Friday, July 6, 2012

I Sing The Aria Negatory

There’s a skein of toilet paper affixed like a gonfalon outside my window. Its flitting movement in the breeze caught my eye with some alarm as I live on the roof of a 7 story building and certainly wasn't expecting the sudden addition of such a banner. 

Interesting fact, it seems as though the people in the flat behind me keep pigeons…either that or Alarming fact: a host of pigeons has taken over the flat next door.

If it is not already clear, I'm experiencing a dearth of inspiration as to what to write about. When the one thing I do and think about from 3:00am until I finally collapse everyday is off limits as far this blog is concerned, the remaining experiences and ruminations are necessarily meagre. 

Anyway, speaking of toilet paper, here’s a big ol’ photo dump. (or perhaps not so big, it would take me 10 hours to upload all the pictures I had intended, so...installments forthcoming).

Originally this post was a long and bitter rant about the treatment of western women in Luxor, but once I edited out the most hostile bits, these few words were all that remained…
The Arabic word for “no” is la. When confronted with the forceful sales tactics of what seems to be two thirds of the population of Luxor whose only business is conveying tourists via boat, taxi or carriage, my first effort to decline is always polite, “La, shukran,” which naturally has the same effect as if I had said, “Please, ask me another thousand times, I wont say yes until you’ve chased me half a block!” Here I’ve rendered one of the tamer, typical pitches that I receive from each and every felucca man (and the road along the Nile is swarming with them, to say nothing of the taxi and calesh drivers and brasher agenda-less pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists) as they jump up and trail me along my daily two-mile walk to and from the public ferry.

You want a boat?
Banana Island?
Maybe later?
Maybe tomorrow?
Why no?
Why no? Excuse me!
Excuse me, hello! HELLO!
You know how much?
Five pound!
Just five pound!
Where you from?
What’s your name?
Excuse me!
Come on, you want helicopter?
You want Egyptian ferrari?
Hello beautiful?
Excuse me!

And as saying nothing is just as ineffectual as answering, I wind up walking down the street saying “la la la la” in an atonal rebuffing melody.  

 My paper pennant is gone. The pigeons now have two floors of a building and, at a conservative estimate, about 8 sheets of toilet paper.