3200 Phaethon


Crappy camera could not even pick up a beautiful moon in a sky filled with stars

I went out last night looking for the GEMINID showers.   What a bust!  Didn’t see any meteor debris lighting up the heavens, but then again, at 4AM, maybe I missed the big show. It was cold and blustery, and I didn’t spend too much time staring at the night sky.

Today is when I pack my bags.  I am having someone come by my apartment rental tomorrow at noon, and help me take my stuff (which isn’t that much, although I intend to buy some additional household supplies to bring in the car with me) to my next rental,  a gorgeous villa.

This means I only have to endure two more nights at Abu Tig marina, which appears pleasant enough to people who typically come here by day, and thus are unaware of the party animal circus it turns into at night over the weekends, which in Egypt begins on Thursday.

Putting up with this has been very stressful, and I have slept really badly for 3 months.  Between the nightclubs blasting music till 3AM most nights, the constant traffic noise in the street, the loud voices of pedestrians walking by, and the endless rental merry go round that takes place in this building, I am certainly looking forward to moving.

This weekend, I will set things up in the new villa — food supplies, internet, TV, phone, identifying the nearest bus stop location, in what is a quiet and thus remote part of El Gouna.

Perhaps I shall finally be able to lose those bags under my eyes from lack of normal sleep. I will also have to see if I need to buy additional battaniyas, or blankets, as it is getting very chilly here at night.

A recurring troubling aspect of things for me has been my left knee, which acted up again today.  I had planned to go to Element beach in the north part of El Gouna yesterday, but woke up with a bad limp, and thus had to spend much of the day in the apartment,

I followed the Alabama special election results on CNN International, and other cable news channels, but also enjoyed a break from politics by watching Real Madrid beat some UAE club I never heard of called Jazeera FC,. I hope the TV setup will be in order so I can watch the Grêmio match on Saturday.

As has been the norm since certain unfortunate things happened last November, the news from the US is increasingly that of a disturbed country seemingly doing well economically (if you are a 1 per center), but falling apart otherwise.  The TV service here also broadcasts FOX.  Five minutes of Hannity is enough to convince me what a good idea it was to leave the poisonous atmosphere of America, where I have lived for more years than is good for one’s mental health and well being. The amount of hate and venom spewing from that country is beyond belief, and it is quite obvious that Macron and others are playing a much smarter game on the world stage.

None of this concerns me directly any more:  I want personal serenity at this stage of my life, and am betting that for now, El Gouna is the place to find it.

Thus I am looking forward to this villa move, but I have to find some way, short of starving myself, of getting rid of the stomach gut that is as toxic to my health as living in America would be. But with two bum knees, and a lousy lower back, the opportunity for turning into some shredded He Man are limited. Still, I plan to learn more about Qigong, after I am settled in the new place, to see if it can help increase the positive flow of energy in my mind and body, as well as firm things up without hurting my joints.

Now that I am in my 60s, I need to do things like stretch exercises to restore flexibility to my aging and stiffening body, go for long walks, and meditate often, perhaps as I gaze out, from what I hope will be a calm and peaceful retreat, without unpleasant surprises, at the unspoiled Eastern Desert mountains of Egypt, which are visible from the terrace of my new villa.

Lastly, I’ve been toying for some time with the idea of setting up a book clud in the El Gouna library.  I don’t know if there would be interest in this, but I shall go to the Rotary Club meeting there next Tuesday, check out the place, see what the room rental setup is like.  I think it might be fun to read and discuss Egyptian novels in translation, such as Beer at the Snooker club, in a group setting, but there would have to be interest in this, and I am not sure if there would be a literary appetite for this sort of thing here.

Plus, I have to think if I really want to go to all the trouble of setting this up, as opposed just to just doing the hermit thing, and (my apologies for using this vacuous term) “chilling” in my new villa, and learning all about Chinese meditation, and thanking my lucky stars every day I was able to become a semi recluse, living far, far away from the dangerous cesspool otherwise known as Trumplandia.


leaving america



The prisoner of Abu Tig marina

aurora club gouna

The main culprit for the nightly racket around here


When I was a kid growing up in Egypt, I saw a movie called the Prisoner of Zenda, starring Stewart Granger.

There are seven days left before I leave my rental in Abu Tig marina in El Gouna, Egypt.

I look forward to finally moving my stuff to my villa next Friday on the other side of town, far away from the obnoxiously loud music that turns Abu Tig marina — this tiny apartment having become my personal Zenda — into hell every Thursday thru Sunday night.  

