Recoded: 4 Sept 2007
Locations: cairo & giza, Egypt; sharjar, UAE
Tags: eglug, pyramids, cairo, Alaa Abd El Fateh, open source, kifaya
Music: Cirrus reborn (dalia mix) by jaspertine and Animal by dgeis (both from ccMixer.org
About: after attending the Egyptian Linux User Group install fest, on my last two days in cairo, i pinned down with alaa (globalvoices interview) for a 40 min Q & A. here's just a few mins of the ELUG install fest, Alaa, my trip to the pyramids and the coast line of UAE.
Recoded: aug 2007
Locations: cairo, egypt
Tags: luck of seven, illness, cairo
About: the three days i spent in cairo many thoughts filled my head. down and out i found myself alone and depressed. not knowing how where to go or how to communicate, i turned on the camera and shot a few moments... you won't see me more candid than these few mins.
after yesterday's adventure in the wastelands of future hubbub, i arrived in mumbai. under the cover of darkness, i quietly roamed the halls of the international terminal.
greeted by a plainclothes custom's agent and without any questions, my passport was stamped and i walked into india. within 10 mins my bags were on a stroller and i was strolling into the humid night.
while my original plans were to spend the night in the terminal, things changed very quickly. on the day of my departure from cairo, former CiviCRM stunt man and current Drupaller, Yashesh Bhatia emailed me emphatically saying i should visit mumbai. upon telling him that i was just passing through, he told me that he would be at the airport dropping off his father and that he would be waiting for me.
in the hot sticky air, my bags and i stumbled out into the public waiting area squinting for a glimpse of a face i have only seen via email. tired, alone and without a working SIM, i quickly worked my way to get change and make a phone call.
after a bit of belligerence from a guy selling water, a young man wearing a hotel uniform pulled out his cell phone and offered to call yashesh. within a matter of minutes, chaos turned into peace. all of sudden, yashesh's friend/coworker (who's name escapes me at this moment) turned out of the crowed and ushered me to meet yashesh, his wife and three year old son.
driving though the crowed streets of mumbai, we talked about our geek history, the last 24 hours of travel, my time with the guys and gals of opencraft and my sadness leaving them. upon arrival at the Bhatia's family home, i was greeted by handshakes, a seat, a plate and a home cooked meal from heaven.
at 4.45 in the morning, yashesh and i drove to the airport. after a mad dash through the airport, i found myself watching the sunrise above the clouds.
with a bit of tung and cheek, joe strummer sung the following immortal words...
"Number 1, You have the right not to be killed...
... Number 2, You have the right to food money...
... Number 3, You have the right to free speech as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it."
as last night's waning hours worked their fury into a insatiable quest for entertainment, i found my self immersed in "seize the time" and thinking about my conversations with mardini, alaa, amr and nora.
back in nyc, i would have read their stories on global voices and thought of their story to be a novel use of social technology. after visiting them, hearing them, watching them with friends and conversing with a room full of geeks, i no longer viewed them as just a story. i no longer saw novelty, but the reality we are locked in a long struggle.
this struggle is not just about technology, but providing localized technology... without adequate translation, a computer, iphone, ipod, etc is no different than a hammer. (this will be addressed in a video interview... but hopefully you can understand that english internet superpower is not the "end all be all" of intellectual prowess... then again the hole-in-the-wall project would disagree with me.)
humanity has many faces. a majority of them are pleasant. (i am fortunate to see these faces across the globe - from the cairo subway to the streets of the bronx.) when it comes to the minority, this struggle works it way to be a battle over power. my visit to the pyramids reinfoced this fact.
through my eyes, i see this struggle to be a struggle over basic human rights. in the USA, we are "fortunate" to be "born" with "inalienable rights." incredibly, 40 years ago "the great experiment" failed in providing these rights to it's citizens. now at the dawn of the 21st century, through the use of digital technology, we have a unique opportunity to shape the way "inalienable rights" are passed along to the rest of the world.
without trying to be radical, a basic civics lesson will tell you "politics is war without bloodshed - and war is a continuation of politics, with bloodshed." huey p. newton & bobby seale built the black panther party to be THE vessel for the american black community to fight oppression, racism and murder and provide "Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace." despite the fact their organization was criminalized and persecuted, the black panther party died to bring justice for all poor americans. (btw, did you know they created the "free breakfast for children program" and popularized medical research in sickle-cell disease?)
