The beautiful game

vanishing new york

I went to San Siro last night to watch Real vs Juventus.

Sat next to two wonderful German young ladies, both nurses on vacation here in El Gouna.

Everyone was agog at the revelatory grandeur of Cristiano’s bicycle kick score, but I remember Pelé scoring many such goals, so Zizou was not giving full credit when he said it was one of the most beautiful.

People forget a lot of things.

It’s the tiresome little shits with the shot memories who like to google every assertion you make, as a sort of supplemental artificial intelligence Viagra. Looking for chinks in the armor, I suppose. Confused as to the difference between enunciate and annunciate, they punch their smartphones in renunciation, while talking emptily about how cobots will save the day.

Me, I’m going to be back in the US in 9 days. I will visit my Mum in New York, then go on to rejoin my wife in Florida. Unfortunately, right around the time the orange shithead returns to Mar-a-Bribo with the Japanese PM, Kow Tow Shinzo.

The time for being in Egypt’s El Bahr El Ahmar is almost over. I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw another dinosaur or two before leaving, but that is a’adee, as the melancholic bus drivers continue to complain in Upper Egypt dialect about their worn down faux leather shoes.

It’s difficult to describe exactly how toxic the US seems from afar.

A sea of red, when all I want is Mediterranean blue.

A vile piece of garbage ensconced in the White House, and everywhere the cabal of right-wing front door bangers refuse to loosen their death grip on the throats of the American body politic.

But they will lose in November, and they will lose again in 2020.

Before that, there will much damage, perhaps irreversible.

I have been reading Jeremiah Moss’s Vanishing New York this week. I’m enjoying the stories that Moss researched about the city I have lived in most of my life.

It is as if he is yearning to return to a version of The City that he never actually knew.

I don’t want to sound like some sort of Captain Obvious Father Time crank this morning, but the truth is often you cannot go back.

Usually there is no do over. They will say, be a champion both on and off the pitch; set an example to your children. Shopworn cliches are in abundance.

But despite all the daily sturm and drang around the world, I sense there is a gathering feeling in America to limit the harm that the cheap pimps and arm-chair generalissimos are inflicting.

There is a growing revulsion, a growing disgust, as so-called strong men strut about like drag queens on some sort of ugly fascist parade.

The real drag queens do it for camp.

These spanky boys actually take themselves seriously, perhaps not realizing or caring what absurd martinets they really are. This, as American suckers continue to be taken in by the grand manipulation, which they think resonates, that it is somehow authentic as to who they are, at some absurdly primitive level.

Once in a while, someone like Cristiano will rise high above all others and show the world how the beautiful game should be played.


But for the rest of us, what is our goal in life?

Think about it for a minute, if you’re an expat, or soon to be ex expat. Or even if you go to sleep every night with a packed bag at the ready by your bedside suitcase eyes.

What is your real goal in life right now?

Why do you even exist?

Where is your elusive beautiful game?


leaving america


The desert is a cold place

The view from my villa of sunset in the desert


The desert climate of El Gouna, Egypt is cold at night in winter.  The sun sets remarkably early here in late December, before 5PM; and it gets dark quick once it slips over the mountains.

Then you get 13 hours of darkness, for the sun will not rise again till 6am.

The temperature plummets, once the sun sets.  Today at dawn it was 61F, or 16C. This may not seem so bad in places where it is already snowing, but there is no central heating here. There have been several nights already in the mid 50s.

No fireplace, or firewood.

I suppose you could buy an electric heater, but I don’t like them, and am sure the electricity cost would go through the roof if I had heaters on all night.

The winter desert cold is a peculiar sort of cold.  It is an unexpectedly damp, bone chilling cold; the humidity is 65 per cent today; El Gouna is by the sea.

There is no insulation in the walls, no system of solar panels on the roof to warm the house during the night, and windows that do always protect against the wind.

Many houses in El Gouna have this sort of yellowish polished stone floor surfacing.  While these are excellent in the summer, no doubt, they do add to the considerable coldness in the house in winter.

No place in the house is actually warm during the day, unless you open the large front door that faces east and let the morning sun in.

As a result of it being so cold at night, I have to wrap myself with two thick blankets when I watch TV at night. The only good thing is that this cold seems to have put the mozzies into hibernation.

It is warm and beautiful during the day, in the mid 70s usually, but the pool isn’t heated, so I have not been able to swim in it since arriving here two weeks ago.  Since I am leaving in March, I will probably never get that opportunity, unless I return in October to this place.

This idea has been on my mind for some time.

I truly am aghast at returning to the United States around April, and am quite happy here being far away from the orange circus.

Now that my wife is arriving on Saturday, I shall not be quite as isolated.  I hope the cold and long nights will not bother her too much.

Depending on how things pan out in the months ahead, there are decisions that need to be made, hard ones, with serious consequences, for me and my family.

So, as I look ahead, will 2018 be the year when I say goodbye to a country I have lived in for half a century?

I am going to Cairo in a couple of hours and when I return on Saturday, the good news is that I shall no longer be alone in the cold nights of Egypt’s Eastern Desert on the Red Sea.

leaving america