Tag Archives: travel

Observations of a fragmented flight

He is back again to the east of his youth.. The giant hollow metallic bird landed at the end. It crossed endless miles, nine time zones, more than three dozen countries and culture, a barrier of languages, customs and stories.

The flight, one of those saturated with babies in diapers waiting to be changed in the bathroom. One of those flights that echo with the shouts and wails of youngsters craving attention or a candy. One of those flights were alcohol is consumed in abundance by those who are said to be religious.

One of those flights were flight hostesses strut in the aisles like models carrying the latest gadgets from Tokyo, the latest perfumes from Paris and the finest cigars from Cuba. A decadent capitalist flight.

A dog eared book ; Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar; a sordid tale about 6 months in a twenty something girl’s life in the Big Apple .. his only companion other than the unpleasant forced company of a chatterbox that took the form of an obese sweaty man that recited 400 words a minute.. a human miracle.

The food was mediocre at best.. bland, pre-packaged .. picked up from various international markets.. bite size food.. never finger food; enough to feel that you are chewing on a piece of processed meat or proteins.

Yet, he is home. Home is where the heart is or so they say.

He was away from home for years, by choice never by force. A solitary man up in the mountain of love , peace and understanding. A world of oneness .. a facade.. an escape from the horrors of reality, war, death and the big bad wolf.

It was a life secluded and delicate like a fine bone china teacup.. eternal and fragile. Life among books, letters, music and hope made him a hopeless case of a human being.. a chaotic romantic.. a cynic and a drunkard on the nectar of life.

Yet, here he is. Among the past. His favorite card in a tarot deck is death.. the call to cut those pieces in you that hinder progress.. that call you to play in the playgrounds of the past.. among the relics and ruins of childhood. How can he restrain from running into that?

The non smoking sign is still turned on. A large red sign staring at him from the ceiling. Agitations run in him.. shivers of withdrawal.

“Welcome home.” said the mass of fat sitting next to him.

“ Thanks. Same to you”.

The passengers are in line.. prisoners awaiting the call of freedom.. the cries of children, the sweat, the smell, humidity and the heat from the rubbing of bodies on starched carpet.

The line is moving slowly toward the exit.. slowly.. each step closer to the light.. closer to the ladder… away from any snakes. Smiles being exchanged among strangers.. brethren for a few hours.. strangers for eternity.

The light is just a few steps away.. one step closer to salvation among the heathens. The last farewell from oriental hostess.. a Greek plane captain.. his Scottish co-pilot that reminded him of Moby Dick.. and finally the exit.. five steel steps.. and a flood light on those steps.

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A timeless question

Did you ever say hello to a girl you almost married years ago ?

Did she give you the same captivating smile, and give you a hug .. a gesture ?

Did the wrinkles around her lips make you wonder what amazing moments you missed with her ?

That’s how I felt about London, every time I came back here.

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July 7th Revisited

3:30 pm … waiting behind Hamely’s … yalla ya Bint  … waiting and waiting.. the cab approaches .. a red and blue bag in the trunk.. a laptop case.. 2 shopping bags and the journey begins to a city called Cairo.

The airport road.. i hate it.. it is longer now.. a few kilometers longer.. dad says they stretched the road.. he is pulling my leg..

The airport is empty.. the guard asks us for our passports and tickets… Cairo 5:30.. shoo jab il shamalat 3al karak… Mish kolna wlad balad wa7deh.. she said and we passed.. more security.. never wear a belt.. lesson learned.. watch.. wallet.. cell phone.. passport and tickets all in a tray.. pass through the security check.. no beep.. sigh.. continue to the next stop

The ticket counter.. hand in your passport.. luggage on the balance.. 11kg and 13kg.. the bint is laughing.. i carry less weight that you.. glee in her eyes.. Immigration

Stamp in place.. the cue is empty.. rushing to the 1st window.. looks at the passport.. then at you.. then at the passport again.. One knows that one grows up.. so you wouldn’t look like the pic of you taken 4 years ago.. ink on rubber.. rubber on passport.. departure stamp

Duty Free.. paradise .. or hell.. the cologne was for 120 dollars.. limited edition.. NO.. huge X.. whiskey.. no when I get back.. just a bag of chocolate.. ring .. ring .. 11$ … leave the duty free with a bag of chocolate.

1 hr before boarding.. ice cream or coffee.. ice cream or coffee.. ice cream is better.. cheesecake for me.. and cherry for my companion.  It was good.. her laptop is frozen.. itfoo 3alik min laptop .. then suddenly they started calling last call RJ 505 heading to Cairo.. Gate 6.

Another gate.. another security.. another body search.. took the belt.. passport..wallet..belt..watch in a tray and passed with no problems.. Ammar don’t wear a belt again..

Walking.. passing a new duty free.. going down an escalator…rushing past people… we are on the runway.. a bus is waiting.. boarding pass given to the crew… sending the last txt from the bus.. waiting.. 3 Yemenis sitting opposite me … silver rings with moonstone, turquoise and red agate.

Approach the plane.. carry the bags.. up the stairs… the last seat in the plane.. way way at the back.. the guy on my left staring at my companion.. shoo hal garaf.. slumped in the chair.. Olga the flight attendant .. brunette.. Belorussian or Russian..  sound of engine.. some child is crying in the seat in front of us.

Eyes closing.. Ammar shaklak khayif… I am not.. just the take off took me by surprise.. dozing off.. in a bit there is some food on the tray… sandwiches and a cupcake with no icing.. i just had the brown bread sandwich.. and the bottle of water.. tea with lemon.. no sugar..

20 mins and we land… desert under us.. the outskirts of Cairo.. we get closer to that moment when I may breathe some freedom.. The pilot announces that the plane is descending.. the flight is descending… the landing gear … i can hear it… sand particle on the runway.. scratchy tires.. shaky cabin.. cries of babies.. stop … a long stop… then a long moving forward… all the passengers are standing.. with their carry ons and all them bags… we are the end… we leave the plane .. slowly… down the stairs… into a bus… it is dusty.. humid and it is 6  pm in Cairo..

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