13 Sep 2005


I just realized that I have changed my Friday routine for four succeeding weeks so far. It is not a 'routine' in the boring sense of the word, but the 'calm', 'relaxing' side that a routine can bring to one's state.

I don't remember how I came about to invent the new routine, but it happened. One place pulled the other and they all fall in place with no effort or planning on my part. They fit perfectly that I found myself leaving Cilantro, naturally going to Diwan and then normally still walking to the Deals pasta place. All three places are in the same area. 2 minutes away from one another forming a triangle with Deals being their pivot. It feels like the three places are from the same family each running his own business. The harmony between them, of course as I personally experience it, is interesting. In fact, I actually see familiar faces doing the same routine. Not particularly the exact cylce or order, but bits and pieces of it. Half of it at times. Reversed orders. We stumble upon one another. Raise our eyes in recognition. Draw a small smile that, 'hey. Weren't youin ...? Yes yes. Ok.' It is usually fun. One after the other we rotate around eachother in what seems like a musical chair game. The only difference is that we are not in competition, and the only similarity is our sincere attempt to find a place for ourselves where we can just sit and not make someone else stand.

I don't remember my previous Fridays, the formative stage of the new routine but I remember this last one. I did because I enjoyed myself so much that I yearned to do that again, only to realized that I have been doing this for 3 weeks already. Could also be that last Friday I was not interrupted with W. and V. continous urge to drag me to the movies at 3 O'clock and then go have supper. Could also be that I left home at 10 in the morning and only came back at 5 and did not realize that all the time inbetween had passed unnoticed and I was not bored. Could be that Cilantro and Diwan were very interesting, each for its absolutely different reasons that sure fit their nature, that got me consumed and entertained to the maximum.

That day, I stayed at Cilantro for 2 hours. I was mainly reading newspapers. Ahram weekly was awesome that day. Full of tons of great articles. I hardly find it there, or maybe because I never seeked it out. It took me almost 45 minutes to finish what I thought was interesting. Daily star and Herald something are cool too. I got a french newspaper from Ahmed, half price because it is last's week. So this took care of most of the time.

But what was more interesting was the family that joined me on the same table. Parents with their daughter and her husband and her little kid, Marmar or something. They were going to the church after that and they were just doing some shopping at MM. The father actually bought a cool shoes, 70% off, in case anyone wants to go catch the good bargin. What interests me about the family is the simplicity in dealing with one another in public. They were all very calm. The daughter was seated on the loosely screwed table and she was jumping up and down, making all the coffee cups dance and spill the coffee. My cup of coffee was among the dancers too. Splashing here and there. I just looked up, cleaned the coffee and continued reading the paper. Then Marmar would do it again. OK Marmoura, would you stop it. No. She won't. Would grandpa tell her to do so. No. Mommy? No. GrandMa? No still. Papa? No no! Me? No. Sounds like they enjoyed her so much, and certainly I wont dare tell her to stop. Not because of any reason other than I was just enjoying the family. But would their ever be an end to this spoiled behaviour? Well, yes. Well, No.

They got her a Hot choclait. It was huge and COLD. ICED. The girl, by the way we are talking about a 5 years old kiddo here, took a huge swallow of the drink, find it too cold, and instead of swallowing it, she simply splashed it in her father's face. Papa would get mad? No. He just took a tissue cleaned his glasses and the only thing he worried about was Marmar's new dress that was now all stained with choclate. The mother was calm. Just sitting infront of me, sipping her drink and didnt raise a finger. Very calm mom, but those who drive me personally crazy.

On the other side of me, sat this Absolutely beautiful girl. A little 6 year old, tanned skinned girl, brownish eyes, curly frizzy hair combed into two 'dafayer', pinkish drink, wonderful smile. She was with her father, drinking her juice and flipping through a magazine. She was absolutely cute. Calm. Naughty. On her own. All subtle. What a personality? I have seen this couple (father and daughter) the last 2 times I was at cilantro. Oh, well, this is my type of girl. If I ever had a girl I would love her to be like that. The attitude at the very least. If the face too, I will be more than thankful. She is Adorable. Well, seeing this girl just put me in the mood I guess.

