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11.2.11

Waiting for Bahaa





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We spend a long time searching the desert for Sergeant Khan and our camels, until I remind everyone that we are begowkingly behind schedule and suggest that we drop off to ask the Sergeant’s brother, Bahaa, if he can help. When we find Bahaa, he tells us that he will take us to see his brother but, now, he has to guard The Citadel, as there is a certain amount of civil unrest in the city. I ask Bahaa what the problem is, Bahaa says that there are two groups, one group wants one thing and the other group wants something different, so they all went on to the streets and hurled rocks at each other. Fatty asks Bahaa if he joined in, Bahaa says that he did join in, but he had a problem deciding which group he agreed with, so he joined one group for a while, then he changed sides, but he realised that he was hurting people that he partially agreed with, so, for the sake of fairness, he stood between the warring factions and threw stones at himself.

George says that, as Egypt is such an ancient civilisation, they have had plenty of time to work on diplomacy, so he is surprised that, rather than negotiating, they are fighting on the streets like children. I explain that, for most people, arguments have many angles but, although Egypt is very old, paintings indicate that, until comparatively recently, all Egyptians were flat, so they could only walk sideways and can only see two sides of a problem.

While we wait for Bahaa, we take off and float over the pyramids. George, looking down, wonders if there’s any point to such mighty constructions. I tell him that the point is at the top and that they were originally built as tourist attractions, Juan adds that, to encourage far-away people to come to Egypt to enjoy the fabulous cuisine, shafts were built into the pyramids from which, propelled by fire and steam, kebabs could be fired into distant lands. Fatty, inspired by talk of food, says, as we have plenty of sheep, he will prepare his favourite Egyptian meal, Khoresht-e Loobia. This is a wonderful idea and, to celebrate, Juan breaks out Vintage Glendronach, Ardmore, Springbank, and Macduff Private Reserve, we offer toast after toast to non-pointless buildings and the third dimension and stumble in circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary