Day 35: Time Is For Amateurs

It seems my personal technological meltdown (not to mention “Dahabification”) is officially complete, as today, during my early-morning snorkel session, my “waterproof” Timex clapped out and refused to restart.

So, for those keeping score, that makes: Camera down; laptop down (at least for Dahab-internet-use – otherwise it’s fine); timekeeping device down.

Hah! You can’t catch me, modern technology – I’ll get away one way or the other, I will!

Ffft. And I’ll tell you right now, I’ve failed in my efforts to score a borrowed underwater camera with which to share the wonders of my little snorkeling expeditions.

Here, picture this – but multiply it over and over and over for as far as the goggles can see, going down deep deep into where the ocean goes navy-blue and then black, down to what looks like at least 40 feet from the refracted sunlight I use up near the surface where I float. Also, add a few zebra fish, some flat, electric-blue and neon-yellow swimmers, and one somewhat intimidating, long, thin, gray fellow with a nose like a meat skewer. Oh! And throw in several of those really sketchy black sea-urchin types (Janie, I think these are the “vana” that the surfer crowd in Hawaii would speak of wide-eyed with terror) spiking out from between the coral, with long onyx needles that I’m certain would sting like the dickens should I make the mistake of grazing against them. There, all that, plus this:

marsaalam2.jpg

Worth the damn watch, I say.

Actually, timelessness notwithstanding, today’s snorkeling was enhanced by a random act of kindness by the man who rents me my goggles and snorkel every day for a whopping five Egyptian pounds a pop (less than a dollar). Today he took a look at my hacked-up feet and insisted that I also take a free pair of those dorky “reef-walker” shoes that my sister and I would never have been caught dead in on the beach growing up: Hot pink, rubber, tire-treaded slip-ons that are as geeky as geeky can be, but which definitely allowed me to be a lot more intrepid in my reef-explorations today. And gratis, because, according to the kind snorkel-rental man, I have “a nice Egyptian smile.” Well, gosh. Thanks, sir – you too.

Other than that, not much to report. While sipping Stellas last night at the beachside Neptune Cafe with a handful of backpackers and local hotel-workers, I had the great displeasure of watching some poor she-cat get gang-banged by what appeared to be Dahab’s entire male feline population… poor thing – she certainly didn’t seem to want it. Of course, cats being cats, the real displeasure was not so much in the watching as in the hearing… oy oy oy.

Tomorrow night it’s back to Cairo, on the red-eye bus, to arrive early Monday morning. I’ll probably be in the water right up until the bus pulls out of the station, so I’m not sure I’ll make time to post.

As blissful as Dahab is, I have to say I’m excited to get back to the big bad city for these last two days before I fly back to Brussky on Wednesday morning. It’ll mean a return to long sleeves and pants in the 37-degree heat, choking on the fumes of a thousand cigarettes and exhaust pipes all aimed in my direction, getting rammed by crowds on packed sidewalks, feeling my heart jump into my throat as kamikaze taxi-cabs miss me by an inch and going deaf from too many competing car horns, shouting voices and Arabic pop tunes streaming out of shop windows, but… well… I’ve missed it all. Cairo’s a rough lover, but a good one.

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4 Responses to “Day 35: Time Is For Amateurs”

  1. lulu Says:

    Couldn’t get your “marsaalam2jpg” to open, but no big deal — your description did the trick and I now have a vivid image of your watery wanderings. Ugh, yes, “vana” — stay away, even WITH the oh so kindly proffered reef shoes. As for the Dance of the Cats, we DO know that the wahine in question was enjoying every minute of it, despite all the Caterwauling…may reentry into Cairo go smoothly. xox

  2. El Matamoros Says:

    In your list of bits of modern techno-gear that you’ve been relentlessly shedding before our transfixed if faintly horrified eyes, you neglected to mention your cell-phone with which you didn’t even begin this trek. (Even though it doesn’t work for calls, I wonder if it still can be used to tell time… or are you reduced to sundials? Which reminds me, d’you still remember how to rub sticks together to make fire?)

    Actually, I think your forced de-coupling from modern technological gadgets is a salutary thing — we should all be forced to undergo it from time to time. Builds character…. (By the way, do you need a wake-up call for the red-eye to Cairo? We could try shouting very loudly from our end….)

  3. the 8th grade queen Says:

    hey there banan! not nearly as witty as your so well disguised rents but just wanted to say i miss you tons, am so proud of your bright egyptian adventure, and can’t wait to see you in a few weeks.

    Ella and brian were just here for a few days (i loved him– he totally won my vote). They ship off to chile next week…What mobile little cats we’ve become! I arrive in paris on august 2.

    so so excited.

    Maybe we can convince thcloe to come for a mayo and ketchuped belgian or parisian feast this thanksgiving, yeah yeah?

    much love missy
    and wander safe

  4. jfjasia2008 Says:

    haha, dad’s comments are so funny 🙂 you are indeed a nomad without a sun dial. as for the reef shoes, i gotta say, a) we’re older now so it’s okay don’t worry, b) having coral growing in your feet is no fun at all, and c) trust me, i now know the horrors of foregoing vanity in order to be comfortable in new and unsavory climates. i’ve broken two pairs of flip flops in two days and am officially done trying in this monsoon-like rain – i will revert back to my orthopedic sandals , hotness be damned. desperate times, man.

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