Hosh al-Basha

https://i0.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/229/478610139_6c277d6972.jpgToday I grabed my camera and headed for a new photography tour. My main target was the Japanese garden in Helwan, but -by chance- I passed by El Imam El Shaffei and Hosh El Basha, so I decided to stop for a while and take some photos. Tab3an the security guys https://i0.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/181/478633266_0f3a129d1b.jpgwere very surprised to find me entering the place to take photos just for fun! It was very weird for them, one of them told me that there are many other islamic monuments for more attractive, but how could he say so? the colours of the tombs arre fascinating ! fe3lan makaber terod el ro7 🙂

For those who don’t knohttps://i0.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/169/478650601_177b1a4a76.jpgw what I am talking about , here is a little info about the place: ” Hosh al-Basha is an Arabic name meaning, ‘courtyard of the Pasha’, which was given to the Royal family graveyards and more specifically, the (many) descendents of Mohammed Ali’s family….. The interior layout of the domed rooms is quite irregular. In one of the main central chambers, which is richly decorated in green and gold, lies Tousson, Ismail, and Ibrahim Pasha, the sons of Mohammed Ali by Amina. She was his first and favorite wife…. They are surrounded by their wives and children and faithful servants. The first memorial, upon entering one of the chambers is the towering white marble tomb of the mother of Khedive Tawfiq (1879-92). Under the dome next to Tousson are the cenotaphs of ‘Abbas I, his son Ilhami Pasha, his wife, and Ahmad Rif’at, son of Ibrahim Pasha.”

For more photos check my flickr...


P.S. There is a very interesting Lebanese movie that will be shown on Wednesday in City Stars and Galaxy. It’s called Bosta. I don’t know yet what is about and I didn’t even see the trailer. I just saw the poster when I was in Prince Taz Palace, and I saw that it was starring Nadine Labky! So let’s see how she is doing as an actress after her success in directing video clips. I also liked their phrase: They danced to forget their pain..


Leo The African

https://i1.wp.com/ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/0349106002.01._SCTZZZZZZZ_.jpgI have been trying to read “Leo The African” by Amin Maalouf. I really like this writer’s style. He attracted my attention with “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes”, and now he is doing it again with this novel. The begining of the novel is a little bit boring, talking about Hassan El Wazzan’s childhood, his family, their departure from Granada in the 15th century. Later on the story gets better and better when they moved to Fez, and he started to travel in Africa. Later on he will move to Cairo, then will  be captured in Rome, but I didn’t reach this part yet.

Here are some of my favorite parts, I will post more insha allah when I finish it:

“When a man is rich, whether in gold or in knowledge, he must treat the poverty of others with consideration.” p. 37

“Sometimes it is necessary to disobey The Most High to obey Him more efectively.” p. 76

“Many men discover the whole world while seeking only to make their fortune. But as for you, my son, you will stumble on your treasure as you seek to discover the world.” p. 187

“…Abu Khamr used to complain that the Muslim lands produced fewer books than they used to, and that they were mostly repetitions or summaries of older books. On that your father and your grandfather always agreed; in the first centuries of Islam, he would say bitterly, one could hardly count the treatises on philosophy, mathematics, medicine or astronomy. The poets themselves were far more numerous and innovative, both in style and in content.

In Andalus too intellectual activity was flourishing, and its fruits were the books which were patiently copied and circulated among learned men from China to the far West. And then came the drying up of the spirit and of the pen. To defend themselves against the ideas and customs of the Franks, men turned Tradition into a citadel in which they shut themselves up. Granada could only produce imitators without talent or boldness.” p. 37

to be continued

Back from Alexandria

Yaah! What a weekend! On Friday me and my mother joined PTP in a walk in Alexandria, we started with el Nabi Danial street, went to cavafy house, then Sayed Darwish museum, El souq el faransawi, zan`et el settat, some mosques there, then finished the tour at Qaitbay fortress. I can’t beleive it that my mom was able to continue the whole tour, all of us were extremely tired (especially after a delicious meal at Abu Ashraf).

The trip should have a separate post, so this is not the official Alexandria post 😉

I had an interesting incident at Abu Ashraf. After eating one whole Bouri fish, calamaria, and shrimps, we were getting ready to move. We saw a famous singer (ME), I really like his songs… ma3aleina. One of my friends was calling me and I told her about that guy because she likes his songs too. She was excited about this as she was searching for his agents’ contacts, her cousin is preparing for her wedding and she wants the guy to sing in her wedding. El mohem… I went there and talked to him with my utmost apologetical tone (I hate to intrude the privacy of others), and told him about this,, he was very nice and told me call Mr. Mohamed |Fouad at 010 XXXX, no no take this instead 012 XXXX. I thanked him and gave the number to my friend. Two minutes later she called me saying that the number is wrong….. mmm. I am trying to convince myself that he didn’t mean to give me a wrong number, and that the name Mohamed Fouad was just a coincidence,,, but there is a hidden voice telling me that he was mocking me, and if this is true, this guy will be on my black list forever.


