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.




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.”




41 days left!!!



Nowhere Man


Earlier today, I rejigged the HP by placing the British PM’s infamous quote in a position of prominence.

I was browsing the WP reader late last night, basically grazing on South of France foodie or touristic fluff — and somehow stumbled upon a really aggressive alt-right pro chumphead site that actually threatened commentors who dared to troll them back.

I thought to myself, Boy am I going to be glad when I am far away from all that sort of thing.

Then I typed the following la-di-da paragraphs:

If you are a follower of Leaving Amerika, you are probably wondering how my idea for going to Gouna came about.

leaving amerika bong

The Paris Bong

Well, I can now reveal that I first thought of returning to Egypt when someone who looked surprisingly similar to me was doing bongs while hanging out at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris at age twenty and dreaming up the concept of the Order of True Internationals.  I figured it reflected the facts of my life: born in England, grew up in Egypt, emigrated to the United States, lived in France; a multicultural bohemian with national identity problems, when it was still possible to think of Paris or Manhattan in a bohemian way.

I think the fluid identity concept aptly describes people like me to this day   Only I am no longer 20.  And now identity issues of all stripes are a formal area of scholastic study.

I don’t think chumpster-loving Americans are good candidates for inclusive membership in some mythic fraternal Order of True Internationals; particularly those who incessantly pound the nativist drumbeat, think that endtimes are near, global warming a hoax, or have never ventured beyond stateside except to engage in multi-decade wars on Moslem land. This much is probably obvious.

I launched this blog earlier this year. However, I sense that the tenor of my blogging is changing, after only a few months.  I’m starting to think less and less about posting droll bogus lectures about why I am leaving the United States or how I am going to take up windsurfing in Gouna in my 60s. à la Sir Branson.

gouna villa

I might be living here this Fall

The thing is, I’m actually leaving this country.  It is not a joke.  It is not an experiment.  It is not a Junior Year Abroad, as was the case when I lived in Paris and, later, Nice.  It’s what I am going to do, and nothing will stop me from doing so now, unless I faceplant between now and September.

I intend to remain overseas until the evil chump is no longer in office. That could be as long as 8 years, unless a coup takes place, which seems entirely possible at this stage.

If I were to give you advice, it would be this.

If you have decent language skills, a taste for adventure, are relatively young, are not a chumpster, and have a good trade or education:  move to Frankfurt, Paris or Amsterdam. (Forget London, unless Jeremy gets to be PM, in which you should immediately move to Clapham, and hang out at the Cairo Cafe.)

Most likely, if you have an aptitude for tech, you will get a good job fairly quickly.  All you would have to do is go. Macron is waiting with open arms and a firm handshake.

But if you are older, like me, think carefully about such a move, and for God’s sake don’t go to Panama to hide in some US enclave. What’s the point of that?

Quant à moi, I’m just a Nowhere Man, as I have always been, I suppose, but one who can now see the end of the road. I want to do something with my life other than watch America brought to her knees by a vicious claque of 1 per centers and a body politic that has grown inured to unending violence and winner-takes-all politics.

I prefer to remember an America that I really liked, once, a long time ago, when I lived in Manhattan before gentrification. That was a sweet ride. But unlike the Dumpsters, I do not delude myself in trying to turn back the clock to a time when the notion of a tolerant world seemed at hand, if only in my imagination and that of the sorts of people — edgy artisto types to the last! — I hung with in those days.

82 day left.

If I ever do get second thoughts about my decision, all I have to do is take a drive to the local supermarket and witness the road rage on US1.

So, that seemed sort of okay. And then this piece of violent insanity came over the wire just an hour or so ago.


Here we go again.

I have never seen a prosperous Western democracy that is as inflamed with hate and in love with guns as America, and I wish no part of this, although, granted this sort of thing is taking place almost everywhere nowadays.

But the path America is on is clearly not going to end well.

At this point, I am bailing out, I have done my bit marching for peace when I was in my 20s and giving generously to charities in my 40s and now it’s time for US millenials to decide what sort of country they wish to live in.  I’m done with this.

What is America’s future?  I don’t know.  And to a large degree I no longer care.

It is becoming rather obvious that there are enough things about this country that are preventing it from functioning as a normal, advanced, Western society — you can insert your list here, but I would venture that the deeply flawed Electoral College system and the concomitant toxic effect of widespread gerrymandering would be a good starting point — that it seems as though the only resolution is going to be a second civil war, that of course I hope never happens, but which seems increasingly inevitable:  either that, or a schism of such intransigent severity that the United States decides to split itself in two.

I will spare you the lecturing analysis or the pretty little speech that ends with an appeal for gun control in this country.  Red America will never see its way to repealing the Second Amendment; Blue America is probably already there. The twain will never meet on this.

All I can say is that I am lucky I can afford to leave.

gouna kitesurfing

Not a bad way to spend the day

There has never been a terrorist attack in Gouna.  I hope this remains the case; and given what I know of the place, it is likely to remain so.

I can’t wait to be there.

It’s a bubble, yes, but I’m too old to deal with living of the edge of life in the gun lane anymore.