Free Hugs Campaign

What do you think if out of the blue a total stranger hugged you ?? There is a guy who launched a campaign Sometimes, a hug is all what we need. Free hugs is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann, A man whose sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives”

However it was no welcomed in places like China“Chinese appear not to have warmed to a “free hugs” campaign aimed at cheering up strangers by hugging them on the street, with some huggers even being hauled away by police for questioning”

If this happened to me I would scream with the top of my lungs especially with all this circulating talk of the harassing mobs in down town.

Budapest 2

000014.JPG Vacci street is the main tourist haven. 

It is something like the champs Elysee in Paris. It has lots of beautiful buildings, and all the fashion brand names. So if you love to shop, that’s the place for you. However I was more interested in sightseeing than in shopping so I turned my head to the architecture of the buildings.

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What was really amazing for me was listening to all those musicians on the street. They were everywhere, in the metro stations, in the famous squares,,, But I really enjoyed the atmosphere they created in this street.

000013.JPG There were lots of greenery of course. It was raining heavily on the second day of our arrival and Ohh I had so much fun walking under the rain 🙂 . Amazing !!!

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(to be continued)

Budapest 1

Although a long time has passed since my trip to Budapest (nearly 6 months), I wanted to document my memoires there. (helwa document my memoires dih 🙂 )

000018.JPG This is the Golden Park hotel where we stayed. It is a 4 stars hotel. Very clean. The rooms are a little bit small, but that’s ok. The most important thing is its proximity to the metro station.

 000019.JPG This is the Keleti metro and train station that was just infront of our hotel. The inside is huge of course. There were lots of Arabs standing by the doors asking if you want a cab, frankly they looked very suspicious with their not-so-clean clothes.

000009.JPGThat’s the automatic stairs in the metro station. You have to be very careful while riding it for the first time. It is very fast, and very steep ! I almost fell down while stepping on it, I thought it was just like any other automatic stairs we find here in Cairo.

(to be continued)

Saint Macarius monastery

Last saturday I had the chance of visiting the monastery of St. Macarius in Wadi el Natroun with a group of friends. And I must say it really is a beautiful place.

Actually this was my second time to visit it, but this visit was very special to me. first of all I discovered a lot about the coptic traditions, and also had the priviledge to talk with Father Kyriulius. He is really a great and pure man, when he was talking about the universal language of love (love of God and of all the human kind), I almost had tears in my eyes. And the monks there were all very kind to me even though I am  just another veiled girl visiting the place.

In Wadi El Natroun there are four monasteries:

  1. the monastery of Saint Macarius (Anba Maqar),

  2. the monastery of St Mary (known as the monastery of the Romans, or Deir Al-Baramus);

  3.  the monastery of the Holy Virgin and John Kame (known as the monastery of the Syrians, or Deir Al-Suryan);

  4.  and the monastery of St Bishoy (Anba Pschoi).

St. Macarius monastery can be considered the most important one. Note that it requirs a prior notification before entrance. 

There are the relics of the forty nine martyers killed by the Berbers and buried in the church of the Elders. Also the relics of John the Baptiste lies there after being transported from Jerusalem to Alexandria and then to the monastery (according to the monk who guided us in the monastery).

I learned about Father Matta El Meskeen (20 September 1919June 8, 2006) who was the spiritual father of the monastery and who was a great scholar, he wrote many books (I bought from there “The Orthodox prayer life / حياة الصلاة ” which is supposed to be one of his first and most important books).

Among his quotes:(3)

Whenever physical hunger turned cruel against me, I found my gratification in prayer. Whenever the biting cold of winter was unkind to me, I found my warmth in prayer. Whenever people were harsh to me (and their harshness was severe indeed) I found my comfort in prayer. In short, prayer became my food and my drink, my outfit and my armor, whether by night or by day.” –Father Matta El-Meskeen

This was indeed a memorable weekend.

(photos will be posted soon)

st-macarius.jpg That’s the monastery from Google earth.

Identity

Who am i?