I left Cilantro and walked to Diwan. I had no intention to stay for long there. I browsed through the Islam section, got a cool book by Espisito, 'Islam straight path' and looked through it. A good book actually for a moderate overview about Islamic teaching and goes into the current situation. A brief, simple version of Armstrong's book, the battle for God. I browsed through it, read what I wanted. Jotted down some notes in my notebook and placed it back.

I went to the new arrivals stand and was teeming with Edward Sai'd books and collections. Oh, no. I picked a huge book of his, a collection of articles he had written on many topics. From philosophy, politics, music, islam, religion, artists, personal....Lovely book. I stood up reading some article I found interesting, then sat on the floor, than got cold so I ran to my house got a jacket and came back, picked the book and literally spaced out for at least 2 hours. Edward, you are just absolutely amazing.

He had a wonderful debate between Nietzsche book, 'the will to power', the title I named my blog after, because this book inspired me at some point, and another philosopher, Conard or cornard (dont know him). Ed's analysis of how each one defined his audience was absolutely beautiful. Simple still. I could not help but write down a whole page. Beautiful how he talks about music, value of words, depth of communication, real listening and comprehending, debating, arguments, controversy topics and selective listening. Very touching more than anything. Touching because it is very human not because it is an analysis of 'what you should do', but an analysis of 'who we are' and 'what shapes us', and more accurately, 'what happened to us.' Couldn't help but remember my friend H. who was telling me the other day about how Galal Amin spoke about 'making music and writing for the Mass' and how this affected the music, the movies and our media. Yes, we so much degraded our taste and senses and everyone is contributing in it. Everyone talks about anything. No depth of knowledge, no depth of thoughts, no passion to explore and challenge oneself. Just a media created from fear and lazyness to see beyond, listen underneath and taste within.

There was other beautiful section. One I re-read about Tahya Karioka, my forever dancer. Another fellow scorpio! It is a great book. Expensive. Hopefully will get it sometime or ask for it on my birthday.

After I finished reading, I just had this plain look on my face. I was still in this silent mood. Took my stuff and automatically walked to Deals. I cleared my throat. Collected my brain and ordered a Lasagne. Changed the order to salad. Then back to Lasagne again. Changed my seat. From the small table. To the stool. To another table. The lasagne was great. I finished the whole plate. I guess I was super hungry. But, again, it is a nice place for any who like pasta's. Sure better and quieter than Dido's. It was not crowded except of couple of students from AUC. I finished my dish. Paid. And was walking out when I met W., V. and R. They have been attempting to call me but I had my cell on silent. Oh well. I asked them to come to my place after they finish eating and we can watch a movie. They did later. And it was fun actually.

So here is Nietzshe, fuck the snobbish maniac if you dont get what he is talking about, but please don't call him a Kafir boy, 'One doesn't only wish to be understood when one writes; one wishes as surely not to be understood. It is not an obligation to a book when anyone finds it impossible to understand. Perhaps that was part of the author's intention. He didnt want to be understood by just 'anybody'. All the nobler spirits and tastes select their audience when they wish to communicate; and choosing that, one at the same time erects barriers aganist others. All the more subtle laws of any style have their origin at this point: they at the same time keep away, create distance, forbid 'entrance', understanding--while they open ears of those whose ears are like ours.'


Blogger LouLou said...


Just love the way you turn ordinary experiences like eating lunch or having coffee into something so interesting. Maybe it's because you take your time & really observe & take in your surroundings. Me I just rush from place to place.

I think my husband is like you. We always argue because he likes to have time to enjoy the atmosphere & long before that am restless & want to move on & get to all the other things on my mind. Will really try harder this time to learn from you.

