Call any vegetable

pelicans

Three pelicans sunning themselves on a boardwalk near where we currently live

35 days before my wife and I leave for Nice, France!

I’m not going to write some eyeglaze, state-of-the-world post tonight.

All that’s happening currently is what you would expect.

Getting the doggie and cat motels booked here for the duration of my wife’s trip.

Changing my wife’s return flight on Delta from Nice back to Fla; she’ll be going back and forth to Gouna throughout the year, after I rent a villa in November.

Fixing up the house, inside and outside, in preparation for my long absence. This includes bleach washing the outside, plumbing, and roof work. I’ve also decide to update the kitchen and the guest bathroom.

Already taken care of the car: new AC, spark plugs, wipers and oil change, brakes check and tire alignment, and using the Ford dealership’s auto butler detailing service.

Paid in advance our association dues, electric, water, and car insurance, all the way to next summer.

escape from amerika

Our doggie

House insurance and property taxes will have to wait till October; they wont let me pay those in advance.

My wife will be here to take care of that, while I’m in Gouna. Also made sure I renewed all the domains that we use for my wife’s business; ditto hosting dues, and BitDefender for our various computer and mobile devices.

So I’m fairly busy these dog days of summer, but I’m finding the time to monitor political stuff that might directly impact on our lives (Brexit, Health Care legislation, Islamophobic travel bans, etc.), but am ignoring pretty much all the other slimy, swishy Trumpian drama (look no further than the effeminate dirtbag’s poncey word choices and drag queen hand gestures).

lipstick trump

My lipthtick is thho thavage!

Despite this stance of Olympian grandeur, I must admit that this particular week, I’ve enjoyed learning more about what goes on behind the scenes between State and Gulfie thaubbists (you know these are the guys who live in a dusty, hot part of the world, but are always tricked out in impeccably white, spotless bed sheets; must be nice never having to actually work a day in your life).

Yeah: everyone’s an asshole; you just need to scope out what manner of asshole you will be encountering, if you plan on living overseas for any extended period of time.

I do look forward to being in Gouna and meeting the people who actually live there, and get past the satirical stereotypes I have written up in this blog, mainly to pass the time and amuse myself and my readers.

Tuesday I go to the dentist, and I have one last visit to the eye doctor in August: but the cataract surgery I had in January was a huge success, and I have gone from being nearly blind, to enjoying 25/20 vision, without glasses.

I have not lost the weight I hoped to lose, but that will come soon enough, once I am in Gouna.

Escape from America

Pondering the veggie situation on Aida Beach in Montazah Palace

I am kind of concerned about Iraq and Sudan and other countries rejecting the import of Egyptian meat, fish and vegetable products due to unacceptable levels of pesticides and microbes due to the use of recycled sewage to grow crops.

Have already had Hepatitis A and Typhoid shots for that reason, and will have a flu shot when these become available here mid August. Will do a rabies shot in Gouna if the cost is much lower than here. You know, the desert bat thing. Also will probably have a Diphtheria shot before leaving, and possibly Tetanus.

News Flash: I’m not that big on the usage of sewage water for growing veggies. Who is? Plus which there is that whole Renaissance Dam thingie, which will reduce water availability in Egypt by 25%. No doubt Sisi will take care of this soon by bombing the shit out of the fucking Ethiopians. Now I know why all these new warplanes are being delivered. MEGA, baby, as in, Make Egypt Great Again!

Speaking of water, I’ve decided I’ll only drink bottled water in Egypt as a precaution: no more ahwas mazbouta or shay at the cafés in Cairo, or elsewhere along the way.

Last time I was in Cairo four years ago, I had major Montezuma issues, which almost delayed my flight back.

There have been contamination problems in the past with Baraka and Aquafina, so I think I will stick to Siwa mineral water, if it is still okay and readily available in Gouna — though of course plastic bottles sitting in the sun lead to PBA leaching.

bestwayI certainly hope the water provided in Gouna for pools, showers and bathing is desalinized sea water, and not this recycled sewage they use for the golf courses.

Yuck.

At any rate, I will be checking very closely the whole fresh vegetable Bestway market situation in Gouna; dieting aside, I do have to eat something once in a while, other than the usual hops and malt fortifications.

In this regard, I take great comfort in what the late Arab-American musician Frank Zappa once said: call any vegetable, and the chances are good that the vegetable will respond to you.

Paladi, or is it baladi?

I’m writing this during the wee hours of the morning, shortly after John McCain cast his Gladiator style thumbs-down vote on the Skinny Repeal.

From my perspective, which is the POV of someone who’s already booked to leave the United States for an extended period of time, this development removes the likelihood of my wife’s health insurance premiums skyrocketing way out of control.

Naturally I fully expect this loathsome White House to  kneecap the individual mandate, which experts predict will cause a premium rise of around 20 per cent. Not good, but it could be much worse, and probably will be, over the next 4 years.

However, for the time being, our rationale to up sticks to France for cheaper, better coverage has diminished.

Plus, counting on Brexit is risky.

For now, I don’t have to hope that 10 Downing and Brussels negotiate amendments that would allow UK/EU passport holders newly resident in the EU to secure affordable insurance, even if they never paid into Britain’s National Health system.

Unfortunately, the reality remains that Florida is a cultural desert filled with old people, hustlers, and drug addicts.

Not to mention the Islamophobic vibe.

Overall, in fact, the United States remains populated with a significant number of bigots who hate not only Moslems, but Jews, Blacks, Mexicans, Sikhs, you name it.

