Quite a few things have happened lately. I have quite a few things to write about.
I was very much in a vicious cycle the week before last. I found myself getting tenser and tenser – and more frustrated. I figured, I needed out of Cairo for a bit. So I decided to head off in the direction of Sinai. I’d thought of going to Karm lodge in the proximity of St. Katherine Monastery, but then decided to head for Ras Mohamed instead. I’d hoped to take a few friends with me, but failing that I was determined to proceed without them. Echoes of “Into the Wild” resonated somewhere in the back, but the thought wasn’t too pleasant. The thought of sipping wine on the beach, alone, appealed to me more and more. A romantic notion of alcohol laden bliss.
After much stalling, I picked up the groceries and packed my car with all the necessities for the trip. It took me a while since I kept having to rehash my brains around the stuff I wanted to get. I hit the road at about 4:30pm. The initial bit out of Cairo was a bit crowded, but as the city fell behind the highway opened up and I saw fewer cars. I put on some U2 and let them soothe my frayed nerves.
When I crossed Suez’s gates, it was full dark. Taking the first U turn, I headed towards the Tunnel. It was a good 10 to 15 mins drive. And as I drove towards the lights, a memory bubbled up from somewhere, of me in the front seat of another car, driving towards Cairo at the end of my summer vacation. I was filled with an odd emotion of childhood past, recalling a feeling almost 20 years old. An odd mixture of elation and dislocation as I left Egypt behind to embrace the school year in Nasik. I tried to hold on to the feeling, to examine it some more. It stayed with me like a warm marble which I couldn’t crack.
The guards at the Tunnel looked at my license briefly and waved me on. I stepped on the accelerator and left the mainland with it’s worries and frustrations behind me. I resolved not to think of work until the holiday ended.
It was a long drive; uneventful and boring. I stopped at one point to buy a toothbrush and some toothpaste and at the last checkpoint before Sharm, I was told Ras Mohamed was 80 kms away. I made a mental note to drive slower and keep a lookout for the entrance.