Monday, November 10, 2014

Alexandria.. Again.. and Again..

Alexandria is very special to me. Special in a way that I find it hard to describe.

In 5th of Nov 2010, I visited it for the first time ever, with my workmates. Despite that I was working for a really good cooperate, and had spent great seven months with them, and everything seemed to be more than perfect for a fresh grad like me back that time; Somehow, I felt that there still something missing in my life. I'm still not that fulfilled yet.

That missing thing was the one I tried to figure out while sitting there. Staring at the endless sea, thinking about the other side of it, and what lives and stories and things that might be there, while I'm just here. I was completely lost in my thoughts, that I didn't even noticed +Yassmeen Mohamed getting close and taking this photo of me!

By night, I sat with Yassmeen by the shore a little away from the rest of the group. We had a little chat that I can't remember, then stopped talking and enjoyed the sound of the wind and the sea waves. This is the first time to get a bit connected to her, as before that I was trying to keep a "professional" distance from my project manager.

Less than two weeks, on 18th of Nov., just +Sara El-Kady and I had our first ever crazy, risky, improvised adventure to Alexandria again. This time, we experienced the pleasure of improvising, which was unforgettable feeling. The idea of breaking rules and getting out of our comfort zones and routines was AWESOME!

We acted so childish, like for instance, writing messages for
each other on the back of bus Tickets :D
At night, again, we sat by the shore. I remember telling her, "I can't stop thinking about the other shore, and what's in it there for me, and the whole distance I had to cross to reach it!".. Can't recall most of what we talked about that night. Only how we sat in silence for an hour or more, and not being bored, and the peace and happiness we felt together.

From that day forward, we became more than close friends. Having that special bond that usually get formed between people traveling together, and people enjoying the silence presence of each other.

The exact same thing for Yassmeen. Except that I was so stupid to keep a distance from her, as I thought that it's better to not mix personal and work relationships together!

Through those two trips, I observed the city, its people, streets, shops, buildings, and everything I see; comparing it to Cairo. Thinking of the differences, and wondering why and how about everything. Somehow the idea of observing cities and analyzing them get sparked inside me, and I wasn't even aware of it.

By April 2011, I started exploring Cairo. Visiting most of the historical places, taking photos, and looking up for answers. Answers about how things became this way or that, about people's lifestyles in the past and present, about ideas and believes, and about my ideas and believes and life.

And by that time, I realized that my resignation and completely quitting the whole software engineering thing is just a matter of time. Which became true in Dec 2011!

So yes.. Everything started in Alexandria.. and kept evolving through Istanbul visit... and then the first trial was initiated by +الحياة في القاهرة. And more and more evolving is already happening with +Terhal ترحال .

"When was your last time here?", Said Ahmed Maher
I raised my hand, counting on my fingers, and he said, "2 Weeks?.. 3 Months?.. 4 Days?.."
"Four years!", I said
"Kidding!!", He said

Four years, and here I am, at the exact same bus station I left Alex heading to Cairo with Sara, trying to get myself awake after seven long hours in the bus from Siwa to Alex.

It's 5:00am, and it's still dark. A taxi dropped us (me, Ahmed, Mahada, and Sarah Douida) to the hostel we gonna stay in. The first thing I always check at any new pace is the view from its window. Couldn't believe my eyes when I found that we're directly on the sea! 

"OK, I'm going down for a while. Can't miss sunrise by the sea.", I said.

Quickly prayed, left everything except my phone and headset, and went down stairs. Crossed the Kornish St., and now is the moment. Just me, the sea, the sunrise, my music, and the empty Kornish. HEAVEN!

Now almost 6:00am. Enjoying the sunrise by the sea.
Everything was perfect, except that I didn't feel the same feeling I always have towards the sea! That yearning feeling to the things in the other side.. things that's out of reach and sight.. Things that's far far away.. is no longer here!! The view with every single detail of it is what's taking me totally. I'm here.. and now.. and that's it! 

My relationship with the sea is ruined!! Or maybe changed.. Or maybe it's me who changed!

It took me a while to realize that odd feeling. What I always liked about the sea is the unseen part of it, either beneath its surface, or the other side. Now, nothing in my mind but the HERE and NOW.

"What's happening to me?!"

Well, a LOT already happened to me. They weren't easy four years at all. The toughest and the most awful of all times I've been through. Till eventually things started to get better since my first trip to Hamam Pheron in last May. And much better when I started working with Ahmed in Terhal since last July. 

I kinda enjoying paying attention to the current moment. No more getting my head in the clouds, or zone-out as I always used to. It's odd I admit. Yet, it's really good. I think I had to enjoy it after all.

"OK, now we gonna enjoy the moment.. No more worries about what will happen, or what had happened.. So, what time is it?!.. OH! is it really the 6th of Nov?!! What a coincidence!!" :)

I'm really grateful to this city, and to all what I've experienced in it. and the people I met or get to know them there. Specially Yassmeen and Sara El-Kady cause having them in my life is such a bless.

Final Notes:
- The title is inspired from Youssef Chahine's movie, yes! Don't know how much it's related to the article, so I'll try to watch it again soon and see the similarities.
- I'll talk again about that last visit to Alex, cause I tried couple new things that worth talking about. Spcially the food.
- No, won't talk about my relationship with Terhal team now. Some day later maybe.