9/13/2005 02:17:00 pm  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Very well communicated Haal. A deep come back.

9/13/2005 03:24:00 pm  
Blogger Charismatic Soul said...


i just love the way you describe things, very entertaining. You make people reading your experiences feel like they're living them with you.

keep it up.

9/13/2005 03:33:00 pm  
Blogger zoss said...

"One doesn't only wish to be understood when one writes; one wishes as surely not to be understood... "

Brilliant! I feel like if nobody had said it, then I would've at some point -- maybe not in the same words, but definitely in the same spirit.

(which essay (article) was this from?)

9/13/2005 06:49:00 pm  
Blogger sabry said...

I'm impressed! I appreciate your thoughts and writings, more importantly, all these blogs that i have read in the last couple of days ( I literally did nothing except reading the blogs) showed me that there is still hope in Egypt! I was contemplating a move back to Egypt (just quitting my job here and doing anything in Egypt, there is nothing in Egypt for my field) and reading these blogs makes me almost sure I will be back in 2006. Thank you very much for sharing!

9/13/2005 10:50:00 pm  
Blogger Jane said...

Haal, very much enjoyed your post. It makes for a nice short story. Must take a moment to boast here-the second girl you saw at Cilantro, the one so well behaved and respectful of being in public? That is my son. I am always proud of him. While others scream and make a fuss, he is considerate of others and conscious of himself.

9/13/2005 10:51:00 pm  
Blogger Alina said...

Haal, your new Friday habit sounds amazing. I would like to make that permanent as well. Unfortunately my favorite book store personnel would go crazy if I stayed there for more than 20 minutes and skim through their books!

Another thing, yesterday I had lunch on my own (I used to have eating alone) and actually enjoyed seeing the people around me. It was no fancy place, jus a Mc in the subway stop where I change routes, but I will definitely do it again.

9/14/2005 05:54:00 am  
Blogger haal said...

Thanks. Am a little surprised what is interesting about that? But, you know while there, I dont know that I grasp all what is around. It is an unconscious and partly conscious experience.

Nothing deep about anything. The Nietezsche thing is but the rest is just happening everywhere. But thanks!

Charismatic Soul,
It is entertaining. Thanks.

The book is the will to power, he said pp.550 but I didnt find it there. Maybe another edition. It is a good book btw. It is not a book but a collection of notes and small paragraph. In my opinion, more interesting this way. You get what you get and dont understand what you dont. Try it.

Well, they are thoughts. Why would you come in 2006. You will find nothing more than blogs!

Thanks! I am sure your kid is cute. What do you call a hair that is combed into 2 braids (Sp)? is this the word?

You bet! Mcdees subway branch would be just the perfect place to enjoy almost anything! All those in and out. I used to sit in the subway station in NY whenever when in a bad mood. You jsut see a lot. The action just gets inside you, stored and then later you would want to burst it out.

Not sure, why I wrote this comment this way!

9/14/2005 09:45:00 am  
Blogger sabry said...

I already knew very well that nothing is organized in Egypt, nevertheless, my main deterrent from making this move is what you called "TE". So, just knowing that there are some ppl that can and are open for discussions on different issues would make it a pit easier. I enjoyed many of the arguments you guys had, seeing some blogs like those of mohamed and Dalulla just to mention the differences. Although there are many things I do not agree with, I still enjoy reading the arguments! I hope i will be able to write more and join your discussions.

9/14/2005 01:42:00 pm  
Blogger Mohamed said...

To me its deep, to deep people its trivial ofcourse. Its all relevant. Its not that its happening everywhere, its how its being observed, described and connected. Anyways, thanks for the post.

9/14/2005 01:54:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

Matzou'ish tayeb. Deep deep. Trivial trivial. OK! :) I was just curious what makes you think it was deep. Now that I know, indeed it is too deep!
Thanks for the comment

9/14/2005 04:56:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...


