Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bed Bugs in 5 star hotel

Okay most of you know I travel alot for business and dance, currently I am in Ontario Canada at a 5 style hotel in town.. So my nightmare begins.......

I arrive in Ontario last Sunday to a luxurious suite in a 5 star hotel with hot tub in my room and all the perks. I am laying in bed around 3:00 am and I feel this intense itching on my arm. I go in the bathroom and notice a few bites on my arm not alarming just a mosquito I am thinking to myself. I take a couple of benedryl for the itching and awake the next morning to horror.

I look in the mirror and panic strikes. My face is totally swollen with green pus running out of my eyes, I have over 20 little bites all over my face mostly my eyes and about 30 on my arms and legs. I am totally freaking the fuck out.. I look at my bed and pillow and nothing is there. What in the hell has happened to me. What has bitten me in the middle of the night to cause this much damage. Did some flesh biting bacteria attack me, I am totally without understanding. I pull back the sheets on the bed and there right in front of my eyes on the seams of the mattress bed bugs.. FUCKING BED BUGS I SCREAM...I kill a couple of them and run down stairs to show the hotel management.

There are about 40 people checking into the hotel from the G8 and G20 summit here and they are just staring at me as my face is totally twisted up. The manager whom checked me in the night before is looking totally confused as I approach him. Ms. Hue what happened to you. I explain and show him the bed bugs.. He immediately pulls me aside from the guest and we talk...

He is totally sorry and apologetic as he explains how this has never happened in all his years as management and they will take care of everything. They move me to a new suite as I head to the doctors.

The first doctor gives me more benedryl and some cream and the next morning it it worse. The swelling is past control and I am suffering from a major headache. I go to another doctor that tells me I have a severe allergic reaction to the bites and my eyes are now infected due to feces from the bugs..... So now I have bug shit in my eyes... great now what ...

I go back to the hotel and explain what the doctors says, show them my prescriptions and say what are you going to do about all this. The next day their corporate manager flies from NY to meet me. They are absolutely sure I am going to sue them.

The doctor has given me 4 prescriptions. Steroids, antibiotics, eye ointment and yeast infection medication ( yes ladies, I am going to get a real bad case of it) all of this for damn bed bugs.

The hotel took care of my paying all my medical bills, staying for free for 23 days, including food and something for my pain and suffering.( I can;t disclose the location of the hotel)

What is the lesson behind this story, I live in Egypt where you might expect such thing but, not in the North America. When you check into any hotel, any hotel, pull back the sheets and look at the seams on the mattress if you notice any black or brown spots leave immediately. Take a look at my sick pictures...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Female Circumcision

My disclaimer. I do not consider myself a activist, human rights organizer or even a self proclaimed do-gooder. I am just a women in Egypt discovering and regaining confidence in myself. This blog will surely offend some men and women from a cultural aspect and for that I offer my apology.

However some things just need to be discussed and female circumcision is a topic hot on my radar.

Egypt is best described like living in New York on crack.. okay you can laugh if you get the drift.... Busy, cultural diverse, never sleeping, crazy taxi drivers (sorry, you know it's true) and the list goes on.

I am surprised at the diversified people living here. I have had the blessing to have many friends from from all over including Somalia. The Somalians features are stricking. Absolutely beautiful people, very rich in culture and tradition. Leading up to the subject.

After the concert last night my Somalians girl-friends and I got together in my flat for what I call a pink party.. The food and drinks were all pink and it turned into a Sex in Africa night as women will be women and the subject turned to sex and men.

One of my friends out of the clear blue sky asked me was I circumcised. "Do I look like a boy to you ? Of course not" was my reply kind of flipping her off. I could tell my answer offended her and I quickly offered my hand in apology. ( I do that a lot here) I realized she was speaking of female circumcision. My five girlfriends all from Somalia endured forced circumcision as young girls. These ladies are NOT uneducated village girls but, Dr, business owner and women that come from families of money.

They shared in graphic detail of how the procedure (lack of better word) was performed and the results they have faced as married women. Painful sex, lack of sexual enjoyment, inability to obtain orgasm, painful urination and periods. I looked at them with horrid eyes and the questions why, how, who were just flowing from my lips. I was one angry women as I expressed my sadness and sorry for them.

To my surprise my friend chirps in and says who am I to be sorry and pity them. It is their culture and my American arrogance (her words not mine) was very offensive to her. Her daughters would be circumcised as she, her mother, grandmother were. She then looks at me with venom and says perhaps if I were circumcised my heat would have been controlled and I would not be divorced. I needed more discipline from my ex husband. Oh no she didn't.........

The gloves came off. It was a war of words of why I felt the practice was a violation of women rights and my heat as she described it can be controlled by many ways and circumcisions isn't one of them..( help me slumper party sellers send me some stuff now) Okay, you can see I am still a little pissed off.. (schwayer Nefertiti.) It looked like a scene from Sex in the City with Miranda and Samantha going at it.

