In ze bag

siiwa bag
She wants it

Yesterday, my wife Erin, and I, went shopping.

She bought a blue hoodie in Abu Tig, and a lovely big white bag (which you can view her modeling on Instagram at @gounaman) in downtown Gouna

Erin also picked up an assortment of pressies for some of her friends back home.

There is a red bag, also handmade in Siwa, that she also wants, but I will not know of its availability until Saturday — ditto some beaded trinkets made by Bedu women in Al Arish in the Sinai.

Erin in front of 7th Star

So the preparations for Erin’s upcoming departure are in fuller gear, given that we are flying up together on Saturday to CAIR, then parting: she back to the US; me remaining in Egypt, and returning solo — alas! — to El Gouna.

Yesterday, the West Golf Line bus broke down, so we had to walk to town at 7PM for dinner at Kan Zaman.

Walking is a good thing for losing weight, but with all the perambulations we’re engaged in nowadays, my right knee gave a little, so I’m going to have to be careful today.

I’m going to have both knees looked at by my orthopaedist in Florida when I return in April. It’s radically difficult to lose weight and firm up when your knees can’t take much stress, but I shall keep at it.

Sinai bedu beads
Bedu beadwork

But here’s the big news.

I just heard from my Gouna rental agent, who’s currently in the UK. Leasing this villa for another six months, commencing October 2018, and into the month of April (the most beautiful month to be in Gouna) 2019, is now in the bag.

This means I shall be returning to FLA sometime before mid April, but returning to Gouna only 5 months later, for another very long stay.

I would say my plan to become a Sun Bird expat is coming along nicely. Erin loves this place too, so it’s likely that she will be with me most, if not all, of that period.

We have decisions to make.

What is the best way to unwind her retail business in Florida?  What about health insurance?  Should we rent out our house in Florida for the winter? What to do about the cat?

Sinai bedouin craftwork
Handcrafted bric-a-brac

The takeaway from all this is that I’ve succeeded in my goal of making the present incarnation of America largely irrelevant to my life. It can be done.

I barely watch CNN any more, as I am disinterested in what goes on in Washington.  They don’t think about me, so why rent space in my head to them?

El Gouna
Erin on our dock, wearing the new hoodie

Instead, my focus in life has narrowed, yet, paradoxically, deepened and gained in resonance since my arrival in El Gouna four months ago.

I no longer waste time dwelling on tiresome phenomena that no longer concern me, most of which I can do nothing about anyway. I focus largely on what is meaningful to me: books, my wife and family, getting healthier, writing, the Red sea, the desert, and the mountains that I see in the distance from where I now live.

They call this the paradox of ageing:  how many people come to regard the last few big turns around the bend as the happiest time of their lives.

Put simply, I’m deliberately choosing, nowadays, to know more about less and less — as I’m no longer concerned with hearing the latest pop songs, or keeping up with the latest technologies; the latest must-see movies; the latest tweets; the latest manifestation of political ineptness; the latest evidence of corporate greed or malfeasance; the latest viral vid on YouTube; the latest match scores of teams I used to follow avidly, as if the latest exploits of multimillionaire athletes on the pitch of dreams actually mattered for toffee.

Improbable Gouna– one of the least likely places I would have imagined where I would finally make peace with myself and the world after a very very long war indeed.

leaving america



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