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Dear Ducks,

For the past several months, I’ve given great thought to Son of a Duck, and for the time being, I feel that it is time to place the venerable quack into retirement. Writing as SOAD in America doesn’t feel quite right — and I will leave it up to Fate to determine whether or not I will resurrect it once I hit the Middle East once more. I have a feeling I will. Ducks are hardy things, after all.

But I mentioned a new beginning, didn’t I?

Bothered by fan messages (never!) and after looking with serious envy at the wonderful work of the Food Jihadist (masha’Allah!), I’ve decided to make a move, a renovation, and take on a new name.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Occidental Orientalist. Same friendly source, but with a new name, “new look.”

The blogging continues on the other side of the Atlantic, under new auspices, many of the same topics. Please renew your subscriptions there!

Until that day when this duck sets sail to parts unknown once more, I remain, quite fondly (and gratefully),

Yours,

Son of a Duck

 

This just in on the 5:30 PM EST news:

The awful, terrible, disrespectful, ignorant-based, senseless, idiotic “International Burn a Koran” Day, sponsored by and fathered by Pastor Terry Jones, has been called off.

الحمد لله!

In a press release, Jones has agreed to cancel his “event” after being put in contact with Faisel Rauf, the imam of the proposed Cordoba Islamic Center (of “Ground Zero” fame and controversy), who (he claims) agreed to move the mosque’s location if the burning were cancelled.

I’m so happy that he’s saying he’s not going through with it. Thank GOD.

Read about it at the NYT

The VOA has a remarkably prompt article on it as well, albeit with spelling errors.

Also, President Obama has condemned the “event” as being a “recruiting bonanza for al-Qaeda,” noting that images of Christian-Americans burning the Islamic holy book would do nothing but incite violence against Americans internationally across the Islamic world.

The State Department also released a notice via e-mail to registered American expatriates in Egypt:

The Department of State is issuing this Travel Alert to caution U.S. citizens of the potential for anti-U.S. demonstrations in many countries in response to stated plans by a church in Florida to burn Qur’ans on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Demonstrations, some violent, have already taken place in several countries, including Afghanistan and Indonesia, in response to media reports of the church’s plans. The potential for further protests and demonstrations, some of which may turn violent, remains high.  We urge you to pay attention to local reaction to the situation, and to avoid areas where demonstrations may take place.

I should point out that the State Department  issues these warnings as a matter of mundane routine; we were even issued warnings in the aftermath of the Egyptian defeat against Algeria this past year, when Egyptian’s were throwing rocks and spray painting Algerian Air offices. But I wouldn’t in the slightest be surprised if there were protests in Cairo had this thing actually gone through.

This whole disgraceful affair might finally be at an end, and I’m happy at that.

Let’s just hope it really is at an end.

Oh, hi, Oh-hi-oh.

It’s been a while, Ducks.

Rather than make apologies, though, I’ll just jump into the thick of it.

I’ve taken a summer job as the “Dorm Head” for the Middlebury College high school Arabic program, which has the lofty title of the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy (MMLA). For those of you that have been through the Nine (now ten) Language Schools—in any species—it’s the same deal, only with high school students. Arabic 24/7, no cheating or you’re out. This kind of linguistic approach has its flaws on the high school level (my opinion), but it’s worked for me and my friends, so I’m a fan. It’s also a little nice to play hero-Orientalist to a group of high-schoolers for a few weeks. I’ve packed a ton of stuff from Egypt (movie posters from the 1940’s, TONS of Ramadan cloth, and a kilo of incense to start) to deck the dorms out, Nevadomski-style (something that was lacking terribly last year), and my calligraphy has improved significantly in the past year. I’m excited.

At present, I’m waiting on the shuttle to take me to our new site at Oberlin College, which won’t arrive until 3:30, so I’m taking advantage of the free wireless and the people watching.

To be honest, friends, I’m not sure where this blog is going. Over the past month, I’ve been mining the thing from front to back for material for the novel (which, unsurprisingly, will have a blogger-character. Oscar Wilde said that every first novelist’s book portrays the author as either Faust or Christ. Deep in the thick of it, I see why). I’ve been wanting to write on Gaza, but it’s been so overwhelmingly heartbreaking that I can’t quite sum up the energy to lambast the efforts on both sides, and so I either end up looking like I support Israel (I don’t) or Gaza (I don’t either). So I’ve given up. Is anyone still reading this thing, a month later? My initial inspiration for the opinion-side of this blog—the infamous “microcelebrity” Cairene blogger known Sandmonkey—has even flagged in his own efforts.

