the view from my new terrace

It’s V-day, or villa day; at 7am on a Saturday, I have a three-hour wait ahead of me, before the real estate agent for the rental apartment arrives.  I expect here to hand me my deposit in dollars, and that I will have to the final utilities bill in Egyptian LE.

Then, I shall grab my Che Guevara army knapsack, a plastic bag filled with some dirty laundry, and take a tuc-tuc to my new home, a villa in a quiet part of the Red Sea upscale resort town of El Gouna in Egypt.

I may not have an internet  connection for a day or two — even though I have gone by the telecom office in Abu Tig marina several times this week to remind them to switch my contract to the new place.  This being Egypt, I expect this will become a big hassle, unless I go by again today on my way to the villa to remind them for a third time.  Earlier this week, they cut off my internet connection, even though I’m already paid for 3 months in advance.

So  to my friends and family… if you don’t hear from me via email for a few days, no worries, I will get things sorted out in no time.

The obscenity that is the hate-mongering Trump presidency is starting to recede into deep personal irrelevance, despite the enormous damage it is doing to everything that matters.

I do not think there is much of a chance of the Ds obtaining a majority in Congress in 2018, and thus I expect more of the same for the foreseeable future. Until the millenials wake up and wrest control once and for all from the cynical plutocratic geezers who currently the country, there is not much hope.

If the villa works out, I plan to return in October with my tennis ninja wife, and stay for another 6 months, inshalla.

Meanwhile, there is a new touristy travel puff piece that appeared in the NY Times yesterday,  If you want to get a sense of the real Cairo, you may wish to read this. And pay attention to this story, if your travel plans include going to Hurghada,

Last night was very bad, again, in terms of the noise from the Aurora night club.  I am completely knackered, and shall probably doze off this afternoon by the pool (see the pic above) as I recover from a 3 month ordeal (basically I have not slept normally since arriving in Egypt in mid September).

I look forward to having the bags under my eyes gradually dissipate, as I fall into a more normal sleep pattern (I like to go to bed around 11pm and wake up at dawn).

I do expect noise at the villa between Xmas and New Year’s, as villa owner rent out their places for holiday revelers, but after that, for the next few months, I expect utter calm, as winter sets in, and the tourists stay away till Spring.

A hermit’s idea of heaven, that.

leaving america


This must be the place

This is where I shall soon be transformed into Dr. Relaxo

Finally, the day to move my suitcases to the new villa arrived.

At noon, the real estate agent showed up promptly, as previously agreed.  The zatouna (meaning small olive, Egyptian slang for something small and ridiculous) apartment where I have lived during the last 3 months was particularly cold and damp last night, and I had woken up with a slight sore throat.

But I had already packed, and spent a lot of time doing laundry (sheets and towels) and cleaning up, during the nightly noise hour, so that when the apartment real estate agent (as opposed to the villa one) shows up tomorrow at 10am, everything will be spick and span and ready to go — meaning I get my nice hefty dollar deposit back, no problemo.

This is where my wife will probably sit and stitch for hours

So I hauled my valises into the car, and we drove to the other end of El Gouna.

What a difference!

No noise, no cars, no vans, no buses, no tourists walking around talking loudly, no workmen banging away doing demo work in nearby flats, no nothing.

Just blue sky, blue water (the villa is on the water), and birds.

the little building on the left is used for storage — the white villa next door is empty

I checked that everything inside the villa was in order, including the TV.  It was, and this time tomorrow, well more around 7pm, I shall be kicking back watching Real Madrid beat Gremio in the world cup final.


I also double checked the bus situation.

It’s a cinch. The bus stop is a five-minute walk away, but no buses go by the house. The first bus leaves Downtown Gouna at 9am and arrives where the villa is at 9:15. There is a siesta hour between 3 and 5 PM. Then service resumes till midnight.  Cost of a monthly ticket is 145 LE, or around 6 dollars.

6 dollars.

To get to the tennis club, all my wife would have to do is transfer to the Marina line at the Downtown bus station , and that bus will drop her off right in front of the tennis club.  Easy peasy, no problemo, and no need for bicycles or cars or tuc tucs.  However. the villa real estate agent gave me the private number of a tuc tuc driver whom my wife and  I can call whenever I need immediate transportation.

Gated entrance to our beautiful new villa

I can’t wait to move in tomorrow.  Because it faces South, the nice warm sun bathes the terrace and the house itself with a warmth that makes my creaky old knees want to cry after spending so many nights sleeping on a stone floor in a damp cold flat in Abu Tig.

I look forward to basking in the sun with my beloved wife and just enjoying life…. as it should be.

Unfortunately, I have to wait till Saturday Dec 29 before she arrives, but the days will go by fast, now that I am about to leave Abu Tig mania, and decompress to the max in what I have been looking for all my life, a nice villa by the sea in a quiet, out-of-the-way place.


leaving america



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