egyptian parrot

Babaghan in colloquial Egyptian Arabic means parrot.

Most people don’t know this, but there is a parrot in El Gouna, Egypt.  He hangs out in the dining room of the villa I’m renting for the next 4 weeks.

Now before I continue, to my wife in America, whose store mascot is in fact a Florida parrot, and who not doubt’ll be reading  this post:  your regular email account is full!

And now back to expat stories of the Red Sea.

So yesterday they displayed on a makeshift stage in Basin 1 of Abu Tig marina the FIFA World Cup trophy.  There was a lot of traffic in the area, and a big line for people wanting to get a chance to view it.

I went down there to get some supplies from Bestway, but stayed in the Basin 2 marina at 7th Star to have a Spaghetti Bolognese. It was not as tasty as I remembered it from months past.

Sitting three tables away by the entrance was a large Egyptian family.

The men of course were  on their smartphones the whole time, while the women — some of whom where in hijab attire — talked and ignored their children running around. Now this was an Egyptian family, and their kids were all speaking to one another in accented English. I mean it sounded like they didn’t even know Arabic. Then a group of young Egyptian girls and their beaux came in and sat down; same deal.

As I left 7th Star, a bunch of older Egyptian bodocious tatas decked out sleek black sleet gowns slinked by, no doubt on their way to some function at one of the dance clubs around here.

I walked back home with a few cans of foul medames, and went to sleep concerned about the search lights up in the sky: that was always a sign of impending trouble when I lived in Abu Tig marina itself.

But nothing happened. There was a fireworks display around 11pm but that piffled out in short order.

I went to sleep with the windows open, giving me a view of the cove in front of the villa that leads to the Red Sea itself.

The night was calm, and a light breeze made the wind chimes on the verandah tinkle as I drifted off to sleep. It’s odd how the sea air in Gouna does not smell of salt.

Soon, I found myself in a dream with the parrot from the living room downstairs.

He told me about this house, and who did the carpentry work, and all about it’s management layer, and those who worked for it who were fired, and much other largely sordid supposedly inside info about what goes on in general with the rental of Gouna homes that only parrots know.

Good thing all is well with America, where it’s normal for the President of the United States to hire Hulk Hogan’s lawyer to represent him in court against a porn star

I woke up around 6am, made Turkish coffee, and gazed out at the pink sunrise over the Red Sea.  No mosquitoes last night, and absolute quiet all night.

I decide to heat up some foul, and turned on Gouna Radio for some eclectic chill music.

This was going to be a good day.

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So far, so good?

gouna egypt

Now this is what I call an entrance

Here are my first impressions of the new villa in Gouna, Egypt, that I moved into yesterday. I will be staying here a month, making it a 7-month stay in my first foray overseas as an expat from America.

It is quite obvious from the news with each passing day that something increasingly sinister is going on in the United States. This is going to play into the decision by my wife and I to return to Gouna in October for what may end up being a 9-month stay, but is far from being the only consideration for such a move. I have a couple of weeks before I have to tell the real estate agent we want to book the place in the Fall long term; this way the joint doesn’t get rented out from under us.

Last night I slept in the bedroom on the top floor of the villa; it has a commanding view of the cove and the Red Sea in the distance.  Bad mistake.  Though the bed was nice and big, I woke up at 2AM with terrible lower back pain.  I should not have risked sleeping on a bed with as soft a mattress. I took a blanket and spent the rest of the night on the floor in the living room in with CNN on. By morning, the back situation had improved. Luckily there are two other bedrooms in the villa, and the larger of the two with an equally pleasant lagoon view has a nice big bed with a hard mattress. That’s where I’ll be sleeping tonight.

gouna egypt

View of the back terrace and pergola

I am back again to being near Abu Tig marina.  But unlike last time (Sept – Dec), I am on a cove that is on the other side of the marina. My previous stay at Abu Tig was a nightmare, due to all the noise.  The situation here is quite different.