Can an Orientalist look at his own society as an Orientalist? An Occidentalist?

Probably. There’s always Stuff White People Like, but I’m inclined to think that’s more humor than serious academic thought. Not that I’m a seriously serious academic. This is a blog named after a duck, after all.

Last summer’s experience as an RA at MMLA (same old Arabic school) was quite a rich experience to say the least, and a shocking one sometimes. It was the first time I’ve been on the opposite side of the spectrum, and now I understand why it was so difficult. Whereas in Egypt I was a teacher of a culture I represented, here, I’m little more than an enthusiast (and sometime antagonist/critic). Isolated from most things Arabic (aside from what you bring with you), it becomes more and more difficult to bring that to students who have no idea what you’re talking about half the time. Case in point: many of the kids really knocked colloquial Arabic as a language (understandable, I suppose: you say things like “over shwaya” for overdone and “meeteeng” for meeting. It has so many loanwords it’s not funny to me anymore), and so they insist on cultivating their MSA, instead of laying a legitimate foundation for a diglossy—learning the very necessary fact that someone who says they “know” Arabic should, in reality, know not just one language (the classical variety), but two: the MSA-classical mix that appears in media and reading, and the colloquial variety that is only spoken and never written. The absurdity of sticking to the MSA variant is almost as ridiculous as meeting a person who said they only spoke English with Saxon vocabulary, because all the French, Latin, and Greek loanwords weren’t “English” enough.

This is just the student-teacher stuff. Don’t even get into the residential life drama that happens on a daily basis. You know what I’m talking about.

It should be an eventful summer.

A little postscriptum: when I got off the plane about half an hour ago, the signs to the bathroom were in four languages: one of which was solid, no-joke Arabic. It made me smile.

Salaams, friends.

I get a lot of grief from my kid sister when I say I don’t like a film, because when I don’t like a film, I don’t like a film. It’s got to be terrible. I mean, full-out, rollicking, blockbuster stereotypes, bad-acting, bad-casting, bad-everything in it. Twilight, for example. Awful. The entire time I kept asking myself “He glitters in the sunlight?” and noticing the lines of badly applied foundation around the characters’ faces. Oh, and cracking up at every single badly delivered line: e.g., “You’re like a drug to me.”

It takes a lot for me to not like a film because, for the most part, I’m willing to leave my assumptions at the door and engage in what Coleridge called “a willing suspension of disbelief.” Of course, good old Samuel Taylor was describing Shakespeare — how when you go to watch Hamlet you can be moved by this very unnatural style of acting. Who speaks in iambic pentameter? What’s with the funny words and British accents? Why are the lines rhyming? Why are the men dressed as women? This is terrible theater! That’s what you think when you forget that you’re at Shakespearean play. In the same vein, I can pretty much get lost in a movie, no matter how terrible, if it creates the appropriate world — this is probably a symptom of growing up with musicals: if you can get yourself to believe that people sing out their feelings and dance combatively with one another, you can pretty much believe anything. The Mummy, with Brendan Fraser? Terrible film for many reasons, but a fun ride. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow? Yeah, I loved that. I still pay homage to old Ray Harryhausen epics (stop-action monsters, think the 1980 Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts). But when a movie fails to produce that “world,” I can’t find an excuse to like it.

So, it was with an open mind that I ignored The New Yorker and went to see Prince of Persia.

Expectations: sword-and-sandal epic, awesome scenery, way cool music (think Kingdom of Heaven),  and some seriously beautiful romance. It is Persia, after all — the land of the Nightengale and the Rose, of Shirin and Khosrow. For those of you that don’t know, Iran has some of the most romantic literature in the world.

Alas.

The skinny of the plot: Rebellious adopted son-of-the-king, Dastan (erstwhile ophan) discovers through a series of altogether confusing events that his evil uncle Nizam is plotting to steal his adopted father’s throne using an ancient sect of drug-addicted assassins to acquire a mystical dagger that turns back time. Unbeknownst to Nizam (one of Ben Kingsley’s more disappointing performances, alas), the dagger can only turn back a minute’s worth of time, unless he uses it to pierce the fabled “Sand Glass” beneath the Holy City; also unbeknownst to him, that will cause a Sandocalypse over the whole world and unleash the wrath of the gods, etc.

