June 23, 2008
A so-called break
Two days ago, my baby sister called from Alex where she had gone with my dad to relax for a couple of days asking me if it was possible to take three days off from work and chaperone her to Sharm El Sheikh since baba would not let her travel alone. It was right after I had published my last post and I still don’t know if she had read it or not!
My first instinct to her request was, “ok, let me figure a couple of things out and talk to mom” since she was the one supposedly accompanying her. According to my sister, ma had bailed on her because I am too stressed out and she can’t just travel for a couple of days and leave me!! So now I am that much of a burden!!
Anyway, I had a doctor’s appointment the next day for my last wisdom tooth to be pulled out, I had already started taking antibiotics to prepare; therefore, I did not want to postpone. Moreover, I had not yet called my boss to ask him if it was ok to take three days off. I packed for two anyways; mocha and I and decided that I should be ready anyway.
While packing I subconsciously started making plans for my stay in the hotel room and I couldn’t shake the thought of getting a massage one way or another if mocha sleeps or something! However, the moment I finished packing I sat on my bed and I kept murmuring, “mesh 3ayza asafer, mesh 3ayza asafer!” I did not want to leave my beem and I most certainly couldn’t take both my kids with my sister leaving me all alone all day to her conference, let alone having to travel with her colleagues with two kids is just too weird!
The next day, I called my boss on my way to the dentist and he said that he would prefer it if I don’t leave and that he did not like how sudden my request was, somehow that was a relief. So I sent my sister text telling her to talk to mama and called ma telling her it was really ok for me that she goes with my sis. Later, while waiting at the clinic my other sister called asking me if I could drive both of my sisters to the place where they gather with other NGO members to leave, I told her I wouldn’t make it on time and that they should take a taxi or something.
I couldn’t help but feel like my virtual plans were ruined, but well, I also knew I had cold feet about leaving one of my kids at home! I kept telling myself that it was all for the best, and perhaps both of my sisters taking some time off would do everyone some good.
I started planning for the weekend getaway and called my father to confirm that I can proceed with making reservations if there was available rooms in el Ein el Sokhna. When I called him he was in a grumpy mood, he blamed me for making a promise to my sister to chaperone her and getting her hopes up that way, and he told me that it was either mama or I who should go with her and that one of us should keep her word!
So, I called my boss again and promised him I will be checking my mail regularly and finally got him to agree, then called my sister and told her to put some last-minute stuff in my already packed bag and meet me downtown to take the bus. Then I finally got into the dentist’s office who overheard most of the conversations anyway, and got my wisdom tooth pulled. It was painful and it still hurts like hell, it’s worth mentioning I am under both antibiotics and Panadol extra and I still feel like a couple of anesthetic shots!!
It was extremely HOT, and it took what seemed like forever to meet and then get into the small bus and then finally move on our way to Sharm and it took a bit more until the A/C had finally kicked in!! Meanwhile, my shades failed to hide the signs of utter disgust on my face as my teeth were clenched biting on that piece of bloody cotton hoping that the pain wouldn’t drive me crazy. Nonetheless, I kept thinking, perhaps it’s the break I wanted; perhaps I would finally get to relax, even if I didn’t get to sit by the beach or get a massage, I usually enjoy slacking around in a nice and cozy hotel room. I always look for something to keep me positive and I always tell convince myself that there is a good thing about going for something as well as there’s a good thing on not doing the same thing!!
My sister kept treating me as if I were an emotional wreckage for some reason! I did not want to ask her if she had read my post; instead, I just told her that I was fine with travelling with her and that she had to stop apologizing and start relaxing and enjoying the experience. I meant it, I promise.
It was a long ride, my no longer existing tooth was killing me and I kept gulping panadol extras as if it were Chiclets. It’s worth mentioning though that mocha was quite an angel all through; he slept and when he was up he really really behaved, I’m so proud of my baby.
On our way, my sister shared the delightful news; she had run out of contact lenses; moreover, while talking to my dad on the phone as he was telling her that her trip is to be cancelled if neither mama or me went with her, she threw her glasses and got them broken, which left her technically blind. This meant we had to look for a place that sells prescription contacts once we arrive at Sharm, which was not expected to be any earlier that 8:30 pm, and just to make things more interesting, it turned out we were not booked in Naema Bay and that the hotel (resort actually) was 7 kilos away! Great!
