Why though?

So… here I am sitting, minding my own business, readying my copy of Paulo Coelho’s Aleph inside the plane, of an airline that I won’t mention that it owns a couple of football clubs, when suddenly an announcement came that took my attention away from Paulo’s story, which is very hard to accomplish. It roughly said.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are now in the process of fueling our aircraft, please remain seated and do not fasten your seat belt.”

Apparently I was the only one reacting to that announcement because everyone was busy doing whatever they were doing, mainly talking or playing with their phones, I didn’t notice another reader at the time. First thought was “really? Seatbelt off??” Why? Another thought came that maybe I misheard that. But that thought was dismissed when another announcement came after a while.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are still fueling our aircraft, please do not fasten your seatbelt”

Now you shouldn’t do that to someone like me. I’m a writer with a hyper active imagination of a 4 year, sugar high, kid. What am I suppose to think now? That the seat belts are running on fuel? Is wearing a seatbelt aggressively going to cause some spark that somehow will find its way to the tank fuel? Is the airplane gonna think we’re are flying if we wear our seat belts and start to takeoff automatically?

That’s when my logical thinking started to speak to me, and it says “This might be a safety procedure, in case, god forbids, the tank accidentally caught fire and they need to evacuate the airplane, so they make sure nothing will hinder our exit plan.” But then my logical-er thinking jumped in and it made more sense “Seriously?! If they care for our safety, why did they let us in the plane while they are fueling it?”

There might be a logical explanation to this illogical announcement. The thing is, someone who works in an airliner might read what I wrote and think of me as ignorant. But that’s it, I am ignorant about flying and their rules, so are you about literature, orthodontics or dental facts. Writing this post actually made me think of the many times I was treated rudely for asking questions, for example, related to visas or residency. Guess what? I don’t work there so don’t expect me to know how things work in your place of business or country. So here I am with a confused look and with many questions on why we don’t wear our seatbelt when the airplane is fueling.

What do you think is the real reason?

My Trip To Beijing…

Part 2: The Forbidden City…Permitted to all…

Part 1

 

The Chinese people have a phrase for unusual amount of crowded people; “人生人海 , ren sheng ren hai” Mountain made of people and sea made of people. That phrase applies that day because it is China’s national day. This is why during my vacation I couldn’t go to the Great Wall, as you can see why from the picture below.

 

This was taken the day I went to the Forbidden City by another Tourist.

 

I however managed to squeeze myself through and entered the much much less crowded, most iconic, and magical location in Beijing… The Forbidden City.

This device below is amazing. It contain every language in the world, and whenever you are at a specific location, it will automatically explain to you about the history, gives you fun facts, and other key knowledges related to the location you stand on.


I loved the fact that I was allowed to take as much pictures as I wanted. Normally, and in other locations that I have visited around the world, it is forbidden to take pictures of artifacts. I guess what’s forbidden is not forbidden in the Forbidden city… try saying that five time in a row.


There are tons of other attractions in the Forbidden City, and the pictures honestly doesn’t do just to the place. I am looking at them as I write; it is not the same when I actually stood in the middle of the historical wonder; they don’t reflect what I have experienced there. Or maybe I am not a good photographer as I thought I was. But if you ever get the chance to visit Beijing, then I suggest you spare four hours to explore the wonder that is the Forbidden City.

Until my next post… have a nice day.

 

~ A. H. Amin

My Trip To Beijing…

 

 

Part 1: The train to the past and present.

 

I knew I would find Adventure in China, but I never thought it would be that epic… it went to the point where I slayed a dragon; It will make sense in my upcoming posts, but today I will write about the beginning of my trip to Beijing and what I have done on my first day.

 

It has been a very long time since I have traveled by train. The sense of serenity as we moved toward our destination gave way to my thoughts to speak to me. I was glad I had my notebook with me to fill its half blanked pages.


When I arrived, I was still full of energy and ready to explore. So my first walk in Beijing was through the streets of Qian men (Front Gate). The streets were a trip to the past, a gate from the ancient ways to the new ones. As a stranger to the new land, I walked, I could do nothing but walk. As I stride through the paradox, I was reminded by William Blake’s Poem; Auguries of innocence “To see a World in a grain of sand, And Heaven in a wild flower…. Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, And Eternity in an hour.”

 

The architectures of the buildings housed the spirits of the past while the living dwell in the modern shops below them. I was guided to this location; China’s oldest cinema, the birth place of the now ever-growing Chinese movie industry.


I have then moved on to Shi Cha hai streets. The night life over there is magical. I loved every minute of it. The street was filled with cafes and bars with artists performing at every corner, and restaurants and attraction at every location, serving Islamic food, Western food and traditional food too. I walked around until my legs couldn’t paddle on the ground anymore. So I decided to fuel my body with a mix of traditional and Islamic food; the famous Chinese hot-pot… absolutely delicious.


As I left the place, I came to an epiphany, a sudden thought emerged through the sea of diverse people.

