A New Adventure and New Fear: To Mont Blanc I Go

June 27: Why, oh why, oh why?

It’s that time of the year again. I’m preparing for another adventure; this time to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe.

“Why?” you ask. Since you are asking me only a few days before I set off, I really have no satisfying answer for you. I’ve been asking myself that same question. Why, Nadia? Why, oh why, oh why?

Mont Blanc is a mountain that involves ropes and ice axes, crevasses that people fall into and falling rocks that cause people to slip and fall.

Why, Nadia? Why, oh why, oh why?


GPS Lady is Back with a Vengeance

The privileged few among you who follow me on Facebook will remember GPS Lady, who started communicating with me by telepathy for the first time during my road trip across Ireland in the summer of 2009. Today, GPS Lady returned with a vengeance; and with an American accent I am unaccustomed to. British GPS Lady was mean. She made sure I took the narrowest, most winding roads possible all over Ireland last year. When I yelled at her, she would telepathically respond in a cool, unnerving voice. The more she could irritate me, I could just tell she was quietly contempt on her GPS insides. American GPS Lady is cold…so very cold. After a full day together, she has not once attempted to communicate with me by telepathy. She issues orders and coldly expects to be obeyed. When I yell at her, she does not answer and continues with her orders unabated. And I have a mean yell, I tell you. You know how mothers ignore their children’s temper tantrums? That’s American GPS Lady. I didn’t like British GPS Lady. I despise American GPS Lady.

Today, while parked in my rental car in San Diego, I asked American GPS Lady how to go from where I was parked at a small mall to a supposedly nearby Mexican restaurant she had recommended. She took me out of the parking lot, onto a freeway, off of the freeway and right pass that same parking lot before having me end up at the restaurantthat turned out to be pretty much just across the street from the mall. She couldn’t just tell me, “Nadia, get out of the car and cross the street.” Nooo. She had to make me drive half way around California. And no matter how angry my yell sounded, she could have just cared less. As I said, I hate American GPS Lady.

GPS Ladies aside, I love the freedom one gets by renting a car in a new city. It’s so much more liberating than taking a taxi or riding the bus. I feel in control. And rather importantly in my case, it gives me the added benefit of a trunk for my inevitable many purchases. As usual, I have no idea whether I’ve gone overweight for the flight back home. I don’t really care though. I am now the proud owner of some extra, much-needed mountaineering gear and some diving gear! I cannot wait to try it all out. Oooh, oooh…and I bought rock climbing shoes! I’ve been wanting to try that for quite sometime. So next time I find someone who teaches it in Egypt, I am ready dude!

One of the most difficult things about driving outside Egypt is staying within the lines. It’s more difficult than they make it out to be, you know. If we do have lines painted on our roads in Egypt, none of us notice them. Two-lane roads are usually filled with four lanes of cars. We don’t like spaces in Egypt. I don’t like spaces between cars more than the average Egyptian. In Egypt, be sure I’ll yell at you if you leave a small buffer space around your car. That space could have brought me 0.5 meters closer to my destination, lady! When I drive outside of Egypt, I MUST drive within the lines and leave spaces between me and other cars otherwise I’ll have to pay a ridiculous fine. It is a challenge to say the least. Today I remembered trying to color a frog in 1st grade. I wasn’t very successful at keeping within the lines then and I wasn’t very successful keeping within the lines today. GPS Lady made it even more difficult by telling me I needed to be in the right lane at the very last second several times. So I basically ended up doing a lot of swerving. I have a line memorized in case the police pull me over: “I’m from a foreign country. I’m Egyptian. And GPS Lady is giving me hell. Show mercy.”

I hope to have interesting news for you tomorrow, so stay tuned!