My Kind of Phrasebook
'Poetry is the Revenge of Language'

'I Love You' in Egypt

Just returned from Egypt, which was intense and gorgeous. Sorry about the lack of posting, but I'm moving more and more of my online utterances to my Facebook page. If you like, you can follow me / like me there, although I'm not sure how that works, exactly. If someone could try it and let me know how it works out, that would be great.

I spent five days in Cairo, five on the Nile, four in Alexandria. As a public service, let me announce that if you've ever thought of visiting Egypt, do it now. Tourism is way down after the Revolution, which is a disaster for the Egyptian economy but a blessing for the visitor. The Egyptian Museum, for instance, usually has huge lines of visitors waiting hours just to get in during tourist high season (which is January-March, when the weather is cool). But now, you wander past bored security guards and are inside in minutes, and you can stroll through the cool, gloomy galleries practically alone. The same is true of all the other tourists sites as well -- you might see a few scattered tour groups, but most of the time you will be one of the only people there, and you can take pictures without a single other person appearing in them. The tour boat I took the Nile cruise has room for 20 passengers, but there were just three people on board most of the time.

I'll try to post a bit more as time permits, but for now I'll just note the strange infatuation of Egyptians with the phrase 'I Love You'. This rather eerie tableau comes from the seat of a horse-drawn carriage in Edfu:

Edfu - Decorated Seat in Horse-Drawn Carriage

And this beauty is from the dashboard of a cab driver in Aswan:

Aswan - I Love You Dashboard Tissue Box


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Problem on Facebook: If I follow several people and they are posting to many posts, Facebook adds out for me whom I can see on MY facebook-account:

That is important in times when all the people closer to me than you are posting - your post may not be shown.
In your blog I can decide to take a look if you wrote new stuff when I have time. And perhaps I scrawl back several weeks and months.
Of course, theoretically I could open YOUR Facebook-account. But experience tells me I dont do so in Facebook. So my wish as an interested reader: Feed your blog too in future.

Ali Gündüz

I've been reading your blog for the last few years now and just want to chime in as a non-Facebook user. It is obviously your right to publish your material wherever you like. But, I just want to register my wish to be able to continue reading your writings on the open web.


Andrew, I am not going to follow you on Facebook. I just quit my account there. Not only because of privacy concerns but because I just do not know what to do with it. I am 44 years old and most of the people I know do not use it or at least for nothing worth having an account there.

I guess you might find more followers or likers (or however they are called there) so I could understand why you would move there. But, as I said, I will not follow you.

But you didn't say that you will close shop here so the hope remains....

But, this I can not leave uncommented:
to keep their ludicrously uninteresting posts 'secret'

The problem ist not the relevancy of the posts.

Do you know that data mining allowed the Democrats (who currently seem to be way ahead of the Republicans) to find the names of the 69456697 people who elected for Obama in the election 2008? This was done only by statistical data mining. I do not think that Facebook was one of the sources but the small machines that collect the data to monitor TV quotas were. (indirectly - the Democrats didn't have access to them)

Look for Sasha Issenberg "The Victory Lab". (I only read an article about the book)

Regardless of wether the Democrat's claim is true or not, this is reason enough to discuss privacy, social media and data aggregation in juristical (and ethical) circles as well. And this topic is much more complicated then the relevancy of someones post about the wellbeing of his pet.

Your post just says: Andrew has no (or at least not enough) clue about this topic. I do not say that most Germans have a better understanding but at least they have a healthy distrust here!



I second Wabble's point. Please don't give up blogging for facebooking!


Just to clear that up: I'm actually not opposed to or mistrustful of Facebook.

I just don't think it's a very suitable platform for publishing blog content. Both because of its cluttered interface, which makes it harder for readers to follow someone's work (compared to an RSS feed), and because the content is much less public than on a personal blog. Less public as in: Clicking on your Facebook link above will produce an empty profile unless I log in to the service. And of course, your stuff won't be found by search engines.


Yes, Facebook. I've noticed a lot of unfocussed mistrust of Facebook among Germans (leading many of them to the absurd step of assuming pseudonyms to keep their ludicrously uninteresting posts 'secret'), but the simple fact is that about 80% of the people I'm interested in communicating with are on it, and that's a critical mass.


Oh no, not Facebook! Well, sad to see you go.

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