Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oh where to begin. I guess at the beginning would be a good place. Just about two weeks ago I drove to Ain el Sokhna - drove from Alex to Cairo on my own - met with my friend Margaret and her hubby at Carrefour - then we did a bit of shopping - then I followed them through Cairo and onto the Sokhna highway - very nice highway. Had a bit of trouble keeping up with my guide - not really surprising considering the traffic in Cairo - glad I do not live there. But am confident that I will soon be driving to shop and visit. So beware any of you who live in Cairo - here I come.

Had a wonderful five days in Ain el Sokhna - stayed at the Ramada hotel there - 2 bedroom suite, 2 bathrooms, 4 air conditioners and hop skip and a jump from the beach. Spent a lot of time literally hanging around in the water with Margaret. Bonus of being so 'fluffy' - I am buoyant like a cork - just bob around - no effort required. We saw dolphins twice - they were being quite lazy - just swimming by - no jumping and showing off - what beautiful creatures. The water was fantastic - warm - and soooo clean - well until the 2nd last day - one of the ships going by had added some undesirable oil into the water - was very nasty actually. Margaret and Mustafa got the goop on their feet - what a mess - I was wearing my water shoes so they have goop on the soles - but my feet stayed clean. Margaret got adventurous and bought a mask and snorkel - unfortunately she had trouble with the mask - one side kept filling up with water. I tried it and had more success - must admit it was really great being able to see the fish and the coral - talk about a wondrous sight. I went and bought myself a pair - they were not very expensive -good thing - as my set ended up buried at the bottom of the sea - I was swimming back to shore and had tucked the gear under my shirt and they came out and sank like a proverbial stone. But I had enough fun with them that I am seriously going to look for a dive shop and get a good face mask and snorkel - looking forward to having more fun looking beneath the surface and seeing lots more beautiful things. Unfortunately the first day we were out Margaret overdid it and got sunburned - I was very fortunate and did not get a burn - used lots of sun screen - do need to find a dermatologist here though - have a patch on my nose that needs to be looked at again - had had some cancer removed prior to coming here in 2003 - and the patch is back - so do need to get it looked after - since skin cancer runs in my family and I have had that patch removed as well as 2 moles that were diagnosed as pre-cancerous - if I were really good I would no longer go out in the sun - but sorry I like being in the water way to much to give it up completely - but at least I am now using sunscreen and being a bit more careful. So after the first day we opted to go early in the morning and then head back to the room until 2 or 3 in the afternoon and then we stayed out until between 6 and 7 - then back to the room to change and get ready for supper. Must admit it was very nice having someone come in every day and clean up after us - make the beds, etc., and going out for meals was a very nice treat as well - the food was nothing fantastic but it was food and I did not have to cook it or clean up after it.

We left on Thursday at noon - we met Mustafa at the port where he works - and headed to Cairo. I had planned on just going on my own - but I was not 100% sure of my way - so I opted to spend some time with Margaret at Carrefour in Maadi while she waited for Mustafa to sign the paperwork for the new car they were purchasing. Mustafa promised it would be no more than an hour - well unfortunately it was over 3 hours later before we headed out again - right into Cairo rush hour - and of course the road to Alex was extremely busy - but now that I have done it once I can do it on my own - and will do so - as it looks as if Margaret will be moving to Sokhna in the next five or six months.

Arrived home Thursday evening - and then Friday Aymn asked if I would travel to Marsa Matrouh to meet with him for at least four days - so I left Sunday at noon on my way to Marsa Matrouh. I oooohed and aaaaahed over the colour of the sea on my way to Marsa Matrouh - it is beautiful - have not seen those colours in real life ever. It is fantastic. The road was good - not a lot of traffic on it - but I bet on Thursday it is busier. Arrived in Marsa Matrouh - around 3 - Aymn had been calling me all the way - he called me at around 2 - asked me where I was -said I was at the 100 km mark from Marsa Matrouh - he asked me what was taking so long - I figured I was doing quite well - had travelled over 200 km in 2 hours - not bad - but he said he would catch a bus and meet with me half way - he called me about 15 minutes later - asked me where I was - said I was about 50 km from Matrouh - he was shocked - told me to keep my eyes open for a bus that was going the opposite direction - he was sitting beside the driver and would have the driver flash the headlights at me when he saw me - so about 25 km outside of Marsa Matrouh I met up with the bus. Arrived in Marsa Matrouh and Aymn received a phone call from Libya that set him off - he is having trouble with an ex- partner - and of course that meant he needed to head back to Libya sooner than expected - we had not quite two days before he left for Libya and I came back to Alex - he wanted me to hang around Matrouh and wait for him - but I know his schedule is much to elastic for my liking - did not want to be stuck in a rented apartment for God only knows how long - so I came back after leaving him at the bus depot. Of course he had not bothered to get an apartment before I arrived - so we spent time finding a place to stay, we ended up renting a nice apartment - 3 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, sala for 110 LE a night - wish is about 22 CAN a night - and the place was located in the boonies - so it was very quiet - at least the first night was - 2nd night was noisier - the resort located near had a concert going on - lasted until after 2 a.m. - when Aymn got back in. He had to leave at 11:30 p.m. to meet a truck driver and take delivery of the copper and he did not get back in until after 2 - think it was around 2:30 a.m. I opted to stay in and sleep. We went to a beach for a couple of hours on Monday - and I forgot my camera - figured I would have a couple more days to take pictures - but then he dropped the bomb that he was heading back to Libya. Did manage to get a few photos before we left town on Tuesday.