After our exchange of words and another pink non-alcoholic cosmopolitan we calmed down. I was ignorant to their culture and beliefs and I can understand why my words would be offensive. In our country a women has the right to choose. Since they were forced the choice was taken away. I believe they understood my point of view and we respected each others right to disagree.

To summarize this all up. We all should have the right to choose what happens to our bodies. Forced anything upon a women in my book is wrong..

I choose not to post their pictures as a group but, offer my hand that was hennaed in the Somalian way as my respect and love for them. See you ladies tonight inshallah.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Learing Egyptain Arabic in Egypt

I have lived in Egypt for 4 months and my plan is to be here for 2 years. Upon day one of my arrival I knew I needed to learn the language as quickly as possible. I had purchased Rosetta Stone Arabic Lessons and quickly realized Egyptians had no idea what I was saying.. Rosetta Stone teaches MSA Arabic and I needed Egyptian Colloquial Arabic.

I began my search for a school, teacher or books that would give me a quick survival skills so I could at least order food and count money.

I started my studies at AUC in Cairo with a 8 week survival skill course taught by Khalid Saiid. Within 1 day I was able to speak enough Arabic to get a taxi and tell him how to get me home. I was amazed at how easy I picked up the language.

I must confess my teacher is amazing. He is patient with me and realized I was a visual learner by the 2nd class.

Now I speak good broken arabic/english in only 4 months. I understand most of what is spoken, even in songs.

Learning a new lanuage especially one as difficuilt as arabic makes one shy to speak the words for fear of sounding stupid. Khalid has stressed time and time again.. Speak everyday and loudly. People will be happy to correct you. Guess what he is correct.

If you are on vacation or plan to stay for a while I highly recommend him as a teacher. You can contact him via facebook.

Thanks Khalid see you soon inshallah

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ramadan Celebration at the Citidel

The Mohamed Ali Citadel (Arabic: قلعة محمد علي‎ Qalaʿat Muḥammad ʿAlī as many Egyptians call it, comes to life at night with many cultural exhibits, shows, arts etc. My friend the best cinematographer in Egypt (little partial) Mahmoud gave me a behind the scenes tour one evening.

Amazing dancing, singing and art was everywhere. The preservation of the Egyptian culture is something they take great pride in. Enjoy the videos and pictures of a very beautiful Ramadan evening.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How a christian celebrates Ramadan in Egypt

Ramadan began yesterday and the city of Cairo was full of excitement and beauty. You can actually feel the excitement in the air from the people as they make ready for Ramadan. I find myself caught up in the excitement saying Ramadan Kareem to the people on the street and to my Egyptian family.

I began Ramadan by the cleansing before prayer. Now in my silly mind (please don't be offended) I call my God by one name and they call their God by another name. I pray with my head up and their heads are down..( I warned you my mind is silly) Asking for strength and guidance, thanking God for my many blessing and to have mental and physical discipline so I can become closer to God. I did pray 3 times yesterday.

The fasting was difficult for me. The food isn't the hard part it's the DRINKING of anything I am struggling with. By 1:00 I had a banging headache and my mouth felt like the dessert. It's very hot in Egypt and Kareem and I actually had to move furniture in this heat with no food or water. The streets were practically empty as many stay in their homes during the day so it was real easy to move around the city.

By 4:00 I couldn't stand it.. I would drink anything at that point.. I felt like my brain was shrinking and a good wind could have just knocked me over.

After we finished moving I had to be ready for the first Ishtar (1st breakfast after the fast) with Kareem's family. I was taking a shower thinking to my silly self If a little water got in my mouth no one will know but, no I didn't do it.. I actually held my lips real tight so no water would get inside.

For respect of my family and the culture I covered all my hair. The streets were just starting to get lively as people were preparing for the first meal. Buying food & going to their family to celebrate.

When we arrived at the family flat (Kareems's family) The array of food was amazing. I was salivating at that point and wanting to chug anything I could get my hands on. Chicken, molakay, mashey, meat, lots of fruit, juices, teas, sweets you name it. At 6:30 we could eat and drink... Yeah... The first thing they offered was kalkaday juice and then we ate. I had 5 pieces of chicken.. Yes 5 and stuffed myself like crazy.. Of course my stomach started to ache so I had to slow it down..

Family and friends stopped by sharing food, exchanging food and money... I was amazed at the closeness of the families. It's really beautiful in any culture for family to connect and share their lives and love each other.

Around 1:00 am we headed back to the flat and Kareem and I ate again.... A lighter meal to hold us over until 6:30 the next day.

I made it and reflected on my life and realize I am truly blessed. Well there you have it a christian celebrating Ramadan..

My final thought stop the madness, stop the wars because we have the ability to control ourselves and respect each other cultures.