Saturday, February 7, 2015
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Every year we make resolutions, every year we break resolution. Because that is how the life cycle happens. Unless you are one of the few who have willpower and grit and resolutions always stick. You know those people who are always starting successful businesses, and live completely healthy lifestyle, they get married when they say they will, and procreate at will and when they say they are going Maui this year, be assured they shall be going. We hate them, but we want to be them, a little. But they are always stories worth telling our friends because they are resolutions that worked, goals that were met, lives that decided to change and did. They were everything you want to be but are too tired/afraid/lazy/unmotivated to be. We go through one year like we did the last and we know (although most times we wished we didn't) that next year will be the same routine. Then one year, everything changes. You get an epiphany, someone passes on, you lose your job, you get sick or you just wake up with a start in the middle of the night. Something in your breakfast pancakes, the way the traffic lights changed or just how the sun set, there is that moment you realise how much of your life you have wasted.....not reaching, not trying, not living...
Miles Munroe once said: “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose. - People generally fall into one of three groups: the few who make things happen, the many who watch things happen, and the overwhelming majority who have no notion of what happens. Every person is either a creator of fact or a creature of circumstance. He either puts color into his environment, or, like a chameleon, takes color from his environment.”
Hope when you take that jump You don't fear the fall Hope when the water rises You build a wall Hope when the crowd screams out They're screaming your name Hope if everybody runs You choose to stay Hope that you fall in love And it hurts so bad The only way you can know Is give it all you have And I hope that you don't suffer But take the pain Hope when the moment comes You'll say...I, I did it all I, I did it all I owned every second That this world could give I saw so many places The things that I did Yeah, with every broken bone I swear I lived
Hope that you spend your days But they all add up And when that sun goes down Hope you raise your cup I wish that I could witness All your joy and all your pain But until my moment comes I'll say...I, I did it all I, I did it all I owned every second That this world could give I saw so many places The things that I did Yeah, with every broken bone I swear I lived
Yeah, with every broken bone I swear I lived Yeah, with every broken bone I swear I livedI, I did it all I, I did it all I owned every second That this world could give I saw so many places The things that I did Yeah, with every broken bone I swear I lived
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Everything about my trip to Egypt is a story worth telling. From planning the trip, the actual stay there and the trip back. Even those have sub stories that I can't quite put into words. However, because we are all busy people I shall only keep the story to a few highlights. I decided long before I got onto the plane, I shall not have any expectations of this country. I will go with the flow, meet the people I will meet and enjoy myself to as far as I shall be allowed. It had been a rough year, I had to admit. Things had not gone well and I was determined to make sure I don't spoil a trip with expectations. Expectations lead to disappointments and by Jesus, I had had enough of those. Don't get me wrong, I did my research. And by research I mean, I had checked out the best clubs online and 'what to where in Egypt' being that it is a muslim country and all. Due diligence done, I packed up my book, swimsuit and earphones and set off.
Try to fly by night:Cairo is a beautiful city at night. There is a reason flights land into that airport at night. Just looking down at the lights from the sky made me know immediately I was going to like being here. It is truly an urban designer's dream. Cairo from the sky was clear lines intersecting making wonderful patterns. As we approached I could see lights everywhere, I could see where the city ends, the roads that intersected off to other cities. It was magnificent. I got to the airport at 2.00 am and was picked up by this lovely chap called Amget. Now Amget is not an English speaking individual but he is the bomb. He was small, cute and funny. I knew I was going to like him from the moment he looked at me and said "You no man?!! Me, (points at my name) this is man." and then he grinned at me. A beautiful, happy, genuine grin of pure joy. The holiday had began. Because dear Amget did not speak my language, he communicated and showed me the sights using grunts, whistles and obscure sounds, to which I nodded and smiled.
Drive like an Egyptian:I was not prepared for that first morning that was Cairo. Oh Jehovah....what?! I believe that when a little Cairo boy or girl goes to driving school, they are given these instructions: "accelerate, hoot, conquer the world." none of that roundabout, keep left, indicating nonsense of the normal world. They drive with a look of insanity and impatience. If you have never had a desire to race cars through a thicket in a forest, you cannot, and I repeat, you cannot drive in Cairo. If hooting bothers you....and you have to hoot even when they are alone on a highway...toot,toot, toot, Cairo is not your home. If you have imaginings that you shall have a scratch free life, kindly take a walk. Every car was scratched, from the brand new Bentleys to the 1985 fiats that littered the roads, every car was racing off at dangerous speeds and every car was hooting and everyone was shouting. In fact, the general practice is stop, reverse, slow down everyone and then speed off at the speed of light. Traffic rules are for the birds and the sissies. Only real men drive in Cairo. I will leave you with a quote from one Amget "Here on (insert Arabic word) we 100 (driving motion) but sometime 200,300 (shrugs and then grins at me.)" I tighten my belt and hold my seat tightly.