“It is not about eliminating others’ ideologies… it is not about who gets to survive at the end… life is about coexisting together… there will always be good and bad, but their shouldn’t be wars… I believe we one day won’t fight against each other… but instead fight within ourselves to accept one another.”

Have a blessed day my readers.. I will post to you more about my magical trip very soon.

Enlightenment…

t24

I found myself recently in the city of Guangzhou where I decided to be spontaneous. I had a one day free of any entanglements, so I decided to pick a bus and get off when I spot anything interesting. But almost forty minutes later, nothing caught my eyes. That’s when I thought my plan wasn’t going to work so well. So I got off when I felt like I should. I walked around to find any restaurant or a place to sit in. Unable to cross the street from all the fast going bike, I turned and walked along a wall to get to the other side and cross safely. And that’s when I saw it.

 

t23

This is a Taoist temple that I’ve stumbled upon by Chance. And in that place I learned one of my most valuable lessons in life. We all try to achieve enlightenment differently, but it should come from a common place.

I came across of two people, one who was responsible of taking care of the place, and the other was a Taichi master from the pictures above. He explained to me what that place was for. I speak Chinese Mandarin but there was one word I didn’t understand; “Qifa: 启发”. He was explaining that this is a place where he comes to to find “Qifa”. The lady with him took her time to find the right English word and then said “Enlightenment”. It made sense to me, one would seek a temple to meditate and eventually get out with something inspiring afterward.

So I turned toward the Taichi master. I understood what he meant by Qifa and I wanted him to know that I understood. I said Qifu and pointed to my mind, made some sort of a gesture that can only be described as a universal explosion of my mind. That’s when I realized that I didn’t really understand the right meaning of that word. The master shook his head negatively, and pointed not to his head, but to his heart, and copied the same cosmic explosive gesture that I made. saying “Zhen de Qifa” Which meant “True enlightenment”.

I was enlightened that day. Soul searching is something for the spirit, your heart. It is not just something for the brain to process, but for your spirit to sync with. I’m glad I got lost there, cause that’s how I was able to find myself again.

“The Last Mile”… Inspired By The Expatriate Life.

In my previous post I have revealed my newest adventure; which was set in China and it will last around three years… Yes, I am now living abroad where I get to struggle with the process of adjustment, learning a new language, and… the very cold weather… seriously; a Russian colleague expressed to me that it’s colder than her hometown, which gets around 20 below zero. But even though my trip has trials and obstacles, it is still not the adventure you would look for on the book shelves.

During my time as an expatriate in Egypt, I had the fortune of meeting one of my best friends, a student with a very interesting story to tell. She is always inspiring, kind, talented… and she runs marathons. But underneath all that was a part that was sad to know. I was inspired by her story and wished I could know more about her, and to be able to experience what she experienced… I sometimes felt jealous of her because I knew she was stronger than me, because I would crack under that pressure.

So when I came to China, I found inspiration was spreading in the air. I wanted to write something inspiring especially since my inspirational novel Kima has reached to a point where I can feel brave enough to let her go. And that’s when I asked for my friend’s permission to allow me to use her as my muse for my next inspirational novel. I have been working on my thrillers for a while and I am planning my next publishing strategy… But the lion’s share from my efforts will always go to my writing.

So I write today to express my gratitude to have known you, Dr. Enas. I wish you all the great fortune that you deserve in your new life, and I hope I will do you just in this story inspired by your adventures. Keep doing what you do and stay, as always, inspiring.

Here’s a draft from the prologue. I hope you will get to know here more in the coming future.

The Last Mile.

Legs stiff, breathing fumes out of her burning lungs, gasping for air, drowning in her own sweat, and her heart is a raging beast, pummeling on her ribcage; furious for what she has put it through. How could a day that started with a cool breeze turn into an afternoon in the Sahara desert? How did it get to this? What brought me here to this final mile? She reproved herself. This morning, they made the mistake in placing a runner named Enas in the ten mile division instead of the thirteen miles marathon. Now that she thought about it; it could be the fates telling her to reconsider, that she does not belong in this marathon… the same way she thought that she didn’t belong anywhere.

The only positive thought Enas could squeeze out of this seemingly final moment of her strange life is that she is going downhill. One mile of rest after nineteen miles of torture. The same statistics life had given me so far – her depressed body calculated for her. She tried to block the fact that the last remaining distance is going to be uphill. Save your energy… save your life, damn it! Her brain fought against her crumbling body.

It  didn’t feel like she was going downhill anymore… It felt like she was falling into a hole, one she have to crawl out off, like the many times she fought her way through her life.

Here I am – she told herself. She is now at the bottom, high on endorphins, ready to ascend up. She turned and looked back, to see what does the last mile look like. But what she saw was more… she saw her life. She looked the past in the eye, and it revealed her story.

enas

 

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Riding The Orient Express… My New Adventure In China…

 

This post is long overdue, but when you have that much fun, you are left with no choice but to live your life until you find time to catch your breath and tell the world about your previous days… right before you dive back into your merry time… So yes.. I hitchhiked a ride to the mysterious orient; not only to uncover it’s mysteries, but also to find something about myself, for the best way to find yourself is to be lost first. And boy did I get lost at the start of my journey.

