day trip in Alexandria

While I was in Cairo I went along with my friends Svati, Sanjay, Tammy and Nehal to Alexandria for a day. I was kind of semi-aware of it - it's Mediterranean, somewhat European inflected history and that Lawrence Durrell had of course written a book there and various literary types had hung out there as they seemed to do with astonishing flexibility until World War II. How come we don't? How come we have to sit at our desks and wait for the monsoon to come so that we can write? Some of us anyway, sigh.... But I digress. Alexandria lived up to its image as a fancy holiday resort but that was after. First of all we had to negotiate a highly tedious conversation with the Tourist Police (yep, a fine Egyptian institution specialising in befuddled expressions - and pictured below). Then, we ate breakfast in Rameses station and commented on how like VT it was and nodded wisely about the Brits. Then finally we were on the train and all said how much nicer than Indian trains it was alt

egypt se cairo tak - part 1 (buildings)

It had always been my dream to go to Egypt. Perhaps not unlike other people my age, as a kid I devoured factual books from the library. The idea of improving yourself was intimately tied to the the acquistion of "general knowledge" - and there was even a sense of classical romance tied to it. Before there was the world wide web and post-modernism, the things you could know about the world and about history seemed finite. If you could master this store of information, then indeed you could be the master of the universe - like the smart South Indian nerdy boys who were in Bournvita Quiz Contest and who would later clear the IIT-JEE or well, maybe jump straight to MIT (there was one such child wonder in my school, wonder what sort of life he's having now in this time of infinite perspectives, sigh). So it was that us pre-globalisation kids read along with our Riverdale High and ACKs, Tell Me Why, Wonders of the World and all other manner of encyclopaedically minded books. Wh