The car did really well - until the last 150 km into Alex. Not sure what is wrong - but when I turn left it sounds as if something is rubbing on the right hand side by the tire - also the a/c is making a lot of gurgling noises and is depositing water in the car - not a good thing. So will have to take it in and have it looked after before I do any more big trips.

On August 25th I took delivery of my new chairs - now I need to rearrange the furniture and find room for them - sigh - such troubles I have. Today went out and bought some 'covers' for the chairs - bought some towels and face cloths to put on the arms and the headrest and back of the chair to protect the fabric. The fabric is 'faux suede' so I want it protected from sweat and oil from the skin.

While I was out today I picked up my two new dresses - sure do wish Omar the tent maker had an ounce of imagination - the one dress I ordered has dark blue and cream fabric - and the colour of the stitching is lost in the royal blue fabric - the fabric was supposed to be a lighter blue - but they did not have any - so I ordered the royal blue - and did not even think about the thread colour - oh well -live and learn.

Not a lot more to report. Have not really had an opportunity to have a good chat with Aymn - not sure I will live long enough for that to happen - because of course he is always 'busy' with other things, the business, the kids, Amel, but never seems to find time for me - he asked me what his talents were - told him that he has the talent of burying his head in the sand - and after explaining what I meant - I clarified that I did not think this was a positive talent - not sure if he 'got' it - but will persevere - so he might understand that Amel is not the only one that has had to deal with many 'new and different' things. Asked him why he did not come to me when it was my turn - he said he was angry with me - thought I had intentionally hurt him and his kids - obviously he does not know me as well as he thinks he does. But I have decided that I am going to continue going to the family events - if Amel and the kids opt to stay home - that is their loss - I have no problem seeing them in a social setting - and if they cannot deal with me in a social setting - their loss. At least that is how I am feeling right now - time will tell.

Will try to upload a couple of pictures at a later date - do not feel like fighting with this computer right now.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

It has been an eventful two weeks in my little world.

I have been working at learning Arabic - must admit two hours a day five times a week is a bit much - after an hour my brain turns to mush and is raising the white flag to surrender. But I am slowly, slowly learning a bit. Unfortunately, with Suzanne moving I really do not have anyone to practice on - I do not know enough to be able to visit with Mom - and of course Aymn prefers to speak English - so I am going to have to figure something out. I am heading into the last week of lessons - Wafa - my teacher - heads back to work on Sunday - so I will be having the classes in the evening instead of in the morning - should be interesting. Then I am taking a break - planning on going to Sokhna for five or so days - I SO NEED this break - would love to invite Aymn - but I know he would say yes and then back out at the last minute because of his family. And I am tired of being disappointed - so I do not even bother asking any more.

We went to Damietta - under the guise of looking at furniture - but soon became apparent that the real reason was that Aymn had some business to attend to and he did not want to take a bus or mini van - much more comfortable in the air conditioned vehicle - we did look at two places for furniture - took about 30 minutes of time - the rest of the time was spent on his business. So we are no closer to getting a dining room suite - sigh - now why am I not surprised.

Went shopping twice with Margaret - must quit doing that - the first trip ended up with me succumbing and purchasing two chairs that I had been thinking about buying - told Aymn about them - he hit the roof - too expensive - have not yet told him that I bought them - guess I need to bite the bullet and let him know. They are swivel/rocker/recliners - soooooo comfy. I am so looking forward to enjoying them. They are scheduled to be delivered on August 25 - can hardly wait - will cost 100 LE to get them carried up to my apartment - this will be interesting - if they manage to get them up I will gladly pay 200 LE - I am having doubts that they will be able to carry them up the stairs - the stairs are not very wide - but time will tell. Then the second time we went shopping we stopped in at my favourite dress store and I ended up buying two new dresses- they will be ready in 10 days - they have to be custom made - by Omar the tent maker - have been there so often that they k now me by name - albeit it is Aymn's name - as you never give out your own name - just not done here - just hope they still have the colours I want in stock. One of the dresses is a really nice shade of blue with cream inserts and cream stitching, the other dress is a really bright coral with cream - it has cream chiffon as side inserts at the bottom of the dress - really like the colour - nice and bright - which means Aymn will likely not be too keen on it - he has 'realized' that we have different tastes when it comes to clothes - he came to this realization when I came back from Canada wearing a tunic I had made - bought the fabric in Canada - cotton - white with what looks like paintball splotches in bright colours all over it - he is not into bright colours - unfortunately for him the 'old' Maureen is making herself heard - as you all know I LOVE bright colours.