As Mo from Cairo said, TE are everywhere and they rule. So no great hope to overcome them. You can see for yourself the endless arguments and the state of mind of some. So, if you think you will come to egypt to a continously thrown rock in the pond, then welcome home! Just dont get dizzy.

Good luck

9/14/2005 04:58:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

eih el barmaga elly ana feiha deih. fee eih ya Haal. oh well. I am just maybe too light headed! eshta 3alekoum ya geda3an.

9/14/2005 05:59:00 pm  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Boram awy :)

Hope I answered part of your question. Its partly the way you observed others around you, visually describing the day, mixing your routine with Neesha, Said and Armstrong, running for your jacket like you excused them and came back to join them again, seeing the coffee cups dancing, and the flow that allowed a simple person like myself to actually follow all this and get into Ed's articles along with Neesha's thoughts. Considering that you were just describing your day, its a neat post and very well visually communicated, balash deep.

9/14/2005 06:20:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

thanks! really appreciate the feedback. i seriously didnt see all that coming. as you know me, i'm an ordinary egyptian, seeing things only from behind my glasses.

safee ya labn ba'ah (u know what i am talking about)

9/15/2005 01:08:00 am  
Blogger Al Sharief said...

"didnt see all that coming"
deep or not, a good and could be entertaining visual com for sure.
You were j
ust in a fine mood.

What was hovering over my head while reading this, that I hanged around the same spots (not from 10 to 5). Gush I could just run on to "haal" the blogger ...

So you are a fan of Ed. Great stuff.

Another thing, your "Will to" is to capture the "within power" the kind that a Historian Scorpio wants? has? or both??
The blog title has no "power"
What is Nietzsche?'s power. May be I'll understand What Ed "Didn't say". All asked with enough passion to know.

Nice flirting with the "Ordinary Egyptian" notion :) As I always say to Mo after such deep thoughts, I 'll also say it to you haal: you are NO ordinary egyptian-(h)

9/15/2005 02:57:00 am  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Haleeb ya 'eshta.

Watch out, once you get the NON-ordinary stamp from Sharief you can't fight it back.

Tab wallahy el3azeem I'm ordinary ya Sharief, don't know why you're confused about me! I think its obvious.

9/15/2005 09:12:00 am  
Blogger Al Sharief said...

Please Explain, MO. I'm sure ther is no confusion from my part.

Who says if you & haal can use & communicate the beautiful "safee ya labn" & "Haleeb ya 'eshta." lingo that you qualify for "Ordinary". Nop.

Me No Stubborn, But If we agree on defining & scoping "Ordinary" Egyptian , then fine with me :). OE.

9/15/2005 01:21:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

So what do you look like in case it happens that we were in the same place.

Yes, I love Edward Sa'id. Love everything about him. In love I am biased.

Will to" is to capture the "within power" wants? has? or both??

Well, both.

I will probably write a post about what Nietzsche will to. Not only he, but me and probably most people.

Com'on al-sharief. You are the Not Oridnary. Seriously. I hardly understand you. I mean, you pick on things that are only to be seen by trained eyes! (what do you think of this flirting). Abouss edak, dont tell me 'not oridnary' flirting :)

Catch you tomorrow hovering

9/15/2005 01:39:00 pm  
Blogger Sarah said...

One again the way you express yourself amaze me. I mean you have a talent: descriptive, expressive, vivid and creative.

Enjoyed the post.

*Thumbs Up*

9/15/2005 06:03:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

Jade, thanks! :)

Now I cant write crappy posts!

9/16/2005 01:23:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like your routine, although I am against the idea of the routine itself "Gemini ba2a ;p"

9/18/2005 04:09:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

I know! :) They are hard to control their 'ever changing'. I can see that from your blog as well.

Hey, your appraisal spirit uplifted me.

9/18/2005 05:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

:))our constant is "change", and this so much fun by the way. Cool...Glad I passed some positive energy after passing a lot of negative one :)

9/19/2005 08:33:00 am  

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