Thursday, July 26, 2012

Red Sea Part 4/ On the Hippie Traveler, Hashish Culture

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(Part 1, 2, 3)

By this time tomorrow, I will be in a beach outside Cairo, enjoying the last remaining days of my stay here in Egypt. But before that, here's my final post on my trip to the Red Sea and our stay in the Bedouin Camp.

During our stay, we met a number of foreigners and Egyptians. Some were there for vacation, others have been there for months and years. The best thing about all this traveling I've been doing is that I get the chance to meet new people, make new friends and learn a lot of new things. The people in the Bedouin camp were good people, I'm sure.

But I would be lying if I said that I didn't feel uncomfortable in their presence. First, there was just too much hashish smoking going on. Hashish is a kind of drug that basically comes from the extracted oil of the marijuana plant. I am in no position to judge if marijuana is good or bad. I have tons of friends who do and/or have done marijuana/hashish. And I still love them. But many of those in the camp did hashish on a very extreme level. Some started smoking as early as 7 am. 

And I have to say its really hard to talk with people when they're too high to the point of irrationality. (And really, if you're in a place that's as beautiful as the Red Sea, what's the point of doing all those hashish. My understanding is that hashish is used to escape whatever reality you are in. You're already by the red see, miles away from everything. You've already escaped. I also understand that hashish can enhance certain experiences. But enhancing isn't exactly real or authentic. And being on that beach, there wasn't anything I would've wanted to "enhance" or change. It was perfect just the way it was. But what do I know?)

And then there was this night that we slept in the desert and it just got weirder. Everyone was high. Someone was dancing by herself on the sand, rolling around in the dirt, chanting and raising her hands to the heavens. Then there was this guy who was so high that he started preaching about love, world peace, freeing yourself from your inhibitions, and basically we were transported back to the 70's.

I try not to judge. Try being the operative word. I myself am a big believer in love, freedom and world peace. But there was just something with the way that and the place where these things were preached that seemed bizarre to me. Here was this guy talking about changing the world with love and yet he has spent tons of money on hashish while spending his days lying on the sand, high and care free. Here you are talking about changing the world, drinking booze while Bedouins light fire and cook your food. This is not changing the world. This is ignoring the world.

I have nothing against this kind of lifestyle per se, but come on, own it and don't pretend to be actively changing the world while you lie on your ass the whole day. Walk the talk. Maybe I feel this way because I've met so many awesome people who are actually working to change the world for the better. There's S who could be doing something more lucrative, especially since she comes from several prestigious universities in Asia, but have instead spent the last 3 years teaching in a public school. There's J, who have chosen to start a cooperative/foundation for the small community in a small island of Dapdap in Quezon. There's P who's doing all he can to improve the quality of life in a small indigenous community. These people can preach about love, peace and changing the world and I will be all ears because I know they know what they're talking about. I know they know that freedom is not just about being free from inhibitions or problems or work.  Real freedom comes from being truly ourselves, by fulfilling our potential, by pushing our limits and capacities, by being more and doing more. In this sense, freedom is not always easy or happy. But it is real, deep and dynamic. It is powerful. Powerful enough to actually change the world.

But I also know that I won't be hearing these people preach. They don't have to. Their lives are more than enough of a visual aid to tell you that love and all the other hippie stuff we believe in can indeed change the world.

Those who truly want to change the world do not try to escape it, they immerse themselves in it. They drown in all its glory and shame, in all its light and shadow. 

In any case, the pictures:







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It was very dark in the desert.


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The Bedouins started a fire.


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Beca tried to tak some artistic shots.


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The hippies, I mean those people who were with us then played some music.


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Then we ate some cheese, tuna and Egyptian brea.d. I found hashish in the tuna. Of course


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In the morning.


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The sun began to rise.


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And the Bedouins packed everything.


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Beca and I tried to catch the sunrise but the mountains were just too tall.


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Finally, back at the camp.


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This Bedouin fellow kept us company.


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Beca's book.


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Red Sea, I will return.


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I bought these slippers for like 2 dollars. They've survived the Philippines, NY and Egypt for over 3 years now.


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I thought I wanted this kind of life.


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But 2 days, were more than enough.


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The menu. Prices are in Egyptian Pounds.



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Saying goodbye.


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