When we finally arrived, one of us had to stay and check in while the other had to ask around for advice on where to find an optician or a pharmacy that sells contacts. Since my sister had blurry vision in addition to her original bad sense of direction, I suggested that she would handle the checking-in while I go to Naema Bay.
It’s crazy how people in Sharm know to take advantage of 7 kilos distance from where I was to Naema Bay; one word: 7arameya!! Anyways, beggars are not chooser, but it sure made me miss my car. So, once I got there, I got to see the new ugly face of Sharm el Sheikh; it was by no means the place I liked six years ago! People were extremely unhelpful and unfriendly; and strapping mocha to me in his carrier was an additional factor for people to flee instead of offering help like it normally happened in good old Cairo!! Apparently, having a baby strapped to me eliminated the sexy factor, let alone being in jeans and a shirt while everyone was in their tank tops and shorts!
After some serious effort from my side to overlook some annoying factors as I walked in Naema Bay, I finally got the contacts and bought some drinks and dinner and headed home since my sis called saying there were no dinner arrangements at the hotel. She was having a bit of an attitude over the phone and I gave her some back because honestly, I was too tired to start taking any shit from anyone at that point.
I got back to find that she was still at the lobby with the luggage because our residence was too far away and she worried I wouldn’t find the way easily given how huge the resort is. So one tuf-tuf and one gold cart later, we finally got into one nice cozy room, with the touch of nice old Egyptian style! I was excited and I started thinking things were gonna get better, little did I know.
I got into the bathroom to freshen up to find a black evil looking spider; the fact that it was rather small did not change the bigger fact that I am a wuss when it comes to insects, spiders and similar creatures in general. However, a quick evaluation of the situation helped me overcome my fear temporarily and I took off my slipper and squished it while screaming a lot louder than it would have had been given the chance! I got out of the bathroom all grossed and my mood was ruined, only it didn’t really show with all the fatigue.
Mocha stopped being an angel since he was bored, tired, hungry and simply irritated like any infant his age would. And to make things worse, he dropped a full pepsi can on his toe and it turned all blue and ugly and the poor thing kept crying! I could barely eat my meal despite how hungry I was and I asked my sis after noticing that she had finished eating to take him so that I can finish up. She kept nodding and mumbling things.
It’s worth mentioning that she had already provoked the crap out of me as I was telling her that next time we want food we should go out and eat instead of bring food into the room. She said she had dinner arrangements with the conference people, so I told her she should join me afterwards so that she can help me with mocha as I had dinner before heading back to the hotel. She simply said with her usual condescending tone, “ana 3andy fekra a7san, we split the money, we kol wa7ed feena ma3 nafso.” At that point I just waved with my hand asking her to stop talking and silently decided that it was a stupid idea to drag my son and go to a place where I simply wouldn’t be able to move freely for his convenience.
Mocha was still grumpy and irritated and I asked her again to take him so that she can comfort him until I finish up and wash my hands. Instead, she deliberately ignored me and started cleaning up after herself! I told her I would clean up for the two us and that it was more important that she attended to him since he needed comforting. Again, she insisted on ignoring me with her usual dismissive way that usually gets on my nerves.
That was it for me; I’ve been piling shit loads of crap from everyone in my family for a while, my tooth was killing me, I was having muscular strain because of that stupid carrier, my toes were hurt because of not-for-walking-long-distances slippers, I was still hungry since I didn’t really get to eat having to handle mocha, and I was still traumatized by the spider incident… I did not need attitude and most certainly not from someone who does not appreciate my help five hours after she wouldn’t stop apologizing for causing me that much trouble!!
I held my cell and I called mama asking her to come the next day so that I could go back. She kept making fun of my spider encounter and said how I once made them switch hotels because I found a roach. When she finally sensed how angry my tone was she figured I had a fight with my sis and handled the phone to baba who kept yelling at the two of us and said that if we couldn’t suck it up and behave like grownups we should return to Cairo at that instance.
Meanwhile, my dear sister blurted all sorts of insensitive shit that I think ruined our relationship for a while now. It’s sad how I thought of a million things to hurt her by saying, but I only said things like “law ma7taramteesh nafsek hagy adrabek” I almost had the urge to go punch her or something, but I held back because something in me screamed that I couldn’t do this to my sister! But I am mad at her despite how she kept crying and apologizing for all the mean things she said. Thing is, I was deeply hurt by what she said, and I know it will take me quite a while to be able to pretend it never happened.
