I apologize for the long time without writing. I had some holiday after Egypt (on the Mediterranean of course!) and some work to do back to the headquarter. I will start again soon with a short summary from the recents trips and the planning for new travel and stories in the coming weeks. Greece and again Libya hopefully.
Me and Lucia we finally found a way to visit the canal: as tourists!
We hired a driver and we drove around in Ismailia, Port Said and Suez. The 2 town in the north are quite, but in Suez apparently the situation is still tense. A lot of army barracks on the way and for some reason the place is really sensitive. It could be for the recent arrest of 4 “Israeli spy”, because the town was one of the main center of protest during the revolution or because on the other side of the canal, in Sinai, the situation is tense because of some clashes at the border with Israel.
For a reason or for another not only army is afraid of foreiners walking around the canal now. Where in Suez, before the revolution, youth use to seat on the shore of the canal watching at the sunset and at the boat crossing, there is a fence and army patrolling.
From the amusement park “MOON BEACH”, at the bottom end of Port Tawfic there is a great and surreal view of the gulf of Suez. An old ferry wheels on the beach dominate the gulf and you can look at the Cargo entering the canal.
There’s no people around, and it’ s here that we get stopped by Egyptian intelligence and escorted to the governmental security office for clearance “for our own security”. Around 4 hours, we are released. Here you can find the link at the recent arrest in Suez.
On the way back enormous cargo are crossing the desert. Direction: the Mediterranean sea.
I’m continuing with my exploring of Cairo: yesterday I went to “Mubarak Police Accademy” to assist at the trial’s second session of the former president Mubarak. The place is in the new area called “New Cairo”, an upper class neighborhood in the middle of the desert! Outside the complex a small number of protesters and pro-mubarak divided by a large number of policeman. Some clashes and a lot of expectations:
The day before I spent the evening at the Coptic church of St Mary in Zaitoun where the first apparition of St. Mary was recorded on the evening of April 2, 1968. One week later on April 9 the phenomenon reoccurred, again lasting for only a few minutes. After that time apparitions became more frequent, sometimes two-three times a week, for several years, ending in 1971. Many healings and miracles were reported during the time of the apparitions.
Guess who is the guy invited on the Altar for greetings :-)
…I’m exploring Cairo, specially the outskirt.
Here a couple of example of my pictures:
Cairo. Landed a couple of days ago. The Cairo Press Office, on the phone one month ago, replied “no problem ” to the request to realize a reportage on the Suez Canal. Suddenly, once here the decision was exactly the opposite: “the request has bee refused”! Actually even before all the official document were submitted.
Suez is a strategical area for Egypt and the main sources of income ever, before and after revolution. All the area now is controlled by the army, apparently meter by meter, and journalist and curious are not welcomed at the moment.
Me and Lucia are trying to find some sort of “unofficial” way to go there but everybody is discouraging us to try to go without permission, in the mean time I’m “studying” all the detailed map of the canal is possible to find on Google earth!
Zaman in turkish means “time”, and Zaman is also the main turkish newspaper today. I spent my last day in Istanbul visiting the paper. I woke up in the and decide to shave in Fatih, in a barber shop in the center of Istanbul. At 5 pm I met with Selhattin Sevi, the chief photo editor in Zaman to make an interview and a small conference about my work in Turkey. In the evening we had a dinner with all the staff of the photo department talking about photography, journalism and life. It was a pleasure to meet them, and I want to thank them for all the help. it was great to be in Istanbul, I’m pretty sure I will be back here in the winter, but for the moment my time in Turkey is over…
Here a short list of link to the post of my travel mate Lucia Sgueglia:
“La nuova Turchia”
“A gentelmen’s war”
“Ramadan alla Turca”
In Istanbul, on the European side of the shore of the Bosporus, in place called Sarayburnu, men meet almost everyday to swim in the water of the strait. “Here the water is cleaner, the stream is strong 5 km/h and you cannot cross but we like to swim every day“. Actually swimming from Europe to Asia is possible only one day in July on the north side of the strait, north of the Faith Sultan Mehmet bridge, during the annual Bosporus Cross Continental, when the ship traffic is closed. But swimming and crossing the water between the 2 continent has been always exciting and legendary since the time of Jason, Darius and Mehmet the Conqueror, to more modern Lord Byron, Richard Halliburton writer and adventurer Patrick Leigh Fermor and Bruce Chatwin.
I shoot here a small series of those enthusiast “local heros”.
Group portrait with guest.
In Seddulbahir, on the edge of Dardanelles, where Marmara meet Mediterranean there is a Lighthouse, Osman (that actually means Ottoman in Turkish!) is the man who took care of turning on and off the light for 35 years till few years ago, when the process became automatic and he get retired. He still has the key of the lighthouse, where he use to live with his family for all the years he worked there. He still lives in the village, no more than 2 km from the extreme point, the cape on the sea, with his wife, taking care of his garden, his olive trees and his grandson. Sometime he likes to walk and look at his light and the sea again.
Me and Lucia, we spent a couple of days with him and his family. Here a short video of him and his light we did
©Davide Monteleone – Lucia Sgueglia.