  • Am I an Egyptian?
  • Am I a muslim?
  • Am I an arab?
  • Am I a circassian?
  • Am I an african?
  • Am I an ex-maadist?
  • Am I an aikidoka?

To what should I be connected? my country? my religion? my origins? or just erase this question and consider myself just a ant in the human race?

Twenty Dollars

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked. “Who would like this $20 bill?”

Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you – but first, let me do this.”

He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up. He then asked. “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air.

“Well,” he replied, “what if I do this?” He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.

“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you. The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by …WHO WE ARE. You are special – don’t ever forget it.”

—- Author Unknown

Lenses Classifications

Lenses Classifications from camerapedia 

Normal

A normal lens has an angle of view that approximates how the human eye sees a scene. A lens is considered normal when its focal length is approximately equal to the diagonal of the film format. Lenses shorter than normal are called wide-angle, while those longer are called telephoto. In 35mm photography, 50mm is considered to be the normal focal length, even though the actual diagonal of the frame (24mm x 36mm) is 43mm. For medium format photography (frame size 2-1/4″ square, or 6x6cm), normal is generally 80mm.

Wide-angle

A wide-angle lens is a lens with a focal length shorter than normal. A wide-angle lens, as opposed to a fisheye, is normally well-corrected for geometrical distortion, i.e., straight lines appear straight. However, as the angle of view is wider than what is seen by the human eye, they can create an impression of distortion; this perceived distortion increases as the focal length of the lens decreases. A fisheye lens (see below) is an extreme example of a wide-angle lens.

Telephoto

A telephoto lens is any lens with a focal length longer than normal. A telephoto lens brings far subjects closer, like a telescope, hence the name. They therefore have a smaller angle of view than a normal or wide-angle lens. The longer the lens, the more likely that camera shake will blur the image; for this reason, longer telephoto lenses are usually used with a tripod to steady the camera.

Fisheye

Fisheye lenses have the widest field of view of any lens group. The geometrical distortion of the image is purposefully maintained high, and straight lines appear curved if they are near the edge of the image. This creates distortion of the resulting image in a dramatic way. Fisheye lens fall into two categories:

  • Circular fisheyes: have a 180 degree field of view when measured along the smallest dimension of the image, resulting in a circular image with black corners. In 35mm format, they usually have a focal length around 8mm.
  • Full frame fisheyes: have a 180 degree field of view when measured along the diagonal, so the image extends on the full film plane. In 35mm format, they usually have a focal length around 16mm.

In general, fisheye lenses are expensive and little used in everyday photography.

Fisheye adaptors: auxiliary lenses are available that simulate a fisheye field of view. This is cheap way to play with the fisheye effect without investing in a dedicated fisheye lens, although, as with most auxiliary lenses, the quality of your images will not be the same as those taken using a ‘real’ fisheye.

Angry white pyjamas

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Interesting book:(review from amazon.com) The author of the book, Robert Twigger, an awarded poet from England goes to Japan as means of escaping the boring corporate reality. In Japan he hopes to find that his life means something. He begins his experience as an Engish teacher in Japan. Shortly afterwards, his job is reduced to a part-time, one day per week position. Poor and disilusioned, living in a cheap apartment with a couple of other random gajins, he finally decides to discover the value of self by signing up for a course in martial arts.Once a member of a dojo, he realizes that he wants to push himself to the extreme limit of his mental and physical ability. As a result, he signs up for the super-ultra-tough course, usually taken by candidates for the Tokyo riot police.Insanity ensues as he learns martial arts every day for almost 11 months amongst pain, sweat, complaining of fellow students, and constant cultural faux pas.

The book was discussed many times on aikiweb , and it seems quite interesting.

The world is just so small!!! I discovered by chance while surfing the blogosphere (from this) that the author is currently living in Egypt and when I contacted him through his website, I found that he is living in Maadi, very close to where I used to live !!!

An everyday story

Ladies and gentlemen

 

Do you want to hear an every day story? But I must warn you this is not a Romeo & Juliette tale, this is the story of a normal normal normal marriage (talata normal). What more can I say? Anyway, here we start. Ehem ehem.

