Sunday, October 28, 2012

Away from the daily routine

Cultural live in Hurghada is a bit dreary. There are lots of bars, cafes, restaurants, night clubs, beach clubs and discos.

That’s not enough for more ambitious minds. There is no theatre, no classical music, no ambitious cinema, no reading and so on.

Yet now are feast days (Eid el Adha) and there are exceptions.

El Gouna
I was in the Marina in El Gouna, where live bands play music, comedians cause you laughing and artists thrill with their skills. In El Gouna, the crème of the Egyptian’s society romps about (tourists from all over the world as well, of course) and it did me extremely good to see neat, civilised, well-dressed people. I couldn’t get off my eyes from an elderly man with huge old-fashioned glasses and a horrible hairpiece. Where have I seen him before? When a young man had a photo taken shaking hands with the elderly man, I asked my colleague, who this was. Moufid Fawzy, a TV presenter, interviewer and journalist, who had his own TV show that was critical towards the old regime. And this here, pointing to an elegant gentleman, is a famous Egyptian actor… I smiled and somehow felt good and cosy, a bit like at the Côte d’Azur in summer. The smart yachts some meters behind us and an immaculate starlit sky intensified this feeling.

Sahl Hasheesh
This is another wonderful place outside of Hurghada, where I’ve recently been to a festival. The exceptional thing there is the setting: the event takes place in a captivating oriental building with water gardens, sea view and an astonishing starlit sky.

Mohamed Mounir live
Was it the most beautiful experience? Yesterday, Mohamed Mounir - the “king”, as Egyptians call him – gave a concert in Makadi Bay, about 25 km outside of Hurghada. When I got to know it, I wanted to attend by all means; I love Mohamed Mounir’s voice. He has a special status with Egyptians: he is aware of his responsibility as a famous and popular star and his songs deal with all the present problems, call for temperance, patience and solidarity. His music neatly combines traditional Egyptian instruments and rhythms with Jazz, Reggae and African rhythms. In addition to that comes his strange voice singing in Arabic and Nubian.

I went with low expectations and was all the more surprised: there was security; there were ambulances, a fire engine, chemical toilets and food booths. The parking ushers made big efforts and most of the cars were parked correctly. The stage décor, light- and stage-show and cameras were as it is supposed to be at big concerts. Remarkable? Somehow yes, since I’ve seen only little quality in Hurghada up to now.

Again, the setting was exceptional: a huge sandy place, lightly sloping towards the stage, outside a holiday resort a bit uphill, starlit sky, an almost full bright moon and a cool breeze.
Yes, it was the most beautiful experience I’ve had since I settled down in this country three and a half years ago: for two hours I forgot daily life and enjoyed the music, fireworks and the peaceful ambiance…

And shortly before the end of the concert we quickly went to the car to avoid the upcoming traffic jam.

Albeit, I stayed away of the crowd and that was good; as I got to know today, unfortunately, there were again harassments.

El Gouna, Sahl Hasheesh and Makadi Bay have lots in common: they are groomed, expensive and far away from Hurghada – being without car. I was invited by friends and colleagues and I joyfully accepted.

Away from daily life – it did me extremely good and I’m still dreaming…

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