Sunday, July 03, 2005

Hot Eye

My manager at work decided to have a team building activity by going to ElAin ElSokhna to spend a day. On Thursday, they decided to have it an overnight thing. I'm not really into those people I currently work with, and am definetely not into travelling with them and their families. This job is everything I ain't, and these people are everything I'm not. Somehow I agreed to join, since this was a work-related team building activity, but told them I'd be arriving late on Saturday since I have stuff to do in the morning.

Saturday morning, only had 3 hours of sleep, went to that Canada Day celebration on Friday night (Canadians are sure nice people), and for some reason stayed up till 5am, and had to wake up at 8am to go renew my passport before its too crowded. I take with me all the documents that could possibly be required for the passport; National ID, Military certificate, birth certificate, university certificate, old passport, and head to the passports office to realize that I only have two photos when they need 4. Fortunately, they have the office open until 8 at night to ease on the poor citizens of Egypt. So I go to Phillipe to make more photos of the picture they have in negative of me since 1997. The photos will be ready at 5pm for me to pick up and then I can make use of the late working hours of the passport office.

I go home, not having enough time to sleep, but just sit there idle drinking my cup of tea with cream and checking the newspapers, and then head off for that setup meeting arranged through a friend of my sister. My sister's friend is a nice lady who's been wanting to set me up for a while. So last week when I met her with my sister, we agreed to meet one of her candidates on Saturday morning. Well, the meeting went fine, spent an hour and a half or so with the girl, and my sister's friend and her little kids. Finally, I politely escape to go buy a new spare tire.

I've been driving without one since last December, since it was stolen. That sucker, broke the car window, and only stole the spare tire, nothing else. So I finally buy a new tire, and abide by my friend's saying; "farrat febnak wala tefarrat festebnak" (spare your child, but don't spare your tire). I don't like children anyways.

In the afternoon, I pick up the photos and go to the passport office again. About 25 people sitting there waiting. Doesn't look so bad. The officer takes the application from me and asks me to wait. I sit there waiting forever, then start to chat with this Sudanese looking lady, then her husband joins and we start joking while their little kid is jumping on their laps. I start to feel the exhaustion from the lack of sleep, the heat and the lack of ventilation in the waiting area and try to get a power nap while sitting, but can't. The guy three seats down is complaining to everyone about how they wouldn't take his copy of the Military certificate requiring him to get it officially stamped and how he had to run to two different places to do it. Then he endlessly complains about the slacker employee who's keeping all those people waiting.

I start a conversation with the guy sitting between us --a "normal worker" as his ID indicated. He then asks me if its allowed to smoke here, and I anxiously look for a "no smoking" sign, to fortunately find one and point him to it, telling him that he can smoke outside and that smoking is bad for his health! He concurs and asks me to fill the little slip for him as he can't write. Then this hip guy comes in, his boxer is showing and his pants are hanging half way down his butt, sits down for few minutes then stands up. Very restless guy. I mock him with my normal worker neighbor, "we've been sitting for an hour now, and it hasn't been a few minutes for him yet and he's already up." Then the hip guy pulls out a cigarette and I quickly call at him pointing to the "no smoking" sign, and my neighor tells him that he can smoke outside if he wants. I look to my neighbor and tell him, "poor you, he can't hold himself for a few minutes, and you've been sitting here for over an hour without a smoke, hehe".

Two hours later, the only employee in the office finally calls my name. I jump off my seat to hand him my papers. He looks at my photos and asks if these are recent photos. I tell him, sure, I've just gained some weight, and then think to myself, "did I really get that old that he can notice?! its only been 8 years!"

Can finally head to Ain AlSokhna now. Its almost sunset, I'm wondering why am I going. I'll be there at 9 and will leave at noon tomorrow. Oh well, they've already reserved a room for me, plus if I get one hour on the beach, that'll be good enough for me. I listen to Jebril's recitation of the Quran for the whole way there. God tells Moses to go to the Pharaoh of Egypt for he has indeed transgressed, but to speak to him mildly; maybe he'll take warning or fear (Taha:43,44). Why didn't He ask Moses to curse him, or to take bombs with him and bomb the hell out of the Pyramids?!

I arrive at the hotel in Sokhna, and my sister's friend calls me, so I tell her that there was no connection with the girl in the morning, so I can't meet her again. I didn't tell her though how I didn't like the way she spoke of the workers at her father's company, which she's running and using her management skills and experience (or lack of) in trying to make those workers productive.

