Friday, April 28, 2006

Back to Life

I’m finally back to life. After a crazy and hectic couple of weeks (with a 5 day vacation in between), things are slowing down a little bit. I’ve been swamped at work with 5 major projects running in parallel, with problems and issues happening in the middle of all of this. It’s also been a hectic and stressful time on the personal level too.

But, I see light at the end of the tunnel. The craziness is subsiding and the clouds are clearing up. I will be blogging again and I’m looking forward to reading and commenting on all my favorite blogs again.

See you all very soon!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Springtime in Cairo

Spring is finally here. And even though the concrete jungle of Cairo dominates, beauty still seeps through the trees and flowers that are thankfully planted in every street and in the outskirts of the city. Here are some pictures I captured of the Cairo spring.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Only in Egypt

Walking around the streets of Cairo, one finds comedic treasures that I feel should be shared around the world. I will be posting these whenever I find them.

My first treasure is a sign advertising a language school. I wonder what language they use...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Movie Review: Bosta

I had heard about this Lebanese movie called “Bosta” a couple of months back. I read a couple of reviews that were very positive, so naturally, I jumped at the chance to see it when I could. Let, me tell you: I was impressed! What a wonderful movie.

First of all, any movie that has Nadine Labaky as a star is probably going to be a good movie in my books. I admire her so much. Not only is she a top director in the music video world (stars are fighting to have her direct their videos), but she is also quite the hot babe. She is also a very talented actress. What more could you ask for?

Now for the movie itself: a really sentimental, human story set in a musical setting. The main theme explores the Lebanese identity and the main question involved is : who’s the “real” Lebanese? However, it does so in a very entertaining way, with music, dance, drama, and visual appeal. The movie is about a Lebanese guy who starts a Dabka (Lebanese dance) group that is quite untraditional: a fusion of Dabka with techno and hip hop dance styles. They called it Digi Dabka. You should see these dance pieces: the way they jump between the different styles is seamless and very interesting. It brings life into the dance pieces, so does the music. Very creative stuff. The group enters into a Dabka competition, but the judges kick them out because their style is very untraditional. The judge tells them “Do you want to waste the last part of authenticity we have left in our lives?”. They tell the judge that he doesn’t get it and that Dabka is a living breathing part of their lives that evolves with everything else – they are not wasting anything. The members of the group are a wonderful diverse set of characters – a cross section of Lebanon. You have the past-her-prime diva, the talented male dancer who’s originally from a small village and haunted by his family’s rejection of his choice to dance, the traditional guy who reluctantly joins the group, the overweight girl, etc….Of course you also have the Christian, Sunni, Druze, etc…. Each character is so well written that you feel they are living, breathing, souls. The group then travels around the country on a quest to gain recognition, aiming to eventually reach the top festival “Baalbeck Festival”. They travel around in an old restored bus (Bosta means bus in Lebanon) from city to city, and you get to know the characters better in the process and the interactions between them: the persistence, exhaustion, love, admiration, jealousy, and flirtation. I loved the the message of the film: your love for your country can be expressed in so many ways and just because you choose to express it in a different way doesn’t mean it’s any less than that of somebody who chooses the traditional, expected path. The group was as Lebanese, and their love for Lebanon was as real as those who danced the traditional Dabka.

Overall, an excellent movie. Everything was excellent: the script, the performances, the music, the dancing. The only drawback was the cinematography – it was a bit lacking.

Go and see this movie now!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

New Toy in Action

So, I was in Dubai last week when I got my new toy (see post below). The following day, I found myself awake at my hotel room at 6 am. I looked out the window and saw the sun rising from behind the airport tower. Jumped out of my bed, got my camera, and started snapping.

Obviously, I couldn't go back to sleep even though I had 3 more hours before my meetings were scheduled to start. So I quickly got dressed and jumped into a taxi and headed to Dubai Creek. This Creek is a bay of sea water that splits the "old" part of Dubai into 2. Alongside this creek, you can hop on a boat (they call them Abras) to cross to the other side of the creek on the cheap (half a dirham). Thus, I proceeded to snap some more...

Crossing to the other side of the creek, I found myslef at an old souk-style area with shops selling handicrafts, carpets, etc....

That's just a sampling of what I took that day - I took so many more photos (the beauty of digital photography). It was such a blast! Jumping around from one place to another, the thrill of capturing a good shot, was just out of this world. This has completely got me interested in photography again and I will be taking many, many more photos.