Sunday, July 09, 2006


Well, I've been here for four days now, and it's still hard to wrap my mind around that fact. It is both exciting and disturbing to revisit certain childhood places, now through the eyes of an adult. I'm not sure why - perhaps it's the fact that the passage of time becomes all the more felt. The city has changed considerably - it's now very much oriented towards presenting tourists with an exoticized, idealized version of the Middle East. It was like that when I was here, but it's like I've entered a world where very extreme polarities are mixing together without problem. Last night, my cousins and I went to a high-end hotel for some drinks, and it was like being an entirely different country altogether. All the services were being performed by migrant workers, and it was uncomfortable being in the place of a privileged traveler. I guess taking South Asian Studies and Women and Gender Studies courses is the reason why - it's a very strange feeling. I suppose this experience isn't any different than one I would have in any other country which depends heavily on Western/European interest. Anyways, I'm still having a wonderful time; it's not like I've been trying to behave like a know-it-all Canadian university student eager to deconstruct everything and catch politically incorrect statements. Ugh.

The heat is so intense that it's virtually impossible to walk outside in the daytime: try it, and you'll be drenched within minutes (read: seconds). We spend mornings and afternoons inside, and when the evening comes around, that is when we venture outside. Nighttime is only somewhat better in this regard, although the humidity is just as lethal. Morning hours (from around midnight to six a.m.) are the best times to take strolls or go running. My family is having a great time bonding, and a wedding always creates an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. We've been eating out every night (the food is ridiculously cheap here), and so far I've had fantastic Gujurati, Lebanese and Pakistani dishes. It's good enough to make you want to move here. For the rest of the time, I've been sight-seeing (my camera SD cards are filling up everyday), shopping (oh dear), eating (of course) and trying to get LSAT preparation squeezed into whatever hours are left.

I have to apologize for my awful Benicio Del Toro write-up; it was done hurriedly in a packed internet cafe at two in the morning. I will try to post another one in the next day or so, but if not, please forgive me. I am too busy sleeping or fighting off the furious gaze of the sun.

As for more movie talk, on the plane ride(s) over, I watched 16 Blocks (well, five minutes of it before losing interest), Failure to Launch, and Philadelphia. None of them were anything to write home about. At the airport, I lucked out and got a two-pack of the Dardenne Brothers' Rosetta and L'Enfant for about 20 dollars (after conversion). Ridiculous! It's region two, of course, but my computer is not discriminating in this regard.

Hmm, what else? I wish I could post pictures, but the computers here won't really accept my memory cards. I'm starting to miss my HP Pavilion, which had those card slots so conveniently mounted on the front panel. It is, of course, still in the computer shop back in Unionville (my mother is keeping me updated). Le sigh. Hope you're all well, and I'll write more later!


JavierAG said...

Sounds awesome, Ali. Also, all the talk about the extreme heat and humidity reminds me of Uruguay during summer, where you just have to get out between midnight and 6 am, when it's really lovely. You'd be better off sleeping or crawling through the house than going out during day. It is fatal (though we had a rather "cold" summer this year, cold within such parameters anyway).

Sigh. I want to travel again. Southern Argentina, Scandinavia or somewhere equally fresh ;) I'm jealous.

Continue having fun, and keeping us updated!

PS: Lousy write-up my ass. It was a beautifully detailed entry, and enjoyable as always.

Nick M. said...

"[I]t's not like I've been trying to behave like a know-it-all Canadian university student eager to deconstruct everything and catch politically incorrect statements."

Why the hell not?

I'm sorry to hear about the extreme heat. I hate sweating; it's one of my least favorite things to do.

"I'm starting to miss my HP Pavilion, which had those card slots so conveniently mounted on the front panel."

Ha. Mine has those also -- if it didn't, I would never be able to find the designated area to place the cartridges.

Good steal on that Dardenne bros. package. I'm jealous (Although I think that their Palme D'or winners are not as good as their other precious films).

P.S.: I'm with Javi, the Del Toro write-up never ignited my gag-reflex. If any of it was sub-par, I probably subconsciously overlooked it because I was so elated by your choice.

Ali said...

Javier - I know the heat is getting to me when I run to the malls for air-conditioning. Keep in mind that I detest malls for the most part; after about an hour, I want to pull my hair out.

Traveling will happen; just give it time. You are still young!

Nick - Why not? I'm on vacation, that's why not! Being a know-it-all politically-correct Canadian university student is exhausting enough during the rest of the year. Only (half) joking.

Actually, I made a mistake about that DVD two-pack I purchased in Amsterdam - it was actually Rosetta and La Promesse packaged together. I blame the heat for this oversight.

I am pleased that everyone is on board with Del Toro. Hopefully there will be just as much support for my next pick. When that will be posted, I do not know.

jesse said...

Your first paragraph reminds me a lot of the emails I was getting last summer from my best friend during the month she spent in India (must be the Women's Studies thing...). It affected her a lot, and still does.

Looking forward to hearing more.

JavierAG said...

Happy (late?) birthday, Ali. Post more!