Remember when I was talking about Mohamed Mounir’s “When I was 20 years old“??? Tamer El-Sayed reminded me that I was eager to re-read the translation of the song…. and HERE it is:

Yesterday when I was young. I used to enjoy my youth… Dwell in my yearnings and love… I was only twenty… waves were racing by… health was near by… what splendor years they were… I used to enjoy my youth among my companions… All night long… I knew heartache… used to have a crush on many ladies but refused to give in… ‘cos this is typically my arabic personality… and if i say i would still want… to fall in love more and more… then it’ll be obiviously a lie… Yesterday love overwhelmed me… deep inside its whirlpool… I tried my best to defeat it… And distract myself away… Yesterday I was twenty…

This is the completed translation, but this is what is written on the cover of the Mohamed Mounir’s tape… 

Take the lead

Akhiran I managed to kidnap my mother and head for a long weekend in the north coast. I always beleived that only fools would bring a laptop when they go on vacations, but here I am, at 11:30 pm, sitting in the living room, the sea is surprisingly quiet tonight, I have just finished watching Antonio Banderas in “Take the lead“, an insipring movie of ballroom dancing teacher who decide to try a new way in teaching high schoolers.

What touched me in the movie was something else,,, there was a scene when the kids really loved dancing to the extent that they danced everywhere, in the metro, moved their feet at classes, moved around the house as if they were waltzing,,,, THIS IS THE FEELING YOU GET WHEN YOU ENJOY DOING SOMETHING.

I used to feel this too a long time ago.

https://i1.wp.com/www.aikidofaq.com/bilder/gif89/kote2.gifIn Aikido there is a uki (the attacker) and nage (the defender / the thrower), when u are the uki, you try to attack ur partner and discover his points of weaknesses, while at the same time feel his movements in order to be safe. When u are the nage, you calculate the movements of ur partner, his speed, his direction, anticipate what’s the best reaction to his attack, then u ‘take the lead’ and direct him in the best place where u are in control, all this by steady and smooth footsteps and body movements… So basically it is just like a dance. So PLASE, if anyone told u Aikido is the art of breaking bones, know that he talking nonesense, beleive me.

https://i1.wp.com/www.aikidofaq.com/bilder/gif89/juyi.gifI won’t go into the details of energy flow and harmony, which are the esense of Aikido, because this is not the appropriate place. It’s just that I am angry at myself. very angry actually. I love aikido. I spent years dedicated to the art, not just me but my friends too. I had great memories, and awful ones too. We had many laughters together, but I can also remember some tears….. So why did I lose this feeling of dedication? why for 3 years have i erased the wonderful experience of 3 other years! I keep telling myself I will get back to the dojo, I will get my white gi and my black hakama, will bring my wooden jo and boken and will proundly enter MY dojo, the place where I used to feel peace and serenity. But I don’t. I went to the dojo a couple of times during the past 6 months. I even commited myself to go at least twice per week for a month (Mid January till mid feb). So what is happening? will it be dropped from my schedule once and for all??? will I afford to lose this few moments of harmony?

Outdoors outtings in Cairo

I think I mentioned it before,,,, I LOVE outdoors outtings, I am fed up with the normal cafe me and my friends go to. So we decided that the priority will always be to open air places, we usually go out in Maadi:

  • Villa 55: Our newest discovery in Maadi, it is located in street # 9, in front of Lucille’s, 2 blocs before Macdonalds.. You can’t miss it. It is a villa with a garden. Very pretty furniture. There is a kids corner too. What I like about it is that you really feel at home, or at the family’s place on the north coast (which is even better).
  • Wadi Degla: hiking or cycling in the morning, barbecue, and tea by night. It’s better to have a 4X4, but generally we park the car outside and walk, or we go in with one car filled with all the needed materials (fa7m, shawaia, food, drinks,,,). We went to the other side of the valley, on the side of the canyons,,, great view !
  • Euro Deli: we used to love it, we had many birthdays there, but after a while we didn’t like the service or the maintenance
  • Ora cafe: nice, the owners are actually our friends, so we have some special treatment from the staff, but the food is not wow and on thursdays it gets very crowded with high schoolers.
  • Route 66: great burger, little bit cold by night, and some people don’t like eating on the trottoir, but for me I don’t mind khaless. And when we go like “I will awful after eating the whole burger”, we otder it without the bread,, hehe
  • Beano’s: I don’t know why but I really like Beano’s, maybe its colours, its furnitures, the staff’s attitude, I don’t know. In Maadi they have 2 places, both with an outdoors area, I prefer the one in share3 9, I feel kinda out of Cairo with all the foreigners having breakfast, also when I used to bike on friday mornings with some friends, we used to finish the tour there, so for me it is associated with happy feelings 🙂
  • Felouka: It has been a long time since we last took a felouka (almost a year), however, we truly enjoy the summer breeze.

