December 26th, 2010: Syngen Sohmers – Cont’d

I still haven’t finished unpacking Egypt. When we went in September, we went with four suitcases pushing the weight restrictions on the flights; laden with gifts, mostly. My clothes actually only took up one of my suitcases. The other was things that are taken for granted by people living in the US.

They feel the American recession in Egypt. Prices have shot up astronomically, two times or even five times what they were five years ago. American goods are priced beyond the exorbitant. How funny it felt seeing the same funky Crocs I was wearing, and had only paid about $20 US for, hanging new on a rack in Porto Marina sporting a 500 Pound ($100 US) price tag. The thing is, while prices rise, incomes do not. My sister in law’s job as a travel agent brings her about 1800 Pounds a month (about $400). Want to buy an iPad in Egypt? Be prepared to pay 7000 Pounds ($1200 US) for it. How, I ask myself, can people pay for anything with incomes so small and prices so large?

I sit in the back of the boat docked at Porto Marina with my friend Zara while my husband and her fiance Hassan talk in the front. And she tells me that Egypt is on the brink of revolution. Revolution to what? I remember asking. What would they change the government to? A monarchy? A Caliphate? Zara only shook her head at me and said, “I don’t know. But things are going to get so much worse before they ever get better.” I remember feeling so horribly detached. My heart going out, but, come the end of the month, I would be back in The States, and away from the threat of Revolution.

How different things were! And not in the kindest way. I bought a USB modem to hook into my laptop so that I could text client into SL if I needed to. Paid for an “Unlimited” connection that actually translates out to 6 gigs of data. I can count on one hand the number of times I logged in. Spoke briefly with friends to let them know I was well. I updated Plurk regularly with pictures of my explorations and adventures.

What I did not tell them was how my heart was breaking.


Syngen Sohmers is the owner and designer for Sakinah, a Middle Eastern fashion line for both the historical and the halal. She can’t always be found in world, because she hides like a recluse in her workshop to build. IMs always seem to find her, even when she doesn’t want them to. Her Typist is equally reclusive, a writer, living in the Southeastern US with her husband and a 16 pound cat.

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