It’s a country where around 30-40 per cent of the voting population are just a few paychecks or Social Security and Medicaid stipends removed from the inbred, vacuous opiod dullards who subsist on venison, federal welfare, white lightning stills, and cooking meth deep in the mountains of Appalachia — most of whom reliably vote Republican and love them guns.

feels good, man

feels good, man

But that does mean 60 per cent are not that way.

Not everyone in Florida grows a horseshoe stach and dons a red bandana to cover up the balding pate while riding around in costume party hog packs.

Red State Gen XYZs no longer automatically follow in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents, which gives me hope for the eventual forced removal from the White House of the national fiasco that is Donald Trump.

McCain, the war hero, may have already started this endgame.

With respect to my immediate plans, I do look forward to visiting Nice, a few weeks from now, particularly as I’ve a long history and romantic association with that town.

It shall no doubt be an enjoyable 10 days; however, la Bella Nissa long ago moved very far away indeed from the days when it was a winter pleasure palace for the English.

Blame it on the EU Gypsies, the pieds noirs, the Arabs, the Africans, or blame yourself, Mr. and Mrs. Tourist for a state of affairs that was well-articulated by a person commenting on a recent article in the Guardian about the decline of Venice:

Towns that solicit tourism dollars usually wind up selling their souls. You cannot have tourism dollars without the impacts – rich second homeowners, overcrowding, loss of local culture. We all crave culture, true culture, what is organic to the place. When present, one gets a sense of place, which is what make a place special. Industrial tourism is based on more, more, more, squeezes out what is precious. And suffocates that sense of place.

After a short stay in the South of France, I shall move on to Gouna (whose residents ought heed the above quote!) in mid September, soak up the atmosphere there for a while, then most likely return to the States around April.

One can glean a cursory idea of the real Egypt by reading Mada Masr, Amro Ali’s bomb-ass blog, or some of the other Egyptian/Arab World-related pubs listed on the blogroll in the sidebar.

A deeper understanding can be obtained by wading through heavy duty think tank articles from outfits such as the Tahrir institute for Middle East Policy. Foreign Policy mag pieces on Egypt, or even this paper from the hopelessly right-wing Hudson Institute.

The Internet offers an abundance of such material, which is typically unread by the weekend sun worshippers out for a little action in elite cocoons such as Gouna.

The degree of corruption, lack of economic transparency, and secretive control of all major aspects of Egyptian government and commercial activity by the armed forces would normally be astonishing, if it weren’t for the cynical world view most people with working brains have adopted vis a vis governments in general, and third-world cabals in particular.

It’s rarely good news when a country is racked by social upheavals and terrorist attacks and general paranoia and mass executions and the long term incarceration of any liberal voice that dares speak out.

Clearly if the current Egyptian situation becomes too much of a political liability, there will be changes (just as Republican lawmakers will start to go after Trump, following the looming, almost certain 2018 midterm election debacle) initiated by the shadowy claque of generalissimos and their pleasant friends that constitutes Egypt’s so-called deep state.

This is kind of an Arabian Mafia that has kept my beloved Egypt in a stranglehold since the 80s.

It’s composed of typically crass foraging types (originating from various fetid “baladi” backgrounds, in contrast to, say, the former Turko-Egyptian aristocracy that once ruled Egypt, which was the outwardly benign world of my long-deceased relatives) who ensure that their prized first-born sons attend the AUC to pick up bogus American accents and learn how to pretend to be Western and mimic American slang and culture.

The whole point of Life for these toady goombahs is to have a Swiss bank account, a boat or two, lots of nice houses in places like Gouna and the South of France and London, and, most importantly, no shortage of foreign skanks (usually Russian, but sometimes European) to hang out poolside, like the ones you see in the Salud episode of Breaking Bad, where Gus Fring takes his revenge on the drug cartel.

breaking bad

Salud!

Their pointlessly material world fascinates me!

Beyond the obvious superficiality of this particular crowd, I also look forward to immersing myself in and enjoying being at the source of the post revolutionary creative zeal that has blossomed since the collapse of Jan 25 and the demise of the Arab Spring.

The chaos of wars and dictatorial regimes and suffocating religions and massive social injustice has often lead to the emergence of a resistance that consists of subversive fiction, cinema, cartoons, and music.

This outcome, albeit at a horrific price, has already commenced in the Arab world.

It’s probably the only positive upside to what is clearly a very dangerous moment in Egypt, and elsewhere.

The bottom line for me is that Trump is a disgusting animal.  I choose not to live in the Disunited States during his illegitimate “presidency.”

Luckily, I have other options.

 

The slow goodbye

I will miss this beach, compadres, but not much else. You can’t see them here, but there were 4 nurse shark swimming not far offshore, in about 15-20 feet of crystal clear water.

 

beach

 

Art work by Nour Helmy

Yet, Gouna beckons…. ever stronger now. Imagine this: the return of the native, the Egyptian Martin Guerre, after half a century, a refugee from his adopted coutnry.

I have often imagined bring my SUP board here, launching out and paddling all the way to Africa.

This in the years where I felt trapped and that there was no way out of the fetid swamps of Florida.

I should have done this 15 years ago, but I didn’t.

So just counting out the days now, like a prisoner waiting for his release.

It’s almost over.

Meanwhile, see this willet go, “oh oh: human approaching.”

 

beach

 

41 days left!!!

willet

Yippeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!