I’m only slightly exaggerating.

The New Yorker’s (awesome, dead-on, fantastic) review covers this pretty well, I think:

“Prince of Persia” is meant purely as light entertainment, but the way it draws on layers of junk is depressing. It’s based on clichés not only from old paintings but from some of the fruitiest and most swollen nineteen-fifties period spectacles; all this material, after passing through video games, now gets loaded back into a production requiring the wealth of corporate kings. For twenty years, audiences have been noticing the similarity between big action and fantasy movies and video games, but “Prince of Persia” goes beyond similarity; it actually feels like a video game. In order to work the dagger, you press a red jewel on the hilt, which suspiciously resembles a button on a game controller. After a while, backward motion ceases, and life goes forward again. The first time this happens, the effect is rather neat. By the third time, you think that the filmmakers have found a convenient way to avoid the difficulties of constructing a plot that makes emotional sense. Is this the future of screenwriting? The quick reversals that add to the fun of a game make nonsense out of the loyalties and desires of flesh-and-blood characters. At the climax, a good part of the plot is rapidly reversed, and you may find yourself wishing that the filmmakers had wiped out everything after the opening titles.

What’s disturbing to me as an Orientalist is the film’s self-admitted flaws in portrayal. According to the New Yorker, most of the set design is based on 19th century orientalist-school paintings — which is really cool, if you consider the art, but pretty terrible if the movie is going to be the only artistic contact the most people are going to have with anything Persia for the next ten years. Honestly.

We’ve stumbled across the domain of artistic responsibility. The battle-cry of postcolonial studies is generally, “Who has the right?” that question applying, of course, to the act of portrayal. Who has a right to portray another race, another culture, another religion? My answer to that is actually simple — the people who wish to do so responsibly. If you’re going to portray someone, and you’re not one of them, you’d better do some damn good research and err on the side of positive. Kingdom of Heaven, for example, had one hell of a Saladin. I mean, that man was crazy cool in real life, but Ridley Scott sure did an awesome job of making him stellarly cool (I just said that, yes).

But Orientalism is not a source to be raided for movies. Otherwise, you get The Mummy all over again.

I must have got asked about twenty-million times (actual figure) if I was going to live in a pyramid in Egypt — by Americans, of course. If it wasn’t a pyramid, it was a tent — and clearly, I would hitch a ride to work on a camel.

Back when 300 was just exposing its CGI muscles to the world, Iranians  boycotted  the film as slanderous (big surprise there: it was pretty awful and should have been boycotted on its sheer awfulness). But what will they say about this, I wonder?

Garbage City

Sorry, people. It’s been an odd couple of weeks.

I confess, I feel a little odd writing this in American environs. A blog about an amateur orientalist’s adventures in Egypt – and misadventures teaching – should best be written by the one in the field. Otherwise, it ends up becoming a mirror for memory, and though I’m all about that, I’m not sure this blog should be about that.

Fear not, gentle readers, I do have a number of things to share with you, however. And this duck’s not about to stop writing anytime soon.

Zabaleen. Wow.

It’s not for the faint of heart. After reading a few articles online, I made up my mind to go, if only for the reason that I’d regret it enormously afterwards.

Interesting cab ride

I’ve written on-and-off about Medinat al-Zabaliyya for the past few months – it’s been a source of continuous fascination for me since I arrived, and it’s perhaps a little appropriate that it should be the last thing I visit.

I left around noon from Midan Falaky, catching a white cab that had AC, and about halfway through the ride, the driver (a large-ish man named Abdul-Rahman)  started up with the usual friendly chit-chat (You speak Arabic well, what’s your name, etc. etc.). I’ve gotten particularly evasive with the nationality question and usually duck it with shopowners by telling them to guess where they think I’m from. Most common answer: Germany. It’s obviously the blonde hair, but that usually gives me a chance to tell them that my grandmother would get mad (she’s of Polish stock).

