years!! It’s just beyond all human understanding.
Egypt is too vast to sum up in a blogpost, so I’m not going to try. I will tell you instead that I have been both tourist and resident there and I have loved all of it exceedingly - some of my best travel memories and epiphanies, writing, and reading, and learning, have happened there. And I'll show you some random photographs and give you some random facts.
And some day, when I have sufficiently got over this whole massive expat trauma-fest of the last twenty years, I might stop wringing my hands and use them instead to write an Encyclopedia on how easy it was to get enthralled with places and people that came into my life, and how difficult to say goodbye to them, even though the transience of these relationships was known to all parties from the outset. “Keep it clean: expat postings without emotional entanglements.” Yeah, I think I’ll do that :) For now, back to Egypt.
Cairo and Nile. From the Cairo Tower at Zamalek. Once you touch/
drink the Nile, it calls you back - common Egyptian saying.
|Apart from the Giza Pyramids, which are the biggest and most|
famous, Egypt has a 100 more.
Water wheels, Fayoum. Water wheels were introduced here
by the Greeks, almost two thousand years ago.
Damietta. Journey's end for the Nile.
|El Alamein. The War Memorials there - rows upon rows of |
twenty somethings, uff turns my brain inside out.
Luxor Temple. Mosque of Abu Haggag in its precincts.
Continuity of worship for 3500 years.
Sunset and felucca. Aswan.
Downtown Cairo. Meidan Talat Harb. Traffic so pristine because
it was a weekend morning.
Sharm al Sheikh. The whole of Sinai is breathtaking.
|White Desert National Park. Loved it every time. Gazillion stars |
at night. Sunrise without birdsong. Surreal peacefall.
Eastern Harbour. Alexandria. Some of the best seafood
I've ever had in my life!
|Lone angler. Mersa Matruh. North Coast. The Med |
Sea absolutely resplendent! Oh, Arabs love angling.
Did you know the ancient Egyptians worshipped over 1400 gods? They had gods for danger, and chores, and missing things. And each had to be placated with his/her own requirements exactly. Talk about complicated spiritual lives!
Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017