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The Orientalist

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May. 18th, 2004 @ 11:25 am
Just located a great webpage for information about going to Egypt. http://www.egyptsearch.com - check it out.

May. 18th, 2004 @ 10:43 am
Well it has been almost a month since I made my last post, and not much has really happened. in fact it is cursing how little planning I have do for my trip so far. besides. poking though my Rough Guide on the Metro or bus I have not have come up with anything approaching a plan. In fact I have bough either a visa or travel insurance. However, for the record I think I will spend the first two weeks in Cairo, then take a train down to Aswan, boat it up to Luxor and then maybe boot it over to Sinai.
Well that is about it for know, although I am thinking of doing a little design of the page.
Current Music: Alian -Outkasts

National Dishes and Local Smells Mar. 25th, 2004 @ 04:42 pm
Since my little blog went up a week ago I have been surprised by the two responses I have already received. Without even publicizing this site people seem to stumble into my Orientalist blog. The original plan for the blog was to keep friends and family up to date on my trip. But as I am receiving comments I figure I might as well start posting.
Although my trip is about 2 months away I feel that I am in the midst’s of the third most exciting stage of traveling. The first is when you arrive in a foreign airport, and can see and small the differences. Just as every country has a flag, anthem and national dish a country has a smell. Canada, my country has an evolving smell that changes with the season. In Montreal, winter smells like frozen automobile exhaust and in the summer the city smells sweet, like a sugar cube between teeth. Whenever I’m wandering though a deep underground parking lot I am reminded of the smell of The Port Authority in New York City (this is meant as no disrespect to NYC, I’m just talking about their bus station). The second wonderful thing that happens when you arrive in a new country is the few visual moments you had imagined in your mind of what the country looks like are replaced with a multitude of moments you could never have imagined. Although Alain Botton, in his book The Art of Travel delves into this issues, I have been thinking about the unimagined moments of travel for a long while. Long before you have even booked your ticket you begin to imagine the trip. You tack together a slide show of the trip, drawn from brochures, scenes from movies, the black and white plates in your Lonely Planet guide and images of what you want the country to look like. My slide show begins with the Montreal International Airport at six in the morning, and the empty barricades that lead to the AirCanada desk. Then a vision my layover, trying to sleep upright in the bucket seats at Kennedy Airport then handing my boarding pass over to a stuardess from Egypt air and placing my green backpack into the overhead. The final image is Cairo international airport at 11 am, and a man with a large mustache and a long cigarette stamping my passport. Why the moustache? Because that’s the only memory of a conversation I had with my cousins who lived in Cairo for a year (who knew I came from a family or Orientalists?)
But, from the actually of departure, comes rich and vivid moments, that in their complexity surpass any 2 dimensional customs lineup.
I will leave it here for now, in till next time.

32 dollars Mar. 23rd, 2004 @ 12:47 am
I got a phone call from Travel Cuts asking that I bring my ticket back to their office at Concordia. Diligently I handed in my ticket and found my Montreal to New York flight no longer leaves in the early afternoon but at 6:45 in the morning. Although I like to think of myself as a bit of a marine when it comes to traveling long distances I can already foresee my seven hour layover in New York. Besides spending a sleepy day sitting in airport chairs, which are deigned to stop travelers from sleeping vertically in them, I could easy blow 40US dollars on 6 dollar airport tuna sandwiches and 3 dollar Pepsi. The other unfortunate effect of the change of flight is I will have to spend 32 dollars on a cab from downtown to the airport. Yes, at time I do channel my depression era grandparents.

An introduction Mar. 22nd, 2004 @ 11:39 pm
On June 12th I’m boarding an airplane to Cairo for a little post university vacation. I am mostly doing this as a way of prolonging my applications to grad-school. As unoriginal as the idea of a post university jaunt to the Orient is, I hope it might yield some novel insights and observations. Synchronize your watches folks, the countdown to Cairo begins.

As for the title of my journal ‘The Orientalist’ it refers to the Western approach to studying the East. Edward Said, who recently passed away, coined the term to refer to the exotic fascination the West has for the East. I chose this as my title because despite my course in Religious Studies I have no doubt that it might apply to me.
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