I explain this because I usually find this kind of banter back-and forth usually quite useful. I’ve found that Egyptians tend to bristle or become less receptive  to conversation (or bargaining) when approached in a no-nonsense manner. They clam up, and if you attempt levity, pleasantries work wonders. I suppose the same is pretty much true stateside, but in Egypt, it’s triply so. It’s not uncommon to be offered tea, no frills, no strings attached. It’s just the hospitality gene kicking in.

In fact, Tammam once made a few suggestions for bargaining in the souk that I’ve taken to particular heart: among them, the recommendation to smile and laugh and try to joke has been the most helpful. Once you get someone joking, things tend to move a little quicker, a little smoother than you would expect. Ask about their family, their children – you’ll get pictures and they’ll want to see yours. People want to know where you’re going, where you’re coming from, and although I’ve found this occasionally annoying, I’ve used it far too much myself to get to know people better. It doesn’t really pay to get irritated at these things; rather, if you work with it, I think the culture has its own rewards.

I digress.

The point of bantering really relaxes things and allows the car ride to go a little faster – even knock down the fare a bit (in a black cab), or at least avoid the shouting match at the end of the ride. Things were going rather well until we got to the part where I actually say, “No, my name is Michael, and I’m a teacher, and American.”

“I hate Americans.”

No joke. Guy really said it. Expression changed, face fell, the works. Smile turned to dust.

“Really?”

Yep. He hated them.

Actually, what my recent acquaintance really hated were the Zionist establishments that America perpetuated (his words, not mine). Abdul-Rahman proceeded to lecture me for the next twenty minutes about how Americans had a corrupt government that was (obviously) headed by the Jews and an international Jewish conspiracy, and by they way, you’re not Jewish, are you?

Anti-Semitism lives, people.

At the end of this, I pointed out something.

“Do you like Hosni Mubarak?”

“What?”

“I mean, do you think Mubarak is a good president? That there’s no corruption in the present government?”

“Of course there’s corruption.”

“So is it fair if I assume that you’re a thief if your president is ibn siteen kalb (the son of sixty dogs, but for colloquial purposes, let’s say son of a bitch)?

He laughed.

“No, of course not. There’s a big difference between governments and people.”

“Well, Mister Abdul-Rahman, a suggestion: don’t think that I’m a bastard just because you think my government’s a7a (absolute shit).”

He laughed, and the matter was closed. He even knocked down the fare on the meter at the end.

I’ll have more to say on Zionism, soon: I’ve been working on a post about it at the behest of my students.

A view of the city from the gates of the monastery

The City of Garbage

The district of Zabaliyya is just at the foot of Muqattam: you ask for awal Mu5attam to get there. You wind your way around the old Ayyubid and Fatimid walls, get a pretty sweeping view of the southern City of the Dead, and plunge headlong into the blistering heat of the highway, above which hovers the giant magnifying glass of dust that turns the sky into the gray of hot metal.

You smell it before you see it.

It’s that sickeningly sweet smell: the acrid stench of burning garbage, smoky and dry , yet soaked with organic matter and decay. It feels hot and cool, and it’s worst in the streets you wind through, which haven’t yet dried on account of the alleyway shadows keeping the sun out and the roads still wet.

Entrance is through a large gate that proclaims the area name and the “company” that runs it, and the district itself has very much the feel of a village. Streets are narrow, not from the buildings being close together, but the garbage being stacked up in giant piles, compressed and bundled together in large plastic sheets. Trucks are coming and going, and there are people everywhere.

Men in tattoos go sleeveless, shirtless, some dressed normally, but with a single sleeve up. They show sometimes remarkable ink art – but mainly crude executions of Jesus, the Blessed Mother, or crosses. Graffiti, like everywhere in Egypt, abounds – but it takes you a moment to understand why it’s strange: because there are no spray painted “No god but God and Muhammad is his Messenger,” no stylized “Allahs” written in all manner of calligraphy, no “BismilLah ma sha5 Allah” (In the Name of God, What God Wills, a common phrase written above doorposts against the Evil Eye). Instead, you have Biblical injunctions, often with well-translated equivalents in English or French, but mainly just the Arabic for:

I can do anything through Him who strengthens me.

Have mercy on Your Children, oh Lord!

Pray for us, Blessed Virgin Mother.

Christ is Risen!

