Thursday, August 30, 2007

Marina Diaries - Episode 2

If you think what I had already said about the changes in Marina is bad enough, wait till you check this out.

Spending the summer in the same place where the elite and the richest of the Egyptian society spend their vacation sure has its advantages. There's good security, especially where the ministers' villas are located. (I wonder how ministers in our government can manage to afford those fancy villas at the most privileged spot in Marina! It's a mystery if you don't have any bad intentions.) There are all the facilities that you can dream of. It's like Cairo has transferred itself to follow you there. You will find lots of supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, coffee shops, cinemas, you name it. And all shops offer to deliver their goods to your door, a service that became a necessity now after the resort became so crowded. Now, you can't even find a place to park your car just for minutes to order a sandwich to go.

A very funny and common scene was to find a group of young guys wanting to hitchhike. You always find them after midnight, they are guys who are too young to drive, or let's say whose parents still have the wisdom not to allow them to drive (many accidents used to take place because of underage driving). They just keep waving their thumbs and giving you the look if you refuse to stop. I believe the only thing that this resort misses in its current mess is to have cabs to bring those boys back to their homes.

Yet, the presence of security and traffic policemen is strongly felt. At night they will usually stop you to see your driving license, which is great. I wish they are serious about it with everybody, for we didn't try to show them money instead. The outer gates which lead you to the different parts are not all the same when it comes to security measures. Some gates are easier to access than others. For that sake, they made a new system this year, which is that they issue cards to those who own a place there. But they didn't say anything about it, till they already started working by it! We were almost going crazy. We got nothing against the idea, although it doesn't solve the problem for those who rent or those who come from Alexandria for a day use. We only wondered why on earth they didn't give any instructions as to how and where to issue those cards, before they actually stop you to ask about them. Even their stupid magazine didn't mention anything about it. And when you say, I don't have it, security guys look at you as if you are suspicious. You need to yell in order to let them open those gates. They can never show any sign of understanding before they make you reach the yelling phase.

As if this was not bad enough, they inserted inner gates which separate one part from the other internally. Which means that, if you live in Marina 4 and you decide to go to Marina 3, you must get trapped. You will have to pass through one of those ridiculous inner gates, and find a guy who asks you to pay money to pass cause you don't have your card! What on earth?! Are those people nuts? Is this the way to treat families going on vacations? Why didn’t they tell us about those damn cards when we first arrived? Why didn't they announce by any means? Why causing all of this embarrassment and unneeded humiliation to people who did nothing wrong, except deciding to use their summer houses for vacation? Do I have to beg the guard and swear by God that I do have a house there in order to move a few meters away from where I live? I just can't get it.

And what's that thing about the money? Am I traveling? What good will the money do them if I don't have a place there? I'm an intruder who got the few pounds they want, so what? Or worse, what if there is a terrorist who will hand them those miserable pounds in order to blow the whole thing up? What will the money do?

Do they need donations, for instance? Are they in need for more financial resources? If that's the case, why not collect this money in a decent way? Or is it just for fun, to annoy those people who dream about having fun in the sun and all? May be they thought we had no right to do so, saying to themselves "Oh, those vacationers think they've escaped the city and its hellish life, hahaha, let's torture them a bit here in order to remind them of their usual suffering. Yeah, let's surprise them with new rules and everything, and punish them for not following those rules." I fail to find any rational reason behind this pathetic money collecting thing. Can you?


vagabondblogger said...

Wow, this place sounds a lot more exclusive than I thought. I can only think the money is used to line their pockets. Doesn't sound like there's any other excuse for it.

Fadfadation said...

"I wonder how ministers in our government can manage to afford those fancy villas at the most privileged spot in Marina! It's a mystery if you don't have any bad intentions"

a certain ex-minister (when he was in office)invited all other ministers and also some governers of some Mohafazat in Egypt to buy peiece of land in Marina for very very very low prices.

That was back in 1994-1996.

You know who i am talking about.

THis is not through rummor. This is through someone i know of.

s said...

I am in a state of shock. I went to marina back in 95 when it was being built, and I was like, this place sucks, it's too big and pretentious.

Oh my, it's so beautiful now. That Venice type shot is amazing. Credit to Egyptians? Did we build this or get some foreign company. If it's us, then 3amaar ya masr,, even if it's a rip off of Venice. I have been to various Costas and aesthetically speaking, this is just as good if not better. I will definitely have to pay this place a visit, it looks totaly awesome. It must have been great to be in such a beautiful environment in Egypt. Man our country is great.