Last Sunday there was an engagement party for one of Aymn's cousins. I really wanted to go - invited myself - Gehan (SIL) ran it past Aunt Mehasan - who was just fine with it - even asked Aymn last Friday if I could go - he said fine - then on Sunday he requested that I not go because Amel and the kids were going - I was not happy. He said he would take me to the house later to offer my congrats. After he left I phoned him and asked him why he did not take Amel and the kids by the house later to offer congrats at which time he blew a gasket and said he would not go and neither would anyone else - so I figured it was safe for me to go. Well it turned out that he was going to go - found out when he called me at 11:00 p.m. and asked where I was - I told him I was at the party - he blew yet another gasket - how could I do that - how could he bring Amel and the kids if I were there - Amel would be so humiliated and embarrassed with my being there - I offered to leave - got out my keys and he hung up on me - my SIL, MIL and one of my nieces asked what was going on - said I was going home because if I stayed Aymn and family would not come. They refused to let me go - said so what if they do not come. He phoned again and I again said I would leave - he again went off then hung up - again I was told to stay. He phoned a third time - where would he be, he was always going to be in the middle, what would Amel think if I was sitting beside Mom and my SIL - she would think they were being disloyal to her - yada, yada, yada - and he said that he was taking the the family home and were not coming. Got off the phone and the family again said - so what if he chooses not to come. So after feeling down for about 10 minutes - I said screw it and I enjoyed myself. Did not get home until 2:30 a.m. - much to late for this old lady. Especially as I had to get up at 6 and head to class at 8 - ARGH. Had planned on going to club Monday morning - but opted instead to head home and sleep - had a wonderful migraine brewing because of stress - how odd. Spent most of the day fighting the migraine - which meant I spent most of the day sleeping. Did not hear from Aymn - even though technically at 1o:30 Sunday night it was my time.

Tuesday I went to class as usual - feeling pretty good - no headache -manged to feel rested - and at 10:30 himself called - wanted to know where I was - told him I was at my Arabic class - asked when I would be finished - told him by 11 I would be done - said he would call me back then. Called me a couple of minutes after 11 - asked me to meet him at El Baron - a coffee shop - asked him if I was picking him up or what - said to park the car on the street. OK. So I drove there - must admit I was very nervous - even though I KNEW I had done nothing wrong - went and sat beside him - he had opted to sit outside -which mean the seats are situated so that you are sitting beside each other with a table between - after 20 minutes of sitting there - with him asking me how I was, how was class, when was my friend arriving, and how was my Arabic teacher - and of course making calls on his mobile - I prepared to leave - he asked me if I was leaving - said that there did not seem to be much point of being there - as nothing was going on - he then asked if I was going home - to which I said yes - then I got up and went to the car -he stayed and dealt with the waiter - I had no idea if he was coming with me or not - so I got ready to leave and he walked up to the car just before I took off - so I let him in - drove by his home - he did not ask me to let him out - so drove to my place - he came in with me and then he started again with all this crap about Amel being humiliated and embarrassed - what a load - he also asked when I decided to go - told him when he said he and his family were not going I figured it would be safe for me to go - asked me why I did not let him know - told I did not know - then asked him why he did not let me know he had changed his mind - about going and about going to Libya - because the last I knew he was heading to Libya Sunday night after stopping in briefly at the party - he did not answer - asked me if it would have cost much to call him and let him know my change of plans - said no it would not and then asked him the same question. I was very cool, calm and collected and did not apologize once - which I think he was really waiting for - but again I did not do anything wrong. After about 40 minutes - all the while making calls and taking calls on his mobile - he got up to leave - I then asked him if I should be contacting a lawyer while he was in Libya - he looked puzzled - and I continued - to start divorce proceedings - the look on his face was priceless - looked like he had been hit with a 2 x 4 - he went and sat down again. He had his say - I have yet to have mine - as there was not enough time because I had to leave by 3 to meet Margaret for our evening out. But I have been busy 'writing' out my response. Chatted with him briefly that we need to resolve this - he said in shaa allah - and I stated that he cannot bury his head in the sand and hope it will go away - because it will not - only way that is going to happen is if I end the marriage - then Amel and the kids will be happy - but he will not - he does not want me to leave - says he needs me - we will see.

So that has been the excitement in my life over the last few weeks. Aymn is in Libya - where he runs to when things get to be too much for him here. But when he comes back we are GOING to talk and in shaa allah he will GET what I am saying - not holding my breath - but I am hopeful. Keep me in your prayers I am going to need all the help I can garner.