Abdul-Rahman takes the third alley to the right, which is a way down, and the monastery of St. Simon the Tanner announces itself through a large, colorful sign on the corner. We work our way up the hill. The cab stalls, and we rollick backwards, almost into a house, but start up again. Abdul-Rahman is a glob of curses as we inch up the hill, which is a little steep.

And suddenly, green.

Trees and gardens and the clean desert walls of sandstone. We are against the hills of the outer city. We climb up, stop at the gates, and the guard takes one look at me, and waves us on.

Stadium seats for Jesus! A view from the largest church at altar-level. Seats thirty thousand. Masses every week.

A Short Catechism

I don't buy this story: while excavating the present-day church, workers uncovered the "miraculous" carving of the Blessed Mother and Jesus. Adl (and apparently the monks) claim it has never been touched by human hands except to clean it. I'm not biting, but mainly because I like my miracles approved by Papal investigations and Vatican councils -- it's the Catholic in me.

The monastery isn’t as nearly as old as you want it to be, but the legends surrounding it date back years.

Meet the saint. According to Adl, he was entirely decomposed -- except for the face, which was perfectly intact.

Named for St. Simon the Tanner (or the Shoemaker, which tends to be the more affectionate name) the site of the current construction dates back to the original saint himself, who lived in and around Muqattam as a hermit, fixing shoes for support himself. Local lore has it that when a not unattractive young Copt came to have her shoes fixed, she hiked up her skirts a little too high (Adl said it was up to her thighs) in the process of removing her sandals. Naturally, the saint was scandalized, and (like any good monk), promptly went and plucked his right eye out. (Recall, if you will, the scriptural injunction of Matthew 5:29 that “If thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into hell”). A bit much.

Simon the Shoemaker and the woman who would lead him astray. Note the captions carved in English as well. It struck me as a little pandering to the wandering aganab.

The most neatly organized garbage you've ever seen. I swear, it's more organized (though not necessarily cleaner!) than most places in Egypt.

I was shown around by a gallabiyya-clad, portly fellow named Adl, who spoke incredibly clearly for using so many religious terms. He also liked to exclaim “Hallelujah!” at random points in his story, and cross himself rather excessively. But he made for a good story-teller.

The main church of Simon the Tanner is enormous: it has claims to being the largest church in the Middle East (hard to believe) and regularly seats over twenty thousand. The relics of the saint are placed just to the right of the altar-screen, and rock carvings (actually quite tasteful) abound above and below and everywhere of the miracles of the Mountain and the story of the Resurrection of Christ.

Visit the well-written website (!) here: http://cavechurch.com/home/index.asp

No, seriously, visit it.

There’s a great section about how Muqattam (which translates roughly as “cut up” or “broken”) got its name: the Copts claim it was due to a tenth-century miracle worked out by the dynamic duo of the Coptic Pope and the ancient saint at the challenge of the then-current wacky caliph. Copts believe that Simon the Tanner literally “moved the mountain” from the center of the city, dribbled it (like, bounced it up and down so that the sun was visible from underneath it), and dropped it where it is presently. No joke.

One of the awesomely-underground cave-churches in the side of the mountain. No shoes, and odd seating.

Thanks to a growing congregation, additional side-churches have been carved into the rock surrounding, totaling in five churches and a few monastic little chapels. Some are completely underground.

But talk about contrast.

crazy/beautiful just inside the gates

You walk out of the monastery gates, and the clean, but dusty environs of the well-funded cloister contrasts sharply with the mess of Zabaliyya. It’s dirty, but not disorganized. Remarkably. And there are strange aspects: like walls build out of crates, streets made not out of gravel, but crushed green glass, and people going barefoot. Actually, I was also surprised to see all the gold: I mean there was bling like whoa. Women had giant medals of Jesus (big, gaudy, gansta-type medals) from thick chains, and men wore big gold rings (I should point out that the wearing of jewelry by men — for the most part – especially of gold jewelry, is largely considered haram by most Muslims). And there were quite a few dolled-up girls, hair hanging out everywhere. But largely, the amount of gold was shocking, even on the people that looked like they were working.

And man, I have never been more self-conscious about having a camera in my life. How do you take pictures of that? Do we go to garbage dumps in the US and take pictures? Who would want a picture of that?