Even though there was a lot of noise in the marina due to some apparently by-invite-only World Cup display event at the same theater where they had the film festival ceremonies last year, the dawsha (racket) was definitely bearable — thanks to a greater distance from Abu Tig, and houses on the other side of the cove that block the noise, which was not the case when I was renting the apartment in the marina itself during my first 3 months in El Gouna.

gouna egypt

I plan to swim here this afternoon

I think I finally will be able to swim in Gouna (beyond the one time in late September when I paddled about on Mangroovy Beach).  This cove is perfect for taking morning or afternoon dips. With both Abu Tig marina and downtown Gouna within easy walking distance, I should finally be able to make additional headway attacking the fat belly monster issue.

gouna egypt

the cove in front of my villa, and the Red Sea a few hundred feet away. The Sheraton hotel grounds are on the right

Let’s see how it goes.  I really like this place, even though there were issues with the front door (the lock does not work properly), and one of the bathrooms was running continuously; in addition, there was an issue with one of the windows in the dining room. But I called the real estate agent handling the property, and he immediately arranged for Orascom to fix it, which happened this morning.

Overall, I would give the place a B+ (for the view and location).

gouna red sea

It’s kinda windy up here!

It does not get an A because the owner tried to be too clever by half with odd carpentry (leading to unstable window treatments and weird verandah glass doors that tilt backwards if you turn the handle a certain way) and overly elaborate electrical circuitry schemes (for instance, you have to specifically activate with its own button each separate plug connector in every wall socket).

Nevertheless, so far, so good, with one important caveat:  the front door was left open for an hour when they changed the locks, and critters from the garden flew in. So now the place has gone from being bug free to hosting these massively irritating skeeters and other strange flying insects that abound in Gouna.

gouna egypt

They flew in from here

In addition, a huge fly and a wasp flew in when I opened the verandah doors for a few minutes to let in some fresh air.  It does not have a screen.

I have grown rather weary of having to constantly deal with this sort of thing in Gouna, and I am already starting to dread the approach of evening when they will pester me for hours on end. Maybe this just isn’t the right place for us after all, despite how much I like so many things here in Gouna, and Egypt in general.

Exactly 30 days before I leave on Saturday, April 14th.

Will it be for good?

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Goodbye, Sandy

gouna cat

My beautiful little girl

I had a little talk with Sandy yesterday. I told her that it was our last full day together. We spent the afternoon on the 3rd floor balcony and watched the sun set over the mountains. She came in to the house last night, and slept on the couch in the living room near me. In the morning, I fed her and gave her water, and then she went up to the laundry porch to have her traditional post breakfast nap. The pool guy came by and I gave him some money and a big bag of cat food and told him to put some food in her bowl every morning and also make sure she has fresh water every day. I had already placed her bowls outside, and he took the cat food bag and secured it in a storage area that he uses. I shall miss Sandy, a lot. I took her in when she was just a little baby and being harassed by a larger cat. I protected her, and fed her, and though she is still quite feral, we have developed an emotional bond. But now, it is time for me to go. I thought about taking her to the new place, but this villa in West Golf is her home. It is what she knows, and she will have food there until the owner arrives on the 25th of March. She is a big girl now, though still quite gentle with me; but she can defend her place in the sun: I’ve seen her do it. She can also do amazingly graceful acrobatics, climbing up and down various parts of the house. It shall be a rough life for her at first while I am gone, and she is all alone. The other night she came back from a midnight foray with a cut nose. But that West Golf villa is her home, and I will not take her to my new place, where she may not know how to survive; and besides, I would have to leave her in a month anyway. I will not allow myself to get maudlin about her. I took care of her when she needed help, and in return she provided me with gentle companionship during my three-month stay in West Golf. But now, she must learn to either make it on her own, or find someone else to adopt. She is a beautiful cat, so I don’t think that will be much of a problem. I moved into the new place this morning. I left without waking her up from her morning snoozzie. I am glad she did not come to the car and watch me leave. She often did that when I took the bus to go to downtown Gouna, and would wait by the gate in the front garden for me to return. She was always still there when I did, even if I was away for hours. Goodbye you gentle little girl. I miss you already, and will never forget you; but I want you to forget all about me, because this time, I am not coming back.

Here are some initial pics of the new place. This is one fantastic villa. Check out the one with the Egyptian swallows. skimming my neighbor’s pool for a sip of water. Sandy would have been very interested in them.




leaving america