A KHAWAGA'S TALE : Last weekend of freedom

Peter A. Carrigan
6 Min Read

Last weekend was my last weekend of freedom. It was my last lie in because, at last, I am going to be a dad on Wednesday.

“Your life will never be the same again, is a line I have been hearing a lot recently.

Sure, it hasn’t been the same since I moved to Egypt. It has only gotten better and better. So, I am ready, bring it on.

Egypt’s economy goes from strength to strength, especially in the tourism sector. My wife’s midwife in Chester has booked a holiday on the Red Sea, her cousins in Leeds are also talking about visiting Egypt, and the barber who cut my hair last week is visiting in March.

The budget airline Easyjet will be flying out of London’s Gatwick airport in April to both Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurgada. Their introductory fares are approximately LE 700 each way.

Christmas is now on sale in England and so is a Red Sea holiday.

Some of this interest is no doubt generated by the Tutankhamun exhibition currently wowing the crowds in London, as well as the bargain basement packages. It would be cheaper for me to book a package holiday, flights and a resort hotel on the Red Sea, than pay the return airfare on a regular flight.

The highbrow English newspaper The Guardian has listed Alf Leila Boutique Bed & Breakfast in Dahab, as one of the world’s best. You can have a look at this German-Egyptian venture at www.alfleila.com or phone 016 585 7749.

While you’re at it, or should that be while you’re surfing the web, check out another Guardian first. The author Ziauddin Sardar will be blogging the Quran during 2008.

Sardar is British of Pakistani heritage, and is the author of what, in my humble opinion, is the best book around for non-Muslims to learn more about Islamic culture. I would describe the book Desperately Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Skeptical Muslim as a kind of fear-and-loathing romp, from his days as a British student activist, to academia and employment with the Saudis, to studying the pilgrims on the Hajj, among other varied and whacky jobs in Muslim countries. So now, Sardar is blogging the Quran, from beginning to end, discussing its verses, themes, language and meaning. Check out [email protected].

Looks like my 2008 predictions published last week are already in trouble, with Barack Obama winning in Iowa and my pick, Hillary, back in third place. But it is early days.

What Egypt needs is a gonzo journalist, in Borat style, to cover the US election first-hand to ask all the tough questions of the candidates about their Middle Eastern policy.

“Excuse me, Mr/Madam Candidate, if elected President of these here United States, what would be your policy towards Syria and their style of moustache? Would you release the classified documents proving CIA involvement in the case of the mice on the Saudi domestic flight in December 2006? How many camels to buy your wife?

If there is anyone interested in sponsoring such a project, please get in touch via my email address. Just think of the DVD sales, TV specials and the book.

Possibly, the friend of a friend who I met recently would sponsor me. His brother is building the world’s largest self-storage facility in Dubai and my friend’s friend thinks Cairo could do with a similar building.

Believe it or not, self-storage is a booming business around the world and with Egypt’s economy purring along, my friend’s friend sees Egypt has a logical market. Any interested investors can also contact me via my email address.

A quality English language newspaper is to be launched in March from Abu Dhabi and sold throughout the Middle East. Competition for the Daily News Egypt? Bring that on too!

Finally, other inspiring news out of the Emirates is that the two men who raped the French teenager in Dubai last year, who was then accused of being a homosexual and asking for it, have been sent down for 15 years. It is not a happy ending though, because one of the men was infected with the Aids virus.

The year is not off to a great start, with the goings on in Pakistan and Kenya, the rising tide of global warming and oil at $100 a barrel (158.987296 litres). But come Wednesday none of it will matter, because I will finally be a dad and my life will never be the same again. Elhamdulillah!

[email protected]

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