From the day I arrived, I was made to feel like a Princess. They made me feel special, made me feel welcomed and made me feel like my presence had sparked something in them – something that was once upon a time strong but faded and got lost amongst the promiscuity that envelopes this little town.
It’s funny because I don’t really know what that something is. Perhaps it was a principle(s) or value(s) that they were brought up with or maybe it was deen. But I can only guess. They tried their best to treat and serve me like any other but their eyes betrayed them. It’s almost as if they were relieved by my presence. I’ve discovered so much and it’s such an overwhelming experience that I don’t know where to start. So I’ve decided to write it as a series – part by part.
I am writing this to remind myself about the amazing and not-so-amazing people I met, people that I will never forget and what kind of sick thing’s exist in this world. I am writing this so perhaps one day in my old age, I can re-read my experiences and it will serve as a reminder when I think of the broken events that unfolded before me growing up, I will put my head on the ground and thank The Creator, Allah, for blessing me with hidaya (guidance). And I am writing this for my unborn children, Insha’Allah one day they will read my words and learn from my experience. I want them to thank Allah and be content with the life that they have, treat people with wisdom and have a broad mentality.
Perhaps from this, they will understand that this world is so imperfect that it cannot possibly be Life and it cannot end here. This is a place of trial, whether or not we are worthy of having eternal bliss – what have we done in this temporary world to deserve eternal bliss in the afterlife?
We were there for half a month completing the Freediving instructor course. My husband was suppose to go alone but 7 hours before the flight, we decided it’s best for me to come along – and boy, I still wonder if that was a good idea or a damn good idea. Fast forward the transit, calm egyptians at the airport (I knew I was in for an interesting holiday. Calm egyptians?! Maybe they only exist in Egypt) small issues with the luggage, small talk with the bedouin taxi driver etc…. We arrived in a beautiful little town, everyone was friendly and laid back. Everyone seemed to know each other. It’s such a small town that you literally walk the same street daily, or at least I did.
“The japani peepow aways comida suside”
Hotel was very basic but the service and view made up for the things that were ‘missing’. The first person we met was Jack, a chinese from god knows which part of China. I couldn’t help but think, how in the universe did he even hear about Dahab?! He was an intelligent guy though, he spoke good english and he thinks Dahab is a relaxing stress-free little town with a minimal cost of living but with no opportunity to grow and have savings. He had alot of respect for me and my husband. He told me that it’s better for women to be covered than to expose themselves. He had alot of respect for the Niqab and he ‘likes cleaning our room’ – at least that’s what he said. He spoke about imperialism, polygamy vs mistresses, taoism, chinese emperors and he said that General Trading is just a big word for buy and sell. That quote for the header is one of my all time favourites of Jack’s, in english it’s “The Japanese people always commits suicide”.
Humble but sick
And then there was Martin, the vegetarian 37 year old sportsman from Czech Republic who lives in Bali who was with us in the First Aid course, he knew alot and the tests were always an English test for him. He has some incredible life experiences and played many sports and my husband really liked him because of that. When he can’t find a word in english whilst he’s trying to tell you something, he’d say “ahh whatever, **** it” with an accent. We can’t help but remember him for that. There were alot of inside jokes about him that shouldn’t be mentioned here, he’s presence was entertaining though. He freedived to 76m alone, without a buddy. He knows that’s stupid but he had to attempt his personal best. Unique as he was, he did have some sick ideas. He told my husband a story about him falling in love with somebody’s wife (she was in love with him too). They met in a house that he had built where he hosts couchsurfing backpackers from around the world, men and women who are strangers to one another living under the same roof and sleeping wherever they find a spot in the house. That was how they met and fell in
love lust. Summary of the sick story: They both decided to speak to her husband about their love lust and the husband says something along the lines of “I cheat on her so it’s only fair that she gets a chance to do the same” – no I am not fishing kidding you readers, just relating the sick story of some sick people I met. It gets better sicker, Martin tells the husband “But I can’t be with someone who is going to be with another man” and he replies “If my wife really loves you and if this is what she wants, then I won’t sleep with her anymore”. Why the hell didn’t he say “then I will divorce her” you ask, well because, my dear sane respectable dignified honorable ethical principled noble readers, they….to be honest, I don’t have a logical, smart and wise answer for you, all I have is their answer. And their answer to that question is “because we have kids together”. All that sickness aside, Czechs are very humble and nice people. They would make great muslims because of their akhlaq (manners). May Allah guide him and the rest of the nice Czech people I’ve met.
His connection with Allah faded with the constant exposure to indecency
Abdul Hamid. This guy made me and my husband extra special breakfast everyday. He made eggs for us like he wouldn’t for the other guests. He very honestly told me that it is a relief to see modesty and he also told me his life story – that he was once a rich man who owned a big plot of land in Dahab but lost it and is now a cook in his brother’s hotel. He’d rather be a cook then to play a big role in the hotel business – he wants to eat from halal income he says. He was a nice person, he had deen but was far away from it because of the indecency he is exposed to day and night. And meeting us for him, was refreshing and served as somewhat a reminder of Allah.
A pious muslimah in the middle of a promiscuous town
Noura. SubhanAllah, in the middle of all the promiscuity, indecency, and immorality, she lays a big piece of cloth on the ground and arranges her hand-made bedouin handicrafts and sits in her abaya, niqab and gloves hoping to sell a few things by the end of the night so that she can go home to feed her mother and daughter. She is from a decent town called Al Areesh. Decent because there is no
bit beaches and naked women walking the streets. There is alot of drugs though, but funny thing is, they don’t use it themselves but send it to dahab to corrupt the already corrupt people even more. She has a daughter but is divorced and has not other choice but to work in a touristy town where she hopes to make $50 on a good day. I was there for 2 weeks but couldn’t summon up the courage to speak to her and find out why she was there in the middle of all this…..mess. On my last night in Dahab, I found myself humbly sitting on the floor with her, laughing and talking about our different lives and saying astaghfirllah and naoudhubillah at the sight of women that look like they walked straight out of a pornographic magazine. I.am.not.exaggerating. Our hardcoreness allowed us to sit together and communicate in my broken arabic and her broken english for almost 4 hours. Actually, we kind of forced this typical bedouina to sit with us and translate, Shadia. She speaks polish, spanish, italian, german and god knows what else and she is a bedouina – she mostly knows how to curse in those languages. Well, what do you expect when the city is full of cheap broke scums with no morals? A typical bedouina with no hayaa (shyness). She danced in the middle of the street and calls on everyone she sees and bugs them to buy her handmade bracelets. Noura is bedouina too but she has deen so it saved her from….bedouinity. But she’s bedouina at the end of the day and she will always have a touch of it. She actually stopped a korean girl tomboy and shouted out “ARE YOU A GIRL OR A BOY?” and I just covered my already covered face in my palms because I felt so embarrassed for the girl tomboy. I must admit that I was actually laughing.
My back is aching right now due to my sluggish posture so stick around for part II.