AlAin AlSokhna is a good retreat from Cairo. I love the beach, love playing in the sand, and AlSokhna provides that with a wonderful sea just an hour away from Cairo. I arrived just at dinner time, my team mates are all sitting on separate tables with their families, so I take a table alone in the middle of the restaurant avoiding the company of any of them, finish dinner, and head to my room. My manager calls me to join them in the cafe, but I refuse and tell him I'm too tired and am already in bed. I hang up with him, jump off bed, put on my shorts, take my portable music player and head to the beach, light a cigarette, listen to the music, watch the sea and the stars (remind myself to get a book about astronomy to figure out which star is which), and enjoy. Boy, are we missing alot by living in this ugly city, Cairo.

An hour later, the batteries are dead, so I head to my room really wanting to jump in that swimming pool, but am too tired for it, so I order room service instead. Eat (again), and sleep till the morning.

My manager told me they'd leave at noon and won't do any group activities, so I skipped breakfast and headed to the beach in the morning. Took along my music, a book, and a cigarette pack. Enjoyed a nice swim, but not for long, as I didn't find an object to swim too, then sat on the beach for a few hours enjoying my music and three cigarettes lit from each other. Not sure why I cried when reading that chapter about "opression of thought" in Egypt!

After my second swim, I take a final dip in the pool, and decide to head home after listening to this song:

Isn't anyone tryin to find me?
Won't somebody come take me home
It's a damp cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Wont you take me by the hand
Take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are
But I... I'm with you
I'm with you

I'm looking for a place
I'm searching for a face
Is anybody here I know
'Cause nothing's going right
And everythings a mess
And no one likes to be alone

Oh why is everything so confusing
Maybe I'm just out of my mind
Yea yea yea


I really enjoy my own company, but I've had enough of me for the day. I'm ready to head back now. I go to my car to find one of the tires flat! I've certainly bought that new spare tire on time. I replace it and drive on, to be stopped by a police officer on the road who tickets me for over speeding, and hands me the ticket saying in English "Have a nice day". I jokingly tell him that its not nice anymore, and he says he's used to saying that in English to the foreigners. I thank him and move on.

So I'm finally back, enjoyed the beach this morning, am ready to pick up my passport this afternoon, and some how I've lost 2Kg since last week.

26 comments:

LouLou said...

Why don't you like the people you work with?

It seems like a really intense dislike if you'd rather by alone after travelling all this distance for a team-building activity. Didn't you even show your face, say hello, make polite chitchat?Nothing at all?

Did they know you arrived?Won't they wonder why they didn't see you?

haal said...

yeah yeah yeah

R said...

Hot Eye?? or Hot Spring?

Mohamed said...

R: yes, Ain is Spring, but I'm fond of calling it Hot Eye. My friends and eye like to give untraditional names to things.

Loulou: yes, I met my teammates, but there were no group activities after I arrived except the late night cafe thing. They were all with their families and stuff. Its not intense dislike or anything, I just prefer my own company over theirs.

Haal: Seems so, yea yea yea.

Me,Myself and I said...

First..why do u surrender and go for such set ups-Meet the Bride- thingys..awkward i suppose..i never surrendered to them...did it my way and hey look at me know..married, had my baby, divorced and all before turning 40...well done..Sokhna is one of my favourite resorts.for one thing the distance, quite close, and the stars..oh well we miss a lot living in this dump-cairo-team building..hummmmm..horrible excersize..actually i find it a futile excerisize, some are team players and others are not and shall never be...so basically u go spend two days and back to the same old shit...and hey what is happening with these two kilos..am very yealous...have not reached a resolve yet...soon soon will

Mohamed said...

You changed your name MMI, cool.

Well, I don't surrender. I only see those who sound interesting, and no one can pressure me to do otherwise! Just widen your options I guess. Why not? as long as you ignore the fact that you're meeting to marry!

Re the 2Kgs, no resolve wala ya7zanoon. Only stuck to the plan (eating less) for a few days. This is my trend, I stick to a diet for 2 days and ruin it for 3, and so on! I'm back to it again today.

Me,Myself and I said...

for the sake of transparency Om Abdul Karim is aka Me, Myself and I..i do not have a double personality but the technology is really challenging me...am i getting that old..have no clue how it appeared this time as OmAK rather than my usual name????

roora said...

hi mohamed ,

are you working in a canadian project , i mean those sponsored by cida? i was looking for work agood job but no results yet

ok , if any body knows ANY projects or comanies contacts, HR emails, phone numbers, addresses, anything

my major is Business adminisrtation and i am currently making masters

i have been working for job and i just cant find , hopefuly i wont stay at home for long and find a good job

Mohamed said...

