Chitchat on the Nile

I have started reading Naguib Mahfouz’s “tharthara fawq el nil” “ Chitchat on the Nile“, I am very surprised by the style of this story. It is not long (less than 200 pages in large font), but you can’t read it in one day. If you saw the movie then you may already know the story, it is about a group of people from different backgrounds who are gathered every day in a awama (a house on a floating boat) to smoke Hashish and chitchat for a while. Anis is a worker in the ministry of health, he is always 3amel demagh, his thoughts are a mixture of nonsense hallucinations and deep philosophical visions. The rest of the group come from diverse backgrounds (actor, critics, journalist, translator in the ministry of foreign affairs, consultant,,,,) and mainly talk about having a good time (in sex, drugs, light conversations,,,etc).

So far I read almost half of it, and till now I don’t know whether to love it or to hate it, but what I know is that I can’t wait to finish it.

Some of the dialogues are very deep, others are soooooooooo superficial, and it is written in a weird atmosphere (keep hallucinations in mind). I remembered the word “psychedelic ” (I first heard about it in a wikipedia entry on the beatles’ strawbery fields forever), that describes the state of mind under hallucination. (There is a part when Anis says that the earth will be lost if the intelligent aliens stopped watching over it. And what if the aliens were watching us now, what will they say. They will see a gathering that comes and go, and a source of light (i.e. the coal in the hashish) that brightens every now and then. That’s why he puts the hashish in the air current so it will brighten even more, so the aliens would make sure that he exists,,,,)

Here is another example , the phrases have no relations with each other!!:

عليكم اللعنه .. ليس أعدى للكيف من التفكير . وعشرون جوزة كادت أن تضيع هباء . ولا شئ يبدو راسخ الايمان كشجرة البلح ، كما ان اصرار الهاموش يستحق الاعجاب ، ولكن اذا فقدت أنات عمر الخيام حرارتها فقل على الدنيا السلام ، وجميع هؤلاء الساخرين تكوينات ذرية ، وهاهو كل فرد منهم ينحل الى عدد محدود من الذرات . فقدوا الشكل واللون ، اختفوا تمام ، ولم يعد منهم شئ يرى بالعين المجردة ، وليس ثمة هناك الا أصوات … “

very weird story !

Anyway, even though I know that there is no real relation between Mahfouz’s novel (with all the discussion of Nasser’s era, the situation of uncertainty and اللاوعي ) and the Beatles’ Lucy in the sky with diamond, but I love this song, it feels like walking in a dream. (I also like the mentioning of the kaleidoscope 🙂 )

Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine tree and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, a girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes, and she’s gone.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
Ahhhhhh – ha.
Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies.
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers that grow so incredibly high.
Newspaper taxis appear on the shore waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds and you’re gone.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
Ahhhhhh – ha.

(BTW According to the Beatles, one day in 1966 Lennon’s son, Julian, came home from nursery school with a drawing he said was of his classmate, a girl named Lucy. Showing the artwork to his father, young Julian described the picture as “Lucy — in the sky with diamonds.”)


2 responses to “Chitchat on the Nile

  1. So what is the University Testing Program? it’s a established program by the College Board which can allow students to get college credit at many major universities including Cornell and Sonoma State University. There are a number of exams in dozens of subjects including Sociology and Education.

    Having taken a number of the examinations for myself, I can attest to their validity as an excellent program to get very cheap credits. Read a textbook on the subject; I myself read a text on Sociology. The next step is to apply for a proctored examination through a test center. Check the College Board website to search for test centers around your area. Depending on the city you live around there may be up to a dozen various testing centers. Each exam costs around $55 but there is often an additional fee stipulated by the testing center which very often varies in price.

    At the testing center, you’ll have to check in with the program supervisor. You will be brought into a room with computers which run special software. The examinations are all taken on computer and offer participants outstanding flexibility in taking the test. One can go back to questions, mark them to review, skip questions, see how many questions one has left or any number of other operations. The software also make available a graphing calculator should you be taking a proctored math examination.

    One of the leading colleges which accepts testing credits is the Monterey Polytechnic Institute. Mont Poly is a private institute in Monterey, USA which offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs specializing in Business, Professional Development, Public Adminsitration, Human Relations, and a number of other majors in the arts and sciences. Work experience degree programs are also available. Monterey Polytechnic’s flexible schedule of lecture and correspondence courses are uniquely suited for working adults. Monterey Polytechnic Institute is well known as one of the most respected, innovative, and affordable institutes in the country.

    So, why should you try it? If you are a junor or senior striving to finish up degree requirements, if you are proficient in your field of study and would like recognition for it, or if you simply want to avoid the ridiculouslarge costs imposed by colleges then CLEP Equivelency Program is for you. It is very cost effective, only $50 for the exam and a processing charge which is almost always under $15. It is definitely a great way to get college credit based on what you already know without sitting through an college class for a year. If you take physics in High School, for instance, there is no corresponding AP, but for college credit, consider taking a CLEP. It is one day of your life and merely 90 minutes long. In addition, you’ll find out if you pass immediately. A score of 50 is usually good enough for credit for most colleges. You should check with your university for acceptance information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s