About the money aspect, I am middle class and I have no axe to grind with the rich, except if they;re fraudsters. Egypt is not the only place which has elite holidaying on private beaches. This is every where in the world. It's life, it's called levels of society. Go to Marbella in Spain, Goa in India, Brazil and you will see the same thing. You look to the super rich lifestyle, well to me you are super rich. my family not in a million years could ever afford to buy in marina- we have a very modest but dear place in sahel. To my bawab i am super rich coz i have a place in sahel, it's all relative... although i do like watching people's extravagance. However, if their wealth (as u hinted at )is built on defrauding the country then that makes me totally mad and I would prolly not go to marina just coz I would spontaneously combust at the injustice.

I would love to read a post about egypt's millionaires. Are they all first class 7arameya? I would like to think not. That's intersting point by fadfadation, if it's true. Why are you not allowed to reveal the minister's name? Email it to Wael Abbas, he does an excellent job of exposing crap in Egypt. WE are only ever gonna help our country if we expose crap like that. If they know that they are being watched, noone will dare pull a stunt like that

beautiful beautiful pics btw,if you have anymore, it would be great to see them

Alina Popescu said...

This is indeed way too much. Security is useful, but not when misused. I think those stupid cards should have been issued automatically for all those who own a house there. And an inner gate seriously sounds stupid.

Om Luji said...

Yeah, now it has turned into a kind of exclusive club, everything is with membership and there are several check-points to pass before you get to any place.
Thanks for proving my doubts concerning where the money goes. I certainly hope that things won't continue deteriorating in such a way.

Om Luji said...

I know the ex-minister you referred to. Several opposition newspapers have talked about this issue. But even if they got the land for free, what about the villas themselves? They look like palaces for God's sake! There's something so wrong in this whole thing. A minister is a government employee after all. Where did all the money come from?

Om Luji said...

Thanks a lot for your comment. Marina is certainly beautiful now, in spite of all those people who are ruining it. But I prefer El Gouna to it, for example.
I do understand how being rich is relative from one class to the other. I belong to the middle class as well, and as I discussed in episode 1 of the diaries, we got our place in Marina before prices jumped up hysterically.
What I'm talking about here, however, is something really weird. People paying huge amounts of money to turn their summerhouses into palaces. I know very wealthy businessmen who don't do that, they would use this money in developing their business, but not throw it like that just to show off. Anyway, it remains a point of view and a big question mark. Showing off has really turned into part of our culture in Egypt, which is after all not a rich country.
Not all Egyptian millionaires got their fortunes out of illegal practices, of course.
The minister that fadfadation talked about is well-known to everybody to have been the most corrupt in the government. But nobody holds something concrete against him. That's why only revealing his name won't be possible, or you'd find yourself in jail instead of him.

Om Luji said...

It was certainly frustrating this summer with all those stupid actions. The inner gates are not always closed by the way. Early in the morning, or late at night, you find them open, with no guards. They are only there during the time when most people are heading to the beaches, restaurants, or nightspots. That's why I strongly believe that the aim behind having them is not security, but money-collecting.

Alina Popescu said...

I guess you are right. I mean the best time for doing wrongs to others is either very late or very early...At those time the gates would make more sense. This is a way of increasing incomes!

salama moussa said...

well, i see that marina has inspired u with wonderful posts:) i really like ur way of making fun of all these weired things happen in egypt.

Ma-3lina said...

I am still trying to absorb all these info about so called place in Egypt

I can't imagine such luxery there and almost more that half of the egyptians r poor

can't wait for the 3rd part :)

Om Luji said...

Glad you like the episodes so far. Keep coming for the following parts. Things will get more hilarious.

Om Luji said...

This place will later be called "Planet Marina". It is so bizzare and is changing so fast.
Thanks for following up on the episodes. Will sure give you a taste of the place in the coming parts.

Ma-3lina said...

Just dropping by to wish happy Ramadan to u and all ur family

God bless u we 3awza el fanoos bet3y law sam7ty :)))

Om Luji said...

kol sana wenty tayeba ya 2mar. Happy Ramadan to you and your family. Wallahi I didn't get any fawanees this year, but you surely deserve one :)