The Nomad Mum's Diary

Monday, December 31, 2007

Season's greetings a'la Qabbani

Kul ‘aam w antom bi khair (may you be well every year), is how Arabs wish each other well on most joyous occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, Christian holidays and Muslims holly days alike. So to wish you happy holidays I’ve translated a poem by Nizar Qabbani with a title that is a twist on this particular greeting. May 2008 bring you joy, health, success and prosperity. God bless you all. “May you be my beloved every year” "May you be my beloved every year" I say it to you when the clock... Sign in to see full entry.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Cairo Chronicles III- more to come!

We're leaving Egypt at the crack of dawn Thursday, so I don't know if I'll get to post before that, if I don't I'll post the whole stuff when I get home and have a reliable connection. Till then take care. merry Christmas and a very happy 2008 to you all. Sign in to see full entry.

A day in Alexandria

For my husband it was love at first sight, he came to Alexandria 7 years ago and he was so smitten it was inevitable that we would have to make the trek to Egypt's second city at some point. The drive was terrible and since I come from a coastal town I was not exactly thrilled to see more sea! the King's summer palace at Almontazah is nice although it does have a gingerbread feel to it. To be honest, Alexandria was not my cup of tea, it maybe cleaner, more relaxed and has beautiful beaches but I... Sign in to see full entry.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Cairo Chronicles II - Mosques, mosques everywhere!

Above is a picture of the Qaitbay minaret at El-Azhar mosque, the oldest Islamic university in the world and the highest theological authority in the Muslim world. Although El-Azhar’s fatwas (pronouncements) are not binding outside Egypt they do tend to give an indication of the orthodox stance on things and are often tailored to the government’s liking. The mosque of Ibn Toulon was deserted when we had finally found it at the heart of old Cairo, this may explain the aura of peace and... Sign in to see full entry.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Cairo Chronicles I- In search of the Blind Poet's grave

We did not leave the house till late afternoon, Max had taken Adam to a local fair, a tradition on Eid in all Arab countries, the skies were overcast and it was a bit chilly so plans to explore Memluk Cairo were postponed. At about three I received an sms from my aunt, I had sent her a message wishing her a happy eid and asking her for the location of my grandfather’s grave in Cairo, in her reply she pinpointed the location of the cemetery. With only a couple of hours of daylight left we were... Sign in to see full entry.

The gift of the Nile

Wednesday was the first day of Eid Al Adha, the feast of sacrifice, the feast that is associated with the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and its connotations of the story of Abraham, Hager and Ishmael. I woke up to the chants from Tv and the nearby mosques: Here I come my Lord, here I come… Here I come my Lord, you with no one to share with, Here I come… The gratitude and the grace are to you and so is the reign.. You with no one to share with. My family had long abstained from the ritual of... Sign in to see full entry.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pyramids Explored

This is our clans at the pyramids of Giza. Adam has been looking forward to seeing the "Triangles" and the sphinx ever since I showed him photos of them. Dad, Max and I have been there at least once and found them to have been very much unchanged! Still we had a great time in the horse-drawn carriage and Adam got a miniature sphinx to take home. We stayed home the following day and the day after would be Eid Al Adha, the great feast. Kol aam wa antom bi khair. hi Sign in to see full entry.

From Aqaba through Sinai

Aqaba looked wonderful, warm, clean and buzzing with tourists, I was looking forward to taking a stroll along the beach but when I called the ferries terminal the operator told me that we had to come a.s.a.p. The ferries were overbooked with thousands of Egyptian laborers working in Saudi Arabia returning home for the Eid holiday, and with no ferries or hovercrafts on Saturday it was essential to get a place on a boat that same day. We were lucky to get on the 2pm ferry. Normally, the crossing... Sign in to see full entry.

The Pilgrims’ Path

It was hard to believe that it was December: sunny and very warm, wonderful weather for driving had we not wrapped ourselves up in 5 layers of thick clothes. Our 500 km in Syria took us through the entire cycle of the seasons: sunny with lush greenery in Latakia, a brisk drizzle in Tartous, rolling mist in Homs, and a strong wind across the plains of Dara’a that almost forced the car off the highway. We got to the Jordanian border just before sunset but there were still long queues at the... Sign in to see full entry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A final Nizar poem - Dedicated to Kabu and Wiley!

This will be the last post dedicated to Nizar Qabbani for now. I could have gone on for another dozen posts at least, but if there is anything I’ve learned from this stint it is that translation is a thankless job; it is not merely the task of replacing a word from one language with one that means the same from another (an impossibility with some particular words) it is, in fact, a reinterpretation, sometimes a reincarnation, of the text. At some point you become aware that you are imposing your... Sign in to see full entry.

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