Having her tell me I was a whiner who did not know how to do anything but complain, how I am always insisting on being right and doing things my way and never compromising brought painful memories I have been trying to block and almost succeeded until yesterday. But it helped me decide something; I am moving out, I may not be able to afford it, so I will ask for financial help from my dad which I was not willing to do before. However, I think it’s better that I keep a healthy distance between my sisters and I.
We tried to talk afterwards; in fact, she kept saying how we needed to talk and I kept shutting her off. I don’t wanna talk anymore; I no longer do those heart-to-heart-opening-up talks. I may be as talkative as hell, but once I am offended that way, I just prefer to keep my mouth shut. She kept saying how we’re still sisters and how she loves me and asked me if I loved her back, I found myself looking the other way as I told her I hated that word and I no longer believed people could actually mean it without hiding behind it as the inflicted pain on their loved ones. She said I was being silly because our sibling love is much higher than that, I didn’t have it in me to tell her that it wasn’t, and that after the things she said, I was only interested in us being sisters in a formal way, whatever that is.
Call me 3ayela for not willing to talk things through, but I am beginning to think that some feelings are better left un-discussed and un-channeled. I must confess, detachment never felt so appealing.
I had a bad night, but then again, I’ve had worse. Mocha didn’t seem comfy in his sleep either. You know your nights sucked when you fall to restless sleep after 2:00 am to wake up on your own for no good reason at 6:00 am. We showered and got out of the room to have breakfast at 7:30. On our way to the restaurant mocha fell as he was insisting on walking and running, so I told my sis to leave us there and catch her group while I took care of him, which resulted in us losing track of one another and having breakfast in two different restaurants. Luckily the waiters in my restaurant were helpful and friendly, and mocha enjoyed poking his food as I fed him.
I finally got back to the room and actually had some sleep once I checked my work mail and sent out some replies using dial-up since there is no wi-fi in the room, let alone that it costs over 26 egps an hour!!
Shortly after waking up, I got into the bathroom to find a gecko. I screamed so loud, I think I heard echo! Why! WHY would I find a spider yesterday and find a gecko today?! I decided against using the bathroom until further notice, which happened around 40 minutes later when mocha decided he needed a change!
I got into the bathroom offering the tiny gecko a treaty and promising I wouldn’t even consider harming it as long as it remained hidden! The gecko kept its promise, but as I got closer to the lavatory, I spotted a vicious looking spider on the wall next to the mirror, and it was significantly bigger than the one I killed yesterday, 3aaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
That was it! I cleaned up mocha in a hurry, got out, got dressed, called customer care and asked them to send someone from housekeeping and almost freaked at the guy when I sense how he was trying to contain his laughter, which made him apologize.
I spent around 30 minutes at the unit lobby playing with mocha until the room was done. I got back into the room to find some customer care dude checking if I was satisfied with how clean the room have supposedly become. I think that’s code for me being their joke for the past 30 minutes; I know it makes me sound paranoid, but you should have heard the tone.
I slept again once mocha was asleep, this time it was for a longer time, only my sleep was dreams about my x pointing a gun at me through a door and I could see through it, followed by my own attempt to kill myself! Ain’t life just grand?!
I woke up to find a text message from my sis saying that she was expected back 20 minutes ago and that she had already ate lunch. I called her asking if she felt like dinner together, she said there were dinner arrangements with her colleagues that she was going to ditch because she didn’t feel like eating and that she needed to rest.
She came back and asked how my day was, I told her it was ok. She said, “enty betharagy, makalateesh men sa3et el fetar le7ad delwa2ty” I told her I made an order shortly before she came back and that it was expected any minute.
So far, I hate that I came to Sharm, I hate the city, I hate the resort even though it’s supposedly five stars, I hate the cable tv that only has one channel in English, CNN and two channels in Arabic, Al Jazira & Rotana Cinema! I hate the fight I had with my sister, I hate having missed work to be trapped in a secluded place where I don’t even feel like getting out of my room because of the unbearable heat. I hate that my plans starting the next weekend two days earlier to go to el Ein el Sokhna are practically ruined.
I am starting to think my sisters are right; perhaps I can do nothing but complain! I think I have gotten used to wallowing instead of actually doing something about it; I think I have become addicted to misfortunes because it’s easier to whine than it is to change things and shake them up! Or maybe I wasn’t clear! I need a vacation either without both of my kids where I am assured they are well taken care of and happy or a vacation with both of them with me, plus someone who babysits until I get my own treats. At this point, I am not even sure if anything can work for me; therefore, I will no longer have hopes or wishes, I give up.