A nice looking variety:It says something when your men are truly beautiful creatures. They are a very unpretentious people. They don't dress up for much really because they know how nice looking they are sitting there basking in their own beauty. I will give 2 examples to demonstrate my point:
1. There were these 2 chaps, who were seated next to us, who looked like they surf for a living, so they would come there with their long flowing hair and dark Egyptian skin, just enough facial hair and well toned abs and bask in the sun. I sucked in my stomach. I was not going to let my stomach shame me in front of those lovely male species. I split my time between reading, staring at them and staring at the sea. Then they would crack up and show me their perfect teeth. At one point one of them ran past us and my pal gos "Do you feel like you are in a movie?" I go "yeah." and I nod appreciatively at the hair blowing in the breeze.2.Then there was the time at the club, me and my friends are just sitting happily enjoying the night, oblivious to life then these 2 (I think beauty walks in pairs) chaps, maybe 6ft 12' with faces and bodies that looked like they had been carved by pharaoh's slaves. I swear the air was sucked out of the room when they walked in with their brooding faces and casual swag. No amount of drugs,torture or alcohol was going to get me talking to those dudes. I immediately got low self esteem with my hair that had taken in too much sand and my skin that was drying in their harsh splendour. There are many more stories that included shop keepers, waiters and so on. But that was the general drift.
Give me your hand.I am a pretty suspicious character but remember, at the beginning I said this was a no chills trip. The first dude who told me "Give me your hand" carried me onto a horse (that almost killed me. I was not built for cowboy nonsense), the second little girl molested my hand, the third offered marriage. There was a general trend with my hand going round. For some reason, for a week, I just kept giving out my hand to strange Egyptian men. I may have been overwhelmed truly by everything about them. It was hilarious. Another thing, these Egyptian men, they propose at least once a day. They are bold and aggressive like that. We got discounts because they would marry us,, a waiter learnt a new word of English every time he came to the table so that my pal would become his second wife, a guy swore to kill his wife (that was one of the extreme ones granted) but you get the picture. It was really a frenzy of marriage proposals and hand holding. Kenyans should take a lesson in persistence. They did not relent. Going forward though, I won't be so generous with my hand.
Beautiful Hurgada:By the Red Sea is where you go to forget your problem....it is actually where you go to forget your life. I forgot even my beloved family in Hurgada. I remember being asked "Where do you want to be in 5 years?" and all I could think was that I wanted to be right here in 5 years. Maybe surfing, maybe diving, maybe writing, but right there in beautiful Hurgada with its crystal clear water and white sandy beach was where I would want to be. It is pretty touristy with everything translated into Russian and all that jazz. It has this beautiful pedestrian walkways about the size of a two-way street where you can do romantic walks under the clear sky and if you are like us, you can dance to the music pouring out of clubs and restaurants.There are two major clubs in Hurgada. Little Budhaa, with its enviable interiors (but we Africans are allergic to entry charges) so we went to the Hard Rock Cafe down the street where we wasted money like we grew it in farms in Limuru. But, we were determined to leave our mark in that place. The good thing about Hard Rock is that it reminded me a little of Mercury, ABC and with that we made ourselves a home. Our waiters, Alfredo and Midooooo, I could carry them with me if I could. On our last day there, they offered to make for us take away cocktails cups (at a price of-course). I was so amused by that. We made great memories there.
Street Music, street shisha, streetfood...we live on the street:Cairo does not sleep, ever. Who needs sleep anyway? The shops are open way past midnight, people carry their children to clubs, old men and women just sit around at 3 a.m smoking shisha (Everyone smokes shisha in Egypt and everyone smokes rough tobacco cigarettes). Because I was constantly disoriented by their hours, I got to Nairobi exhausted and sleep deprived. However, the whole experience of window shopping late into the night, eating falafel (is that right) late at night and listening to live musicians singing and playing instruments at night, I wouldn't trade for all that sleep I missed. Strangely though, all tourist attractions are closed at 4pm. So if you need to see anything of cultural importance, you need to be awake early enough. Everything else stays up until the traffic dies down. (Oh, and you could make a game of name the roads i Cairo: from 26th of July Street to 6th of October Corridor)
10 things you should see:1. The pyramids and the Sphinx: You do not go there without seeing those things. How? Egypt is not Egypt without a visit to the pyramids and being harassed by Camel and Horse riders and their children. If for nothing else, go and just see their sheer size. No cameras allowed insode the pyramids.
2. The egyptian museum: 3000 sculptures and paraphenalia. The possibility is you will not look at all 3000 but if you have any interest in the history of Egypt, this would be a good place to see. No cameras allowed inside as well.3. Tahrir Square: The famous square of the revolution. It is right next to the museum so you can do both at one go. It has abit of security presence ofcourse but just people watching at this square is quite something. There's also alot of books and photo books on the revolution in the bookshops.
4. Look for the street art: I always saw it when I was on the move but it is quite something. Unlike us, they don't paint over it with ugly blue paint.5. Old/Islamic Cairo: If you have architecture in your blood, then this is the place for you. It is an overwhelming of the senses. It is what Mombasa old town is only 12 times larger. It is beautiful. The whole town though is littered with magnificent buildings so take some time to walk around.
7. If you do get to travel out of town, take in the sculptures along the road and if you have time, stop at their toll stations, I have not seen anything like it. With its carvings and art. It is much preetier at night.8. Eating by the Nile at sunset. I shall say no more.
9. See Cairo from the Nile as well. Grab a Felluca, sneak a bottle of wine or tea and drift away. If you prone to romantic gestures, this would be a good one.10. If you are like me and have never seen a desert. Drive out towards the Suez Canal with the desert to one side and the sea to the other....toot toot toot.
I shall dedicate this post to BFF and BFFFF for "Saying YES to life with me!" :D May this song forever be in our thoughts. Thanks for the memories.