Inside Aurora — the most egregious noise factory in Abu Tig marina –looks like this.

aurora gouna

Imagine being subjected to a sonic blast of noise — for 4 hours, between 11PM and 3AM, every bloody night of the week

I shall also not miss the relentless stream of vehicular and pedestrian traffic outside my apartment. Or the unacceptably prolonged Overton window of discourse that takes place daily outside my balcony by young asmaranis with mobiles who seem obsessed with the sidewalk in front of my building.  It is a wonder I have been able to hold it together here for three months, without suffering a meltdown. Well, it’s almost over.

Last night was pretty cold.  This is what I can expect (in Fahrenheit) in terms of temperature between now and mid April, when my Egyptian visa expires.

Dec 55/73

Jan 52/72

Feb 52/73

Mar 57/77

April 64/84

As you can see it gets fairly brisk at night, and there is usually a strong breeze around here, which adds a wind chill factor.  We are talking sweaters and heavy blankets by night, though it is quite pleasant while the sun is up. The sun now sets around 5PM, so it is not a particularly long day. But let me be honest here: it so fucking bone cold dry here at night in winter, I have to boil water in the kitchen to keep the soles of my feet from peeling off.

My weight loss this month is finally becoming noticeable.  My wife bought me in Nice (France) three months ago a white golf shirt that I couldn’t fit into at all (even though it was size XX).

Now I can, the end result of limiting myself to a single (usually vegetarian) meal a day, and sometimes even skipping meals entirely.

But the basketball stomach issue persists, even though my food consumption bears no resemblance to the anxiety-produced binges of ice cream, meatball hoagies, and what have you in the States this year.

It is going to take some serious exercising — good thing I can now go for long walks, now that my back problems have gone away, thanks to sleeping like a monk on a cold stone floor every night — to get that in order, but I keep getting held back with knee problems, which is of course a function of all that extra weight that’s coming off, yes, but very slowly.

Much to my relief, I am happy to report that the extremely embarrassing manboob issue is starting to fade away, thanks to my routine of daily balcony push-ups on the bannister.

It is frustrating not to have a normal metabolism due to the thyroidectomy I had to have a few years ago, but I am determined to lose the weight despite this challenge, as I promised myself I would gradually return to my normal self, and cease looking like the fat Florida geezer I had turned into. Okay, enough of this old man reciting his ailments talk.

Speaking of, er, satanic America, I am long past bored with the daily Trumpian shenanigans and it’s no-daylight support of the Zionist colonial project. My guess is that half the population of that benighted country is in a state of numb shock and trauma that is typically experienced by abused children at the hands of serial rapists — given the daily assault on hapless liberals, and, more importantly, the poor and defenseless, who are stuck in a country where all the odds are stacked against them. But the longer I am away from there, the less I feel any residual nostalgia for anything American, except for the memory of a chimerical Manhattan, pre Herr Giuliani, where I lived for decades, although of course I deeply miss my family by being away.

I am not sure when I am going to return to Florida. The US is about to elect a Senator who believes Muslims should not serve in Congress. The Supreme Court has allowed the Muslim travel ban.  And the orange pig has just eviscerated any remaining hope by the Palestinian people for a two-state solution. How long before one of those viperous Tea Party Senators puts forward a bill to create a national Muslim registry in America? How long before it becomes open season on Arab-Americans? How long before they set up internment camps? Being an Arab-American in today’s United States is akin to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany in the mid 30s: if you’re smart, you get out while you can.

I look forward to restarting my life in a country where I am not, and never will be, a second class citizen, one who is  looked upon with suspicion and perhaps even contempt simply because he has a Muslim name. All I can say is that I should count my good fortune at having the option of living far away from sexually-perverted America’s daily diet of destructive, nationalistic, identarian, ultra right-wing, avaricious, war-mongering Evangelical bullshit. 

I want no part of it in my life.


This must the place.


leaving america

The quest for an honest broker

I woke up today thinking about “the crucial financial support that [the US] gives the PA,” and it immediately reminded me of Auda Abu Tayi.

I saw Lawrence of Arabia on HD TV in my rental flat last week, and I thought, geez, here I am so close to where much of this classic was filmed.


So close to Aqaba.


To Palestine; but no closer, alas, to the vanished gardens of Cordoba.


So I decided to go find an honest broker.  But where to find one?  


Abu tig marina in El Gouna, of course… where else?


As you can see, there are many people here who are very experienced in dealing with honest brokers.



So I walked around some, but quite honestly I was a little bleary, and did not find any honest brokers around.  


It must be because the honest broker bars in Abu Tig marina were discoing  the night away on the 2nd day following the Jerusalem announcement.


No worries.


I just looked at a distant island, and told myself I must go there one day.



Then I walked through this lovely archway, and immediately thought I have to write a think piece post about Christopher Alexander to prove I’m deep.



I soon dropped the idea however, and instead went to buy fresh croissants to have with my morning coffee.

At least I found an honest breakfast.


leaving america