Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in Review

I didn't visit a single new country in 2007. I'll never maintain my lead on Strip Passport at this rate.

But that's okay. In 2007, I lived and worked in Cairo for half a year. I stayed in Barcelona for several weeks. I started the year out with nowhere to live, in an East Village sublet for several weeks before leaving for Cairo. I ended the year on the same street I lived on before I sold my home, renting Yancey's comfortable home. I'm certainly happier as I say goodbye to 2007 than I was at the end of 2005 or 2006, though I'm still a little baffled at the What Now-edness of being over 40 with conflicting, confusing goals. A little off-my-game with the unfamiliar territory of staying home and keeping a normal schedule.

A look back at 2007:

  • I started the year out haranguing people who claim to be "travelers, not tourists." I contemplated my nomadic lifestyle and tried to accept that sometimes life has a way of evolving with or without your approval or cooperation.

  • The car that picked me up at the Cairo Airport broke down before it even got me to the hotel.

  • I had a ridiculous multi-part adventure finding an apartment in Zamalek. Then I gave it up in April, because I thought I was done with Cairo. By July, I was back—in a hotel and swimming through taxi farts— while wishing I'd kept the flat, which was owned by the Hot Landlord.

  • I discovered that Craig was in Cairo. We'd met in 2002 in New York. Running into Craig opened up an entire social scene for me, first in Cairo and later back home. Suddenly, I had a life and friends in Egypt, especially Craig and later Yasir.

  • While in Cairo, I went to Saqqara, Luxor, Dendara, Abydos, Dahshur (where I met Dr. Zahi Hawass), the Suez Canal, the Tentmaker's Bazaar, the Pyramids, Coptic Cairo, and Carrefour.

  • I got flashed in Cairo. A few days later, I was propositioned by a taxi driver.

  • On the writing front, I was interviewed on The Well, interviewed in a Lower East Side bookstore, interviewed for an ad agency DVD, contributed to a National Geographic book and a Rough Guides book.

  • On the employment front, I explained Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo to an Omani, commiserated with a jealous young Egyptian woman, then offended her with my (semi) dirty mouth, saved the office and risked jail, rescued the Muslim world from massive breasts, appeared in a work video and a TV piece, and explained cooties.

  • And finally, I had the pleasure of experiencing Ramadan in a Muslim country.

  • And what is on the menu for 2008? I only have goals for January so far. In January, I'm taking yoga and getting my book proposal finished and into the in-box of some agents. After that, it's anyone's guess.

    But 2008 is going to involve some new passport stamps, if I have to visit Caribbean countries on weekends just to maintain my Strip Passport lead over e. readicker-henderson, who added huge numbers of countries this past few years—and is off to Mongolia, Mali, and Namibia soon while I toil away in Herald Square—while I've been repeating myself.


    Anonymous said...

    and Ghana. Don't forget I'm going to Ghana. At this rate, one of these days soon, you'll be spending a very, very chilly evening.

    Marie Javins said...

    In your dreams, e, if I have to, I'll go to all-inclusives in Bermuda, Bahamas, Jamaica, and Aruba just to get back in the game.

    Anyway, your upcoming schedule reminds me that I really need to get off my butt and get to West Africa, quit dallying around here with all this comfy living and the seductiveness of health insurance.

    And once I start racking 'em up across West Africa, you better wear ten pairs of socks or your toesies are going to be real chilly.

    Amanda Castleman said...

    I plan to just laugh and point, since I'll be the first one nekkid probably. Ax.

    Anonymous said...

    And when you get home from Mali (where I'll have already been) and Ghana (ditto), we can hang out and talk about South Georgia.

    Oh, right, sorry, forgot you missed that one.

    Marie Javins said...

    PNG. East Timor. Sri Lanka. Sudan. Bahrain. Pakistan. Iran. Syria. Take that! And that! And that!

    Anonymous said...

    okay, PNG is just fighting dirty. You know I want to go there but can't take the humidity without keeling over dead.

    But Bahrain? You want to brag about Bahrain? Really? A country where you went strictly so you could have bacon and a ham sandwich while you were living in Kuwait?

    Sara Kocher said...

    Bacon is a very worthy goal. Don't knock the bacon.

    Bermuda is nice. Kind of like the Upper East Side, but with beaches. In other words, boring compared to your usual. But it does count as another country.

    Marie Javins said...

    Hey, I was in Bahrain to visit The Professor, a former JC housemate. We did go and buy a truckload of bacon though.

    It was real nice.

    Anonymous said...

    What about Cuba? Don't you have two passports at the moment?

    That's where I want to go.. I'd be the first naked one in this game!

    Marie Javins said...

    One of my passports expired in December. Well, I would love to see Cuba... but I don't even have the money to go to Canada right now.