Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Taming of the "Screw It"

Asalamu Alaykom,

There comes a time when you want to escape.

Some people escape with a bottle of booze or a bag of chips.

Some people escape by going numb in front of the TV.

I needed something different.

I needed some real peace.

I know that I can find peace in prayer or

peace by reading the Quran

but there comes a moment when you need to change your location.

There are times when you need to open a guide book

point to a place and say,

"I want to get there."

For me, I chose Lake Qarun an hour and a half away from the desert where I live.


It is a man-made lake from the 12th Dynasty Pharaoh Amenemhat III.

The Greeks called it, "Crocodilopolis".

There aren't any crocodiles now

or if there are, then they are very careful not to be seen.

There is something to be said for a person who stood on solid land

yet decided to trust enough to get into a boat

and head out to the middle of the lake

with no life jackets.

And I'm not sure if it's bravery or stupidity

which puts us into little boats on big water

but we keep doing it.

Maybe we need to feel that we and our problems are small

by comparison to the beauty which surrounds us.

And it's temporary.

Everything is temporary actually.

No one can stay in their boat forever.

There are islands to explore.

Subhanallah there are ladders to climb

in the middle of an olive tree grove.

And you didn't know there would be such a thing

in such a place.

Yet there you are 

looking at freshly picked olives in your son's hand.

And that's when you remember Quran.




In the middle of the olive tree grove you recite Quran.

Not because you found the Quran

but because the Quran found you.

And then you see through the trees

a most glorious home

like something out of a movie.

Yes, it was from a movie

Al Ra'i We El Nissa The Shepherd and the Women

with Ahmed Zaki, God bless him, the most mashahallah gorgeous man ever in Egyptian cinema

and my namesake Yousra

who, I learn, was actually born as "Suhair".

Later, I would see the video of this place.

I would see a slightly familiar face.

Was it her?


Soad Hosni "Cinderella" when she was older; 47.  She was there too.  The boy had forgotten to mention her name.  It was Soad Hosni's last movie.

May God bless her and forgive her any sins.

That was 1991 and for ten years afterwards she didn't make any movies.

Some say she was shocked to see how old she looked next to the 11-years-younger Yousra.

By June 2001, she had fallen out of a window and died.

Four years later Ahmed Zaki would be gone too.

There really isn't time to stay in one place

and dwell on what isn't.

There are so many other possibilities.

A man came up to us

because we were strangers.

And even though I've felt uncertain about trusting people any more

I walked up to a man I didn't know and talked to him nicely

and showed him my pictures

and he let us come inside.

If I'd never taken a chance

to turn a "no" into a "yes"

then I'd never known

there were windows shaped like stars in their ceiling.

And colorful fish shimmering in their salon.

It was so cozy.

There were comfy couches in little nooks next to the windows.

They were covered in woven rugs.

And it was humble

so humble that I couldn't take a picture of it

for fear of offending.

But I loved it.

I really loved that feeling inside the home.

May Allah grant that family halal risq and increased iman.

It was time to go.

We headed back to the shore.

It was almost time to catch our bus.

I flirted with the idea of staying the night.

The Panorama Hotel was tempting even at 400 LE.

But I thought better of it.

I was thinking better about lots of things.

The lake would still be there inshahallah another day

when we had more time to enjoy it.

Maybe we'd find some crocodiles

or more ladders to climb

or more movie locations.

Or maybe we'd find something that we weren't expecting

something new

and a fresh sensation of being alive

once again.


Anonymous said...

Lovely photos. You have made me curious about Egyptian Cinema.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Anonymous Lovely,

Thank you for your comment. I always appreciate someone who takes the time in a world which often is in the fast lane.

Egyptian cinema is often silly and slapstick or violent beyond belief. But the gems are really amazing. One of my favorite movies is Al Saher "The Magician". If you ever get a chance to see if you should. Even if it isn't subtitled, you will understand it beause it's done very well mashahallah :)

And of COURSE anything with Ahmed Zaki is amazing. See anything you can with him in it because he was a powerhouse of an actor. There's a movie where he leaves the country and comes to the city to find work. The transformation is interesting.

Let me know if you find Egyptian cinema you like.

Love and Light!

UmmTimo said...

Salam Yosra,

I too loved Ahmed Zaki...a lot of Egyptian women might like the suave green eyed white boy but not me. My favorite look of his is when he played a sah3de. Is the movie you are talking about the one with Nabila Ebid and he was a fish seller or something like that?

You know who reminds me of Ahmad Zaki now, an Egyptian actor name Amr Saad, he looks and acts like him. He reminds me more of him than his actual son (haythem or something I think).

Yosra said...

Wa Alaykom Asalam UmmTimo,

I know!!! Ahmed Zaki was so dreamy. He was the kind of man to swoon over. YET he wasn't just good looking. He was very, very talented as an actor---both serious and comedic.

I am bad at knowing movie titles. I can recite the plot but not the title. I'm not sure what any of his movies were called. The Boab is one great one. The one were he is a drummer is so excellent. The one were he is an undercover police was really good. Of course the creepy Fatal Attraction re-make with Yousra was good but you hated him for it. So many movies to love.

I know which actor you mean. I had an occasion to have 3 degrees of separation from that actor and I think my hub was a little concerned that even that was too close. He's charismatic for sure. I don't think he's as handsome as Ahmed Zaki but ...well, he's alive so that's better I guess.

I don't know his son. I might have to google him.

Love and Light!