And when we decide to rebel and go out of Maadi, we go places like: 

  • The horses stable: One day we were out of ideas, so we called the guy in charge, explained that we will come, but won’t ride, we’ll just sit and drink tea, I love this place (it was featured in Mostafa Shaaban’s movie “Ahlam Omrena”), the place is clean and the horses are beautiful !
  • Il Pennelo: either in Mohandessin or in Heliopolis, it is really nice, we’d go there, paint, have some laughs and enjoy it. It is not really our type of outdoors, in Heliopolis you are overlooking a busy street, in Mohandessin you are in between some buildings, but it’s ok.
  • Trianon: it opened a branch in Giza, infront of Sheraton El Qahira, right after Gold’s Gym. It’s not bad. Little bit pricey for a normal cafe. Great view. The ambiance didn’t really touch me though.
  • Khan El Khalili: a couple of times we went to Khan El Khalili, very noisy, very touristic, bas aho, taghyeer.
  • Pause Cafe: In the airport mall, there is a nice cafe. It is not wow, I will think twice before going all the way to the airport to sit in a cafe. The exceptional thing about it is its atmosphere, it will feel like being on the north coast, if u like the crowds at Marina, you may like this place. For me I prefer quiter places where I can have a normal conversation with my friends.
  • Cilantro Nile City: generally Cilantro is not bad, but there is nothing new, Cilantro 3 years ago is the same Cilantro today. The Nile City branch has an advantage of having a view on the Nile from Imbaba’s bridge, but it is not outdoors,,, mmm maybe I should take it off my list.
  • Toot Express / Tres Bien / Queen: These are not really an outting-place, we have our drinks or sandwiches in the cars, but it’s okay, when we are 3 or 4, we don’t need anything more than that.
  • Clubs: Nadi El Yaght, Maadi, Gezira… It may sound old fashioned, but one of the greatest places to hang out quietly and enjoy some quality time are the clubs we used to go to when we were kids. When there are friends who are not members we get them tickets (15 or 20 LE), it is not that costy because the food prices in the cluba are WAY less than outside it.

Finally, it’s not about where to go out that counts, it’s with who you go out. El ganna men gheir nas ma tendass. Ekhtar el rafiq qabl el tariq. I can feel happy in the desert with the right people, and I can feel miserable in the midst of a beautiful scenery.


Reading List

Stolen from Juka, I think it is really nice 🙂

Instructions: Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read
*Italicize the ones you want to read
*Leave the ones that you aren’t interested in alone.

1.The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2.Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3.To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4.Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5.The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6.The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7.The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10.A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12.Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21.The Hobbit (Tolkien)

22.The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23.Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26.The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32.The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33.Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34.1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40.The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47.The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48.Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49.The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50.She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51.The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54.Great Expectations (Dickens)
55.The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62.The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73.Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75.The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)

76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78.The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100.Ulysses (James Joyce)

A Journey in Islamic Cairo

Yesterday I decided to go for a tour in Islamic Cairo with a friend. We went to Bayt Zeinab Khatoun, Bayt El Sitt Wasila, Bayt El Harrawi. Then we headed to The Mawlaweya complex and Prince Taz Palace. It was a nice journey 🙂

Please check out my photos and let me hear ur comments (@ Flickr) I will post more photos later on.

Lessons of life

Today, I had an interesting experience. I was walking with less than one LE in my pockets!

It all started by spending money for few little stuff (capuccino from on the run, chocolate for the office gus, and few other stuff). I reminded myself that I needed to get some money from the ATM, but I totally forgot it during the day. So I finished work, headed to the ATM machine, and OOPS, it is not available !!!! I went to others ATMs and likewise !!!

I was in big trouble. I counted all the money I had, threw everything in my bag, just to pay for the parking (3 LE). I even gave the guy coins of 25 and 10 piasters claiming that I want to get rid of the coins !!

El mohem, later on I had to visit a friend’s mom, so I went to another ATM, and pouf! it worked! (sigh).

The funniest thing is that later on I put my hands in my pockets and found some money,,,,, can u imagine!!!!!

Lessons learnt:

  1. Put all the money in the wallet not my pockets
  2. put extra money in the car for emergencies
  3. never spend money without counting what’s left

ma7adesh beyakolha belsahel 😀


“O God, grant us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and wisdom to know one from the other.” – Reinhold Niebuhr (The Serenity Prayer)

Many times I was criticized of being very passionate, and I was told that this passion is not enough to maintain any development, and that I should slow down and be more realistic. I didn’t really listen to these words because I didn’t see anything wrong in doing things with passion, plus I don’t identify myself as a passionate person per se. I am not that romantic, but I can be swept away while gazing at the stars.

I beleive in the saying “love what you do untill you do what you love”, this is why I have to find pleasures in doing the things I have to do. This is why I should seek things mainly for themselves, then for other objectives, meaning that I should work mainly because I beleive in the value of my output and secondly because of finanical security, and professional growth. I should play sports mainly for the movement itself, then for the health that accompany playing sports. I should love people mainly because for themselves, then for the social life we have together.

Then I discovered that this is not enough. I discovered that this flame had its time then it fades.

I won’t say “I am a Gemini”, I can change my mind whenever I want. No. Feeling committed is very important to grow in life. But till when will I stick to things that I no longer feel for it….