I am officially an expatriate in China, in Dalian City to be exact. The first thing I noticed when I arrived there is that English is a rare currency here, and I could not use it much. Thank god at least I own a smart phone like most of the modern men and women; with just a rub on the screen, the smart phone genie can teach me or speak on my behalf. Though I really felt embarrassed when I found out that I was saying ‘Nice to meat you’ “Wo hen gaoxing rou ni” instead of ‘Nice to meet you’ “Wo hen gaoxing renshe ni”. I said that to three people on different occasions; they looked at me in surprise and just smiled and nodded… I didn’t know they were confused, I thought they were impressed with my Chinese. But I learned eventually, and gained a funny story to tell.

So why did I went Magellan and decided to go away from home? Well… Initially I planned to continue my education after working for a while. But why China? Because everywhere I got accepted at was expensive; who knew studying in  Manchester, Toronto and Chicago will be too expensive? I mean its 180,000 a year for Orthodontics in Canada.. and that’s just for the tuition. That’s when China came in. They have a very good educational system, and my major is clinical Orthodontics, so it all depends on me. The experience and the inspiration that I’m getting is just a valuable bonus.

My initial thoughts about the people of Dalian is that they are very private and not social; when I lived in Egypt for five and half years, people were staring at me whenever they see me because I’m a foreigner, I expected the same treatment here especially since – profile wise – I look a lot different from them, but they didn’t react much to my abroad countenance. But then I learned that if you just start a conversation, they immediately become very social and very helpful. I would like to share everything about my trip… but I missed blogging a lot, I don’t want to pour it all out in just one setting. So I will give you a preview of what is happening lately through a couple of photos.

Until next time 🙂

 

My first view of China.

My first view of China.

My first night in China.

My first night in China.

My first morning in China... no photoshop.

My first morning in China… no photoshop.

Mastering the art chopsticks.

Mastering the art of chopsticks.

 

My shame...

My shame…

 

Giving a lecture about Oral manifestation of systemic diseases... something doctory..

Giving a lecture about Oral manifestation of systemic diseases… something doctory..

One of my colleagues was late... had to give him the look...

One of my colleagues was late… had to give him the look…

My first snow experience.

My first snow experience… I’m smiling under the scarf.

My new writing place... an amuse well if you will.

My new writing place… an amuse well if you will.

Captured my ghost.

Captured my ghost.

Watching the sun set.. or should I say; watching the sun rise somewhere else.

Watching the sun set.. or should I say; watching the sun rise somewhere else.

The Journey Back

So my seven days leave from work is over and I had to go through the thing I hate most, which is going through the day before my departure, a day I really despise and it have always made me feel as a death-row inmate waiting for the electric chair… But at least I got my last meal, they made one of my favorite; puff pastry chicken. My youngest brother is in Canada doing his masters in mechanical engineering, which means I am now the youngest one available… Which also means I am the family’s Geisha. So they decided to take advantage of me on my last day. Got to get my nephew from his kindergarten, which was cool, I always enjoy riding with him.

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I look like a fly… I always go tropical on vacations

I was on my very early flight, and midway through my boring trip, I looked up as I sighed… You know… One of those “I’m getting too old for this…. Stuff” kind of sighs?… When I came across this…

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Hmmm… If I was crashing, I would be glad to know where that vest is… So why would they put that up where I can’t see it?? I know they always show us those instructions video… But I was too tired, I slept through the take off. Also, I was sitting next to the emergency exit, so the vest must be available on the spot, because I don’t want to be the first one to drown… No… That would be embarrassing.
A thought came at the time… Maybe it is the right place to tell us where the vest is… No, let explain!! You see… You are falling… Fast, wishing you sat next to someone named Jack (those who watched Lost and understood me… Gracias) feeling your cheeks meeting with each other behind your back (and I’m not saying which cheeks I’m talking about) you would look up and say ‘oh god oh god oh god’… Then suddenly… A sign… Life vest under your seat. So?? Pretty convincing. I glanced in front of me and saw that the same was written but it was in Arabic and not like the one above me… The same scenario replayed but with a different ending.
‘Oh god oh god oh god’ looks up.. Can’t read Arabic ‘no no.. I meant Allah…’ Pooof… Plane explodes for no reason. 🙂
What if it was made from China and it was written in Chinese?? Well if it was made in China then it won’t matter… I am just kidding, I have the greatest respect for every culture… But you have no idea how boring my flight was.

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Does that makes me a Wing-man?

Now I am back, working again on my third novel, waiting for the cover design for the second book in my series and still in the search for an agent. My book will hopefully be out in the summer. My intern is almost at its end. So starting from tomorrow, I will be back in the clinics.
I hope you enjoyed my bit on how my journey ends, and how another starts. Wish me luck… I can never get enough of it.

~ A. H. Amin