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Egypt Land of Magic and Mystery

Land of Magic and Mystery (excerpt)

Giza was incredible. Our driver Mustafa handed us off to some bedouins, who took us out to the pyramids on camels. Watching a camel run is one of the most awkward things I have ever seen an animal do, and riding one while it’s happening is expectedly unpleasant, but man was it worth it.

A Singaporean Kopitiam

At that moment, the two pieces of white bread burnt with grill marks, sandwiching a thick layer of golden sweet sticky kaya and slices of butter, paired with the chocolatey bitterness of the coffee and creaminess of the eggs were one of the most delicious and indulgent meals I have ever had.

Makda Teshome Ethiopia

Tizita (ትዝታ)

Growing up when a Tizita song played, I would watch as the chattering adults slowly quieted down and enter a sort of trance.

The Little Prince and the Baobab Trees of Africa

From where I sit, I can see cacti from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. There are succulents from all over the world. I think to myself, these plants didn’t come here of their own free will. And I wonder how many did not survive this transplantation? I’m looking at the living, not the dead.

Portugal

Portugal – Its Stories and Legacy as a Historic Maritime Empire

I am particularly fascinated by a three-story high, one-meter wide, Casa Escondida (Hidden House) which stands between a Carmelite convent and the Igreja do Carmo for priests. There is nothing spectacular about the tiny house that stands between them, except for the fact that it was made to prevent fraternizing between the nuns and the priests. I want to know more.

The Art, the Poetry, and the Donkeys of Mijas Pueblo

At each turn a hidden art gallery, a local ceramic store, a poetry inscription on the wall, a panoramic view of the Mediterranean.

my brother receiving a medal from Field Marshal Ahmad Ismael of Egypt. Hosni Mubarak, then Egyptian Air Chief, in centre.

Letters from my brother – The Aviator

Imagine walking down The Mall, the main thoroughfare in Rawalpindi since the British colonial days, heading west. Near the end, before The Mall becomes Peshawar Road, on your right, at the corner of the last intersection, is the white building with the light blue signboard outside the gate announcing “PAF INFORMATION AND SELECTION CENTER” in gold lettering, the Shaheen (شاہین – falcon) insignia prominent at the top, with there being no need, really, to spell out PAF because everyone knows, even people who cannot read, that it stands for Pakistan Air Force.

Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain: the desire to experience its unique soul

“First, tell me about the Visigoths while we walk to Rome.” Anniqua looks up at me from the old Roman road next to the mosque in Toledo, Spain.

Troubling Identities and the Minds that Shape them

“I want to shed identities that no longer reflect who I am. I want to get off the plank with the nail, and stop spinning with my irrelevant selves.”

The Art of Lying

The Art of Lying

“But you have a way of saying things that makes the world seem like a wonderful place. That’s as good as lying from where I stand.”

Memoir

Memoir excerpt: When our deepest secrets are exposed

Was she cursed because once she had garnished a pot of lentils with a fried gecko? A gecko that had fallen off the wall into the frying pan? It had been an accident but it had cost her a much needed job.

Afternoon Verse in Cádiz

The sunshine, the bubbles, the cathedral, and the history of Cádiz inspire me. And in From Cádiz to Málaga I pay homage to Gloria Fuentes, Carlos Edmundo de Ory, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Allen Ginsberg. All these poets are connected through time, space, and words.

The Poetry of Sala de Dos Hermanas (the Hall of Two Sisters)

Boabdil’s mother, Aixa, lived in the Hall of Two Sisters, Sala de Dos Hermanas, named for two marble flagstones on the floor. But it’s the ceiling that takes your breathe away.

Simone de Beauvoir and Margaret Atwood Travel with me to London

Simone de Beauvoir is a stranger to me. Her exotic name is familiar, but I know nothing of her work, until, of course, I pick up the Economist at the airport, and open it at the review Fiction, feminism and philosophy-Simone de Beauvoir’s lost novella of friendship.

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost: End of Glorious Muslim Rule in Spain

The surrender of Alhambra would be the final war of ‘Reconquista’, with Spain now essentially seeing itself as the guardian of Catholicism.

El Escorial: Where we Begin to Discard the Non-Essentials

The mathematically precise splendor of Monasterio Real de San Lorenzo de El Escorial pulls me through the last stretch of our uphill walk from the Phillip IItrain station. It’s exquisite.

Confession by Fatima Ijaz

Confession

It was in the days of love that I first met him by chance. It was a frugal evening with the wind keeping tune with my heart-beat; nothing was said out loud, almost like the mahogany on the skies. Raqs.

Letters from my brother

Letters from my Brother: Tale of the Pantaloon (پتلوناں مضبوط)

“Some holes in the heart are impossible to fill,” wrote a dear friend to me once. It is especially true when you have lost someone who happened to be the centre of your universe, as my eldest brother was mine. May he rest in peace, although, knowing him, he must be regaling his fellow heaven-dwellers with his yarns, and laughing his hearty laugh out loud. Here are a couple of his letters for us to join in.

I Fell in Love with the Moon

I fell in love with the moon when I was five years old. My mother forced me to sit still in front of the television and watch as the Eagle crept down and settled on the powdery surface of the moon.

Summer knitting

Summer Knitting: How to ride out a Fiery August

“But…” I complete her unfinished sentence, “this is what I do. I can’t help myself. Winter crochet or summer knitting, it doesn’t matter. I create.”

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