Monday, January 28, 2008

Spain to Egypt. Espanya a Egipto.


In January 2007, I explored Bilbao, my last stop in Spain. The Guggenheim modern art museum was the perfect ending to an amazing three weeks in Spain. The structure, reminiscent of a boat, covered with titanium sheets as if a giant metallic fish with scales, was simply stunning. Frank Gehrig, the architect, is a definitely a genius. The only two straight lines in the building are the elevator and the floor. I tried to find another one and i didn't. Walking into the atrium one feels as if stepping into a galactic church. Before I went in, I walked around the building for a couple of hours just enjoying the sun, the park, the river boardwalk and taking pictures from different angles. Once inside, an incredible exhibit of modern art was awaiting. Installations, paintings, video, sculptures and such. Very conceptual post-modern stuff that in some cases did not make much sense to me, but I was most definitely impressed in the simplicity/creativity of most pieces. For instance: an installation where the artist took the slanted wooden leftovers from a frame shop (those triangular wooden ones) and put hundreds of them on the floor randomly, all shapes and sizes, standing up almost resembling a colorfully triangular city.



On January 10 I took a bus to Madrid where I met again with my friends Daryl and Michelle who were flying in from Morocco. I arrived in Madrid around 3 pm and a friend from madrid, Loida, was waiting for me. I had not been in the metro in Madrid so it was very kind of Loida to come pick me up to take me back to Cats hostel. Later that night the four of us went out and partied a bit on our last night in Madrid.






























After some last minute shopping for Michelle, poster hunting for Daryl, and chilling at the hostel for me, we took the metro to theairport and flew back to cairo on January 11. We almost missed our flight as the Madrid airport is h u g e and we did not estimate the time to get to the gate very well. There was a long line to clear security and immigration. After that we had to take trains and walk probably a mile to get to our gate. I, not surprisingly, was asked many questions from the immigration official (racial profiling anyone? hahaha) so Daryl and Michelle decided to get ahead of me. The last passengers were boarding when I arrived to the gate running, Once on the plane we were laughing about the whole ordeal: Mario left behind in Madrid, hmmm sound like a good movie or novel hahahahah

Back in cairo. I am back to the routine of school during the week and exploring Cairo during the weekends. The first weekend we had Michelle's birthday party at my place. About 40 people came, it was lots of fun. This weekend 10 teachers from different schools went to Garbage City. This is a neighborhood at the foot of a hill where Coptic Christians, present for 19 centuries in Egypt (a small minority), have carved three amazing churches out of a rocky hill not far from central Cairo. Sadly, their only income comes from recycling much of the city's garbage. Going to Garbage City is heart breaking as you see people literally living in the trash. But when you walk around and you see the smiling and friendly faces of both the kids playing and the adults working, deep admiration for their resilience and attitude fills your heart.

ESPANYOL

En Enero, 2007, explore Bilbao, mi ultima visita en España...el museo de arte moderno guggenhein fue el final perfecto a las tres increibles semanas en espanya... la estructura, parecido a un barco, cubierta conhoja de titanio como si fuera un pez metalico con escamas, fuesimplemente impresionante... frank gehri, el arquitecto, es definitivamente un genio... las unicas dos lineas rectas, segun dice la introduccion en la guia de audio, son el piso y el elevador...trate de encontrar mas pero no encontre... al entrar en el lobby sesiente como si entraras a una iglesia galactica... antes de entrar, camine un par de horas simplemente disfrutando del sol, el parque, el sendero al lado del rio, tomando fotos de diferentes angulos.. una vezadentro, una increible exhibision de art moderno me esperaba...instalaciones, pinturas, videos, etc... muy conceptuales y postmodernos que en algunos casos no tenian sentido para mi, pero definitivamente impresionado por la simplicidad/creatividad de lamayoria de las piezas... ejemplo: un artista que puso una instalacion usando las sobras de madera que quedan cuando se cortan los cuadros,piezas triangulares con un lado recto, unos docientos de todos los tamanios y colores... casi parecia una colorida ciudad...


ene 10... tome un bus a madrid donde me encontre con daryl y michelle quienes volaron de marruecos... llegue a madrid como a las 3 pm y unaamiga de madrid, loida, estaba esperando por mi... yo no habia usado el metro en madrid asi que fue buena honda de loida el ir a traermepara llevarme al hostal... los cuatro salimos esa noche y parrandeamos un poco en nuestra ultima noche en madrid...

ene 11... despues de unos compras de ultimo minuto de michelle,busqueda de posters de daryl, y relajandome en el hostal, tomamos el metro al aeropuerto y volamos de vuelta a cairo... de hecho casi perdemos el vuelo porque el aeropuerto es i n m e n s o y no calculamos el tiempo muy bien... habia una larga fila para pasar las maletas por los rayos x y para inmigracion, luego tuvimos que tomar un trencito y caminar como medio kilometro para la puerta del vuelo... ami, no me sorprende, me hizo muchas preguntas el oficial de inmigracion (por mi apariencia? jajaajajja) al final daryl y michellese adelantaron... los ultimos pasajeros estaban abordando, entre ellos daryl y michelle, cuando llegue a la puerta y nos matabamos de risapor toda la aventura... mario abandonado en madrid... hmmm suena comouna buena pelicula o novela... jajajajaj


de regreso en cairo... la rutina de el colegio durante la semana yexplorar cairo durante los fines de semana esta de nuevo en marcha...el primer fin de semana fue la fiesta de cumpleanios de mi amiga michelle en mi departamento... unos 40 amigos asistieron... estuvo muy divertido... este fin de semana 10 de nosotros fuimos a la ciudad dela basura... un barrio al pie de un cerro donde cristianos copticos,presentes por 19 siglos y una minoria en egipto, han construido tres impresionantes iglesias excavando la roca no lejos del centro delcairo... ellos se dedican al reciclaje de mucha de la basura de la ciudad... ir a la ciudad de la basura le parte a uno el corazon al vera la gente literalmente viviendo en la basura... pero cuando caminas yver el rostro sonriente y lo amigables que son tanto ninios jugando como adultos trabajando, profunda admiracion por su fortaleza y actitud llena tu corazon...

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