Guest post: “Alexandria My Love, Alexandria My Hate”

Morning coffee in AlexAlexandira is definetely a destination, but it’s one of those destination that feel little unreal. Non-existent, even more. There are way  too many historical references to it, for it to be real. Alexander the great, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Agora, The lighthouse of Alexandria, Napoleon, and many more names, places are connected to this city. However for some, Alexandria is a definite place, place that is there only for them and only theirs. Ehsan Abouzeid shares “his Alexandria” with the PandaDiscovers.

I’ve always had a deep relationship with Alexandria, a kind of love-hate relationship. The last time I went there was after 2 years of avoiding going there. The moment I stepped in Alexandria, I was kind of enforced to go directly to the road by the sea (Corniche), getting dragged by the salty scent of the small fishing boats in the Mediterranean Sea. As I passed by Starbucks in the massive modern Four Seasons hotel which has been built on the remnants of San Stefano Casino Hotel, the hotel of the elites in Egypt between 1880s-1940s, remembering college days when I we used to sit in front of the hotel while it was still under constructions, dreaming how the future will look like, and if we will be able to buy flats in this new building –We gave a rough estimates that the flat would cost around 1M EGP, now we can say that we were too naïve.

At a glance I noticed the cheap hotel I used to stay in after I broke up with my first love,  I see the small shop I used to buy my cigarettes from, just before Al Montazah, the garden and the palace of the royal family before 1952 coup d’état.  

Alexandria, my love, Alexandria my hate, can’t stay away from it, and can’t live in it. Every step is a personal memory and part of the history of the earth. Alexander, Aristotle, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Amr Ben Al Aas, and many more stepped on the same sand I’m stepping on, stood in the same places I’m standing, sat by the same shore I’m sitting by now, staring at the sea.

NB. Click on pictures to view larger. All images are copyright of Ehsan Abouzeid.