Part of me is outraged by my own tourist-ness. It’s deliberately making poverty into a kind of bohemian Disneyland. These people are obviously struggling, and if I were in their position, I would have dashed my camera to pieces and slapped my ass. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that, from the outside, the picture and place is still fascinating. It’s the same kind of argument that was posed against the producers of Slumdog Millionaire: you can’t just use poverty to your own artistic or cultural ends. But how do you raise awareness, combat poverty, make other people feel for it? They should already feel for it, but they don’t.

….

I’m a little disgusted at the end of the day, but not necessarily by the quarter. It’s not the stink of the district that makes me more than a little nauseous. It’s the realization that wanted to see something like what I’ve seen, and now that I’ve seen it, I’m walking out. I can’t really describe it as guilt, it’s not pity even: it’s more like heartbreak..

Heartbreak. Even now, weeks later, the cracks are still there.

Midflight

You know what’s crazy?

Free, in-flight wireless. Civilization at its finest.

I’m sorry, gentle readers, for putting you on hiatus for so long. I’ve been stateside, speaking English, and drinking in the Americana and the presence of a certain freckled girl from Delaware all week.

In short, I’ve been on vacation.

I confess, I feel a little odd writing this in American environs. A blog about an amateur orientalist’s adventures in Egypt – and misadventures teaching – should best be written by the one in the field. Otherwise, it ends up becoming a mirror for memory, and though I’m all about that, I’m not sure this blog should be about that.

Things I’ve Discovered Are Amazing about Everyday America (and had forgotten about in Egypt)

1. Wall-to-wall carpeting. Honestly: I pretty much died when I realized I could walk around barefoot and not have dirt underfoot from the nasty tile.

2. A distinct and utter lack of dust. If you live in Masr you deal with it. You dust, you sweep, you beat your rugs, but it never is enough. Here, nothing. It’s glorious.

3. Free refills on fountain drinks in restaurants.

4. Root beer floats. For my Egyptian readers, you must try one of these if you ever get stateside (no alcohol involved!)

5. People that leave you alone! No hassle! No harassment!

6. Easy availability of the following products: salad dressings, steak sauce, prosciutto, cheddar, horseradish, ziplock storage bags, and hand-crafted microbrews.

7. DRIVING.

8. Paper towels, NOT tissue paper for drying your hands.

9. No mud.

10. The smell of the clean Vermont air.

11. Hugging in public. Hugging friends of the opposite gender.

12. Being insanely affectionate in public and not being stared at.

13. Reuben sandwiches and amber ale.

14. How awesomely fast and free the internet is everywhere.

15. Rain and mugginess. The weather’s been pleasantly gray for the past week.

16. Stoves that are electric. Ice machines. Garbage disposals. Recycling bins.

17. Putting up your feet in public.

18. Good pipe tobacco (I ran out about two months ago).

19. Standing in lines, NOT gaggles.

And to balance it all out:

Things I Already Miss about Egypt

1. Being able to buy one egg, not twelve. Buying groceries on credit because I forgot my wallet upstairs.

2. Stopping to talk to nearly everyone on my street.

3. Dalia, Vildan, Ingy, Yosra, and Shehenda — Clay Cafe classes and conversations.

4. Ahmed and the walk home down Port Said.

5. Dahab pizzas.

6. The sound the tram makes as it rolls by on a quiet morning. Sometimes, I would mistake it for rain.

7. The giant, fading advertisement for the “al-Ahram” frying pan visible from my window and the porch.

8. Mahmoud.

9. Ali and the Spitfire.

10. The long trek up the big marble staircase.

More to follow. I intend to chronicle my re-entry, so keep your eyes peeled for one last Egypt post (the Zabaliyya!) and future plans for the blog!

It’s 5:41 AM. Sun hasn’t risen yet, but the chatty nest of sparrows outside the window are already awake.

I have a ten o’clock flight, and then I leave Egypt for an indeterminate amount of time. I say “indeterminate” because it seems better and with more hope of return than “indefinite.”

Cairo right now is quieter than I’ve ever heard. It’s like I’m sneaking out of her bed in the earliest hours of the pre-dawn, quietly dressing and still half-asleep.

I’ve still got a couple of posts left in me: a few adventures over the past few days. But it’s just as well that I mark the occasion, however brief, of departure.

And Son of a Duck moves on! Maybe not in Cairo, maybe not Alexandria, but to parts unknown, and the “ducking” continues!

Farewell, Egypt. I will miss you.

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