Good News

I arrived in the toilet this morning...

(there's an opening phrase to conjure with...)

... for my wake-up piss, without noticing that I had walked from the bed NOT WEARING SLIPPERS.

This struck me immediately as a Good Sign, one that indicated my feet were no longer quite painful enough to grab my entire conscious attention for 100% of my waking existence.

This is the first time I have been able to walk barefoot without limping, for over a year.

It may be my eternally upbeat and optimistic spirit (did somebody snort?) or it may be that I am so hooked on the painkillers that I am subconsciously doing a Heath Ledger, and unknowingly multi-dosing and doping myself into anodoyne anaesthetic bliss, but this made me feel better about things. Things like life in general, like the fact a 37 year-old colleague has a nasty breast lump, like the fact I haven't written a word on my novel since November, like the junk-trip tomorrow and the inevitable "Let's have an post-junk-trip shower and 'spontaneous' party at E@L's place" and the ensuing mess I'll have to clean up on Sunday...

Who cares people? I can WWWAAAALLLLKKKK!!*


Another thing not to complain about it is the upcoming trip to Egypt, mid-May. Conference Venue is here, on the Red Sea.

Damn, my life's tough. I'll have to make time for some thallasso therapy.

After the conference, I go to Libya and run a product symposium for a few days - should be easy as no-one speaks proper English. I'll just waffle on in sales-jargon designed to hide rather than explain the advanced technological, perspicuital and ultrasound-physical related things in our equipment, with my nasal Aussie accent and my full-speed ahead delivery and they'll nod and smile like they get it (those that stay awake), and then eat all the food and quaff all the drink and ask the salesman how much discount they can get...

Then I'll come back to Cairo and spend 4 days being a tourist.

OK all you weary world travellers, send in some recommended sites to see and some unrecommended unsightly places to avoid.

No point in asking our resident Singapore blogging archeologist, as he has not even been to Egypt. Yet.


* Don't get too carried away, they still hurt a lot. But we ARE getting somewhere I feel, moving towards a better state - just a dull ache (with tingles) and less of the sharp, stabbing, searing, nerve pain I was getting frequently during the first two months post-op.


Posted by: expat@large on Apr 18, 08 | 2:16 pm | Profile


When you say "blogging archaeologist" I hope you have a note of respect...and that should read "published blogging archaeologist" :)

Posted by: Indiana on Apr 18, 08 | 5:59 pm

If your conference is in Hurghada-my advice is to drink heavily. Out side the resort its all down hill. A dusty Arab sh*thole.

On the plus side you can buy a kartouche for any woman or all of the women you want to give one two for a good price. There is great little jewelry shop down town.

Posted by: Skippy-san on Apr 19, 08 | 4:22 am

so glad to hear your feet are not your primary concern any longer, sugar! ;-)

Naguib Mahfouz Cafe

El Hussein
5 El Badistan Lane, Islamic Cairo North (Khan El Khalili Bazaar)

you might like the resto and the area is incredible.

(have you read any of his work, sugar? fascinating look into egyptian life, past and present)

Posted by: savannah on Apr 20, 08 | 3:04 am

Skip: don't think it's that town, but see one dusty Arab shithole, seen them all. Jewelry? E@L doesn't do bling.

Sav: Naguib Mahfouz is one of the few Nobel Prize winners I've not read that much of (like zilch, but know that he was a moderate), and now it turns out I'll need him! Better grab a copy of the trilogy.

So this cafe is nice spot for a beer, grab a bag of kif? Laid back flaneuring from the vantage of a coffee shop is my favorite way to investigate a town, not the tourist must-see rush... So a couple hours reading in the eponymous cafe would be nice break from the museums and giant monuments.

And Sav, you're tops for tips! OK which hotel? (Remember this is MY money)

p.s. Chance that Izzy will be joining me, too.

Posted by: expat@large on Apr 20, 08 | 11:35 am

sitting here thinking, but nothing comes to mind (you know i don't pay for hotel out of my pocket, sugar) i'll ask the mister, he might have a suggestion.

Posted by: savannah on Apr 20, 08 | 5:39 pm

the mena house oberoi has views of the pyramids, but might be costly( 190-225usd) the intercontinental isn't bad and there are 3 hyatts in cairo (grand hyatt is on the nile 195-250usd)...part of the decision is what part of the city do you want to be in.. medium priced would be the oasis, near heliopolis...i sent an eamil to a friend in alexandria to see if he could make a suggestion, as well

Posted by: savannah on Apr 21, 08 | 2:04 am

The Oberoi - if it's only for a few days... Hey, I'm not really a pauper, I just play one on the internet.

I'd love to have time to go to Alexandria too - to search for the truth of my lost love, Justine... and get my revenge on that bastard Balthazar... (or was the good guy? Or were there no bad guys or good guys? Or was the prose so dense I couldn't work it out? It's so long since I read the AQ. Shit, I want to dig them out now...)

Posted by: expat@large on Apr 21, 08 | 2:13 am

you know i adore you because you say things like that, sugar! ;-)

Posted by: savannah on Apr 21, 08 | 3:50 am

Funny you should mention that. I did have another look at the AQ came across as a bit antiquated to be honest.

Posted by: Dick on Apr 21, 08 | 10:21 am

That was meant to be "I play one on the internet".

Sav: ~ bows~

Dick: whither the truth? the reader or the book is antiquated? AQ was always so stylized as Durrell's BIG experiment to find a unique voice for himself, but that style never caught on, so it stands out a very time-specific style - it remains unique. I've been meaning to reread Monsiuer for ages, (which I remember LOVING 25 years ago (unlike the last three of the AQ) - but for the life of me couldn't tell you what's in it) in order to finish the Avignon series once and for all, but have been to distracted. You need a pool, a lounge, no pressure. Waiter feeding you drinks, etc... Same for Proust. Or Pynchon. Or Dorothy L Sayers. (Tom Stoppard's joke.)

Posted by: expat@large on Apr 21, 08 | 11:35 am

Stylized...that's the word I was looking for. Durrell certainly had a unique and very beautiful style but he was never comfortable with the naughty bits. Miller did filth just right and got the lawsuits and the limelight.

I'm looking for 'Sway' by the sway. Hope it doesn't turn out to be another book I should have written.

Posted by: Dick on Apr 21, 08 | 9:36 pm

I did dig out Monsieur - there's coupla tricks Durrell uses - changing tense (the first narrator even admits this brings a dreamlike quality to his story!), quoting someone remembering what someone else had said in an unspecified time, quoting a novelist describing the same scene and saying it was an unreliable depiction: all designed to shift the certainty of things into a mythical or dream-like sense of surreality. It really is multi-faceted narration, equivalent to 60's style lens tricks and disorienting cutting - but without losing the thread of story he slowly builds - that's how Durrell can get away with it. There's a lot of mist and fogs in the start of this book, in Provence in early spring - next section in the desert outside of Cairo, there are mirages, etc... It's a trick, but if you suspend disbelief for a while, it's quite a transportation of consciousness.

Justine in the AQ uses similar tricks.

Everybody uses tricks. I doubt Durrell would get an A+ in a writers workshop, but fuck the homogenizing effect of writers' workshops.

Anyway, who needs naughty bits all the freaking time?

Sway read to me like the product of a writer's workshop - he really does not know London the way you do, you can tell.

Posted by: expat@large on Apr 21, 08 | 11:46 pm

Maybe not but he knows someone at Jonathan Cape a lot better than me...he said jealously.

Posted by: Dick on Apr 22, 08 | 1:27 am


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