Neither ice cold, nor in Alex

We arranged to collect our Lybian visas from the consulate in Alexandria. The paperwork was processed in Tripoli, and inevatably took longer to come through than it should. We quite enjoyed not doing much and hanging out in art deco cafes. Llwelyn, instead of feeling that not having read the Alexandria quatet diminished his enjoyment of the experiance, was so taken by the atmospheare he decided he could write his own book about the city. Slightly after we got board our paperwork came through and we skipped of to the consulate, like lambs gamboling en rout to the abatour. much to our suprise the conulate told us to fill in some forms and come back next week.
Our visa service provider assured us the wasnt anything to worry about so we hopped on a bus to Siwa, an oasis anoyingly close to Lybia, where we cycled around looking at ruins qnd cooling of in guide-book-blue springs.
Prehaps you can see where this is going; the consulate said Tripoli had revoked our visas. We spoke to our visa providers in Tripoli, who confermed everything was OK. Over the last week, which we spent in Alex waving forms outside the consulate, we have hered every single plausable exscuse for them not stamping our 400 doller visas into our passports. weve had a good range of totaly unbelivable reasons as well.

After six days of consulate fun we were overcome by rightious anger, bordam induced mania and the realisation that we couldnt imagine life without daily consulate bothering. Obviosly we needed to escape, so booked flights to Tunisia. I was worried about how quickly Id become compleatly ok with boardom and routien. Then as we booked our flights we noticed the meal options included a bland food option. If the are people out there who find a standad airoplane meal too exciting I have a long way to go before turning into a total drone.

Tunis seems strange after Egypt. Somehow by seeming so European its very forign. Things seem to shut at night; people drink alchool in the streets, the ice cream is kick ass. But then when we returned to our hostel after a spot of shisha in the old city a weding was underway in the hostals commen room. We escaped it into a Gaza solidarity thing where we were molested by drunks. It seems like Tunis has multipal personality disorder; but it could be that anything other than the Lybian cosulate is too confusing for me to deal with.

Sorry about the spellng and punctuation. This keyboards been compiled by someone who values originality in key placement, the keys stick, the punctuation marks are disguised as other kinds of punctation marks and the spell checker is in French.

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Egypt Vs Syria. 3 differences.

Egypt finds American wrestling hypnotic. I never saw a Syrian cafe with wrestling on TV.

Syria doesn’t have the idea that one can where flip flops outdoors. This is reflected in the language, they call them slippers. Syria is as surprised to see ‘slippers’ in the street as we would be to see some one whereing their pink, fluffy numbers on a bus. The only person in Egypt not wearing flip flops is Llwyelyn, who says he’s traveling so lightweight he can’t take any.

In Syria women were everywhere. Even in early June one saw rich girls in posh cafes and students flirting with each other, despite the revolution turning into a war. Cairo has women. Aswan and Luxor have children or mothers, nothing in between. Hear in Alex their are trendy young things, but even so womens hair surprises us in a way it didn’t in Damascus.

More dead sheep-part 1

Egypt has been a bit too amazing really. Sight-seeing takes up most of our day, then in the evenings the Egyptians that adopt us in which ever place we happen to be take us on all sorts of adventures. If local hospitality doesn’t end up with us eating sheep’s guts or climbing mountains under the light of the full moon we collapse into bed, too tiered to turn adjectives into sentences.

During Eid al Adhar things really got a bit out of hand. We spent most of the holiday in Luxor, where we woke up with the Mezzuien on the Friday, the 26th and the first day of Eid. Prayers were broadcast over the loud speaker, but both the size and enthusiasm of the congregation made this unnecessary. Like anyone right at the beginning of a major holiday people were too excited to sleep and, instead of going back to bed, after prayers they cranked up a sound system. When the boys gave up on bed and joined me on the balcony they were amazed by how small the crowd outside was, but what was lacking in numbers was compensated for by feeling.

Except for the solitary sheep, hobbled up outside. It didn’t look at all keen on the water and grass the local boys, all wearing new galabayas, were trying to interest it in. When we went down for breakfast the lovely man who owns the Fontana Hotel told us it was his sheep, and he’d sacrifice it just as soon as we’d eaten breakfast. I thought maybe he waited so as not to put us off our food, but it turned out to be so we could watch. Gerard doesn’t like dead things.

I was impressed that they put the sheep over a floor drain in the hotel before doing the deed. Even so the was more than enough blood for everyone to dip theire hands into and print them on the walls, something I didn’t see in Syria.

We headed out in search of coffee, but instead found a sheep being skinned. We stopped to marvel at the high standard of butchery on display, but also to listen to the music that soundtracked the sheep’s dismemberment.

We love Egyptian music. Despite it being everywhere we cannot get enough of it. Not even deep pro Syrian prejudice can make me say Levantiane pop is better. Egyptian music is just so dammed dancy. And we ended up dancing. A lot.

We were about 15 years older than anyone else dancing, until three lads got bored of lounging against a car looking cool and jumped into the circle. They had a routine that they must have really practiced; they were extremely good.

The sun continued its journey across the sky. The patch of shade we danced in shrank and the mud and blood started drying up. Women gave me water that tasted of Nile and I’m too polite to refuse in an attempt to stop me dieing of heat exhaustion. Someone had the sense to pull the plug, and we were sat down and fed tea. The dancing turned out to just be a prelude to our Eid adventures, but as the moon is now well across the sky and the internet cafe is shutting the rest will have to wait.