No I don't Roora. But CIDA is a good place to work for sure. I know a big shot girl who works there, but your chances would actually get slimmer if I recommend you to her!

programmer craig said...

Mo, what do you mean the job (and the people) are everything you aren't? I worked somplace three jobs ago where I felt the work was boring and my co-workers were (mostly) unlikeable and untalented. I was really unhappy there and it had a big negative impact on every other aspect of my life. Looking back on it, I wish I'd tried harder to like my co-workers (or at least accept them) and to get along with management, and to try and find things about the job that I could view more positively. But, I didn't! Sometimes I think I was just enjoying being unhappy there too much or something. Programming is something I love - I'm lucky to be able to do something I enjoy for a living - but it took me a while to get over all that negative feeling.

MMI, I accomplished the same thing as you before I was 40, except for the baby part. Now I feel inferior :\

At least guys don't have the biological clock thing. Except, I don't want to be in a nursing home when my kids are in high school either :p

Mohamed said...

Craig, I can't do that. If I don't like a place, I don't like it. I see the positives, but if its not my thing, I don't excel, and I hate that, so I look for change. For you, I don't know why you look back and think you should've tried harder. You're much better off now it seems to me.

Yeah, that biological clock is not nice. Kinda makes sense for our culture to start getting worried about girls when they're late getting married. But this making babies business is totally out of our hands.

roora said...

thanks but i wasnt interested about cida, i was asking if any body knows any database about comapnies, projects that might be potential and want staff

so if any knows that would help
and thanks i wasnt looking for a recommendation , i just need a list or database and i will go for it and apply

Mohamed said...

el7'a 3alayya ya Roora. There are no databases here, and this is not a job search site.

doshar said...

mohamed, beshweish shewayya 3ala roora. she doesn;t mean to be agressive. she is atyab than you think

about the bride thingie:

i think it would help if when telling the match maker, you would be more specific about what you want in a girl, things can go smoother.

i have been aproached before to find someone for this guy or that. and when i ask so what do you wantin a girl ? the answer is usually just :a good girl and bint nas.

"Good" ya3ni eh?
millions of girls can be good or "kewayyesa" as they say it and you wouldn't like them.

some guys feel if they specify somethings they might appear to be too hypocritical or superficial. so they say we will see and then decide for our selves. but come on. it is an awkaward situation, why put a girl and guy through it when they can avoid it if the proper info is given

for ex. some guys like to talk about religion and such and when asked if they prefer veiled or not they would say "it doesn;t make a difference" and yet they would not agree to a veiled girl because apparently religion is not their top priority. priorites are important. because that is what you really want and everything else momken yeb2a feeha kalam i guess. and these guys would think they are hypocrites if they say they don't want a veiled girl and so they put the girl in nasty position of thinking it is something to do with her. and believe me the person in the middle is usually very embarassed.

i think you are a straight forward type of guy, it would help if you tell your friends/sister etc exactly what you want. then hitting your jackpot would be easier ISA.

Me,Myself and I said...

oh C Z programmer..don't feel inferior, the easiest part is doing z baby...and remember as it is said, if ever you feel down or inferior, just remember that u was one hell of a sperm amongst millions....

Me,Myself and I said...

Hey amazing i am back to posting as MMI, this thing is really freaking me out...is it me or it. What line of bus are u in Mo?

Mohamed said...

Naah Doshar, I think the way I do it is better. Take it easy, see whoever, whenever, and let whatever happen. If 'exactly' what I want exists, then I'd go get it/her from the supermarket right now!

Me,Myself and I said...

Need coupons????

LouLou said...

Mohamed,

Best of luck with both your job & the bride hunt.

"Take it easy, see whoever, whenever, and let whatever happen."

So if any of us were to meet a great girl should we send her your way?

egyptiansally said...

"we agreed to meet one of her candidates on Saturday morning. Well, the meeting went fine, spent an hour and a half or so with the girl, and my sister's friend and her little kids. Finally, I politely escape to go buy a new spare tire."

this is my favorite part. well put.

roora said...

hay egyptian sally so i will see you in wednesday ISA in reham katbketab :)

haal said...

Sounds like you are such a picky guy Fromcairo. All these girls and you can't find one. What's wrong with them? Or shall I say, what's wrong with you?

Mohamed said...

Roora, you'll be at Reham's katb kitab too! I'll be there as well. I wish she had it at a better time.

roora said...

ok mohamed see you there !

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