 

I am just a 30 years old guy who spends half of his day working and the other half sleeping and eating, and my weekends are generally spent at home or with el shabab at the nearby ahwa. I am a normal guy who represents 80% of the Egyptian male population under the age of 40.

Life for me was very predictable.

 

Of course I had the dream for the whole package: my own home, wife, kids,,, but as I wasn’t really that experienced when it comes to women or as they say ‘mesh medardah’, it was normal that I left for my mum the task of finding a suitable bride.

 

That’s how I got to know Jihan.

 

We first met with the company of our families of course, and we followed the path of any traditional marriage, we read el fatha at her house, I visited her couple of times and brought her a little gift on valentine. And as my apartment was ready and there was no reason for delay, we were married in exactly 6 months.

 

Jihan is a well educated girl from a nice family, but the problem is,,,, she was active, not politically (God forbids), but she had lots of ‘hobbies’, and at the same time she leads a prominent career. I don’t know from where she got the time or the energy for all this. I just don’t get it. So obviously, we had a problem in defining what is “interesting” and what is not.  For example, how do you call it ‘fun’ to sit down on the dirt in a deserted place in degla? & what’s all that excitement about the desert? I pass by the desert every year on my way to the North Coast and it is just pills of ugly sand. Anyway, I had no problems with her “nature loving” fuss, she is a good wife and I had no problem with her so-called activities as long I find my lunch ready upon my arrival and that she is there whenever I needed her.

 

Then few months ago, the most awful thing happened. Jihan lost her sight. My 25 years old wife can no longer see the light. The doctors said lots of stuff about diseases I can not even spell its names, about the 50-50 chances of operations that would cost hundreds of thousands pounds and only 3 doctors in the world can perform them. For us it was just talk talk talk, the fact remained, she can not see.

 

Jihan closed all her doors.

At the very beginning, she quit her job, refusing any other job proposals that may be suitable to her ‘case’. She stayed at home 24/7. Sometimes I would return home and find her still in bed. She refused talking to anyone, even her mother and her best friends. She even limited talking to me.

 

Till one Friday evening, she came to me saying all that none sense about her inability to sustain our relationship, about me going on with my life with a ‘normal’ woman and that it was God’s mercy that we didn’t have children.

 

I couldn’t believe my ears. I didn’t know what to do. This was the first time I feel that my life was shattered. Frankly, I was terrified. At that point, I couldn’t help but cry. We wept together like two babies. And I think that’s when I realized that I can’t afford to lose her.

 

After that day, there was nothing to talk about. Each day I try to persuade her and each night she would repeat her request.

 

On her birthday, I decided to take her out. I nearly forced her to dress up for this special occasion. I decided to take a felucca ride, a thing she had asked me a long time ago and which I didn’t have the time (or the will) to do. Alas.

 

We started the ride an hour before sunset. It was awkward for me that it was the first time since we were married to sit next to each other in a felucca, but I concealed this by being extra humorous (or so I thought). She started asking me about the time left and whether it was getting late. I told her that we still had lots of time, the sun was still yellowish. At that instant I wanted to bite my tongue, but to my surprise she was listening carefully. And slowly she started asking me all sorts of questions, is it the full moon night? What are the colors of the skies? Are the birds flying in circles? Are there fishermen nearby our boat?

 

I answered her questions one by one. Sometimes I had to look very carefully to provide an accurate answer for she asked me about things I have never noticed before, like the stillness of the water, the reflections of the city lights, the features of el marakbi,,,

 

It was for her that I started noticing the little things in life that are worth observing.

It was for her that I started to feel life.

It was in that day when –for the first time- I kissed my beloved delicate hands.

 

Didn’t I tell you that this is not a Romeo & Juliette story? My dears, this is my own fairy tale.

 

 

Giza

21/10/06

Golf Quotes

They say golf is like life, but don’t believe them.  Golf is more complicated than that.  ~Gardner Dickinson

What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive.  ~Arnold Palmer

The reason the pro tells you to keep your head down is so you can’t see him laughing.  ~Phyllis Diller

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