forty years later, the world continues to face these same problems. most of the people whom i've interviewed all see the same thing.
the technology we have at our disposal is not just a simple vessel of entertainment. our modern technology is a complex beast that crashes through the gates of oppression and gives us an opportunity to make the world a better place.
sadly and on a too frequent basis, i see many of us blinded by the shiny side of the iphone, the hue of a garment or worse the insatiable consumption for "sustainable consumption." yet, one can not separate the quest of basic human rights as the pit of peach. all of these issues are wrapped up on the third planet from the sun.
by creating "a bill of rights for users of the social web" it's great to see that smarr, canter, scoble and arrington hopping on the same chariot many political technologist championed last year through the integration proclamation. while i support both, i see these intellectual statements as one thing, and can't stop thinking of bertolt brecht and kurt weill's song "what keeps mankind alive"
You gentlemen who think you have a mission
To purge us of the seven deadly sins
Should first sort out the basic food position
Then start your preaching, that’s where it begins
You lot who preach restraint and watch your waist as well
Should learn, for once, the way the world is run
However much you twist or whatever lies that you tell
Food is the first thing, morals follow on
So first make sure that those who are now starving
Get proper helpings when we all start carving
What keeps mankind alive?
What keeps mankind alive?
The fact that millions are daily tortured
Stifled, punished, silenced and oppressed
Mankind can keep alive thanks to its brilliance
In keeping its humanity repressed
And for once you must try not to shriek the facts
Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts
Technorati Tags: a bill of rights for users of the social web, activists, bertoit brecht, integration proclamation, joseph smarr, kurt weill, marc canter, michael arrington, open social web, robert scoble
(this is an email you will soon receive if you had subscribed to my email list... if you haven't, you need to do so ASAP...) click < http://groups.google.com/group/luckofseven >
hi, do you remember me?
i have wonderful news! today marks 60 days on the road...
AND with less than 30 days of cash left in my pocket, google has acquired me! YES, THAT'S RIGHT I AM PART OF THE GOOGLEZONE! after a long series of negotiations, prodding and more importantly, chasing google's tail... (ha, and you thought i was moving around to interview people... WRONG!). google decided that i'm worthy every penny to have an all expensed trip on them.
when i land in new delhi, i will be awash in google paraphalina (Hawaiian shirt, "high" performance underwear, fishing pants, camelpak and cheese cloth. the cheese cloth was a special request.) also, they have decided to out fit me with the most state of the art satalite/webcam system. i will soon be wired up like justin.tv streaking my naked ass from continent to continent reporting on open culture.
oh wait, was that another one of my fanciful dreams? the webcam, google clothing and cheese cloth are not true. almost being out of cash and hitting the two month mark are on spot.
in all honesty, i was sick and tired of having $30 USD enslaved from my bank account. so this message is the first message from the new luck of seven google group. you can invite friends and reply directly to me... this new and improved email list promises to be a digested version of noel's insanity, sanity, and twits...
speaking of twitts, if you are not on twitter, you are missing out on half of the story. while the blog, photos and interviews are a curated view of my life on the road... twitter is turing out to be the background on the background. sometimes you will get a dream, quote, hallucination, fear or blundering mistake... nonetheless, i have a very witty way twitter will be employed in my thunderous Dianetics styled essay, book, movie, and broadway musical.
if you aren't "following" me, then you're not following the whole story. < http://twitter.com/noneck >
finally, let's get into the meat and potatoes of my work...
i first have to thank so many here in cairo... mardini, nora younis, khalid & his family, omar, amr, alaa & mannal, all the kids at opencraft, meramees & EGLUG... oh and how can i forget happy birthday mohamed?!?
tomorrow (wed), i depart from cairo on a two hour train to alexandria. on the overnight flight to dubai, i'll sleep. on arrival (thurs), i'm going to work on editing video. thursday evening, i'll fly to mumbai and sleep in the airport. friday morning, like linus van pelt, i'll shlep to the proper terminal and fly to new delhi. somewhere around 8 am i'll finally land back in asia...
a lot of people have asked blankly what am i doing... normally, i give them a long winded answer how i'm trying to save the world with a straw hat, beard, camera and cell phone. though, in reality, i'm meeting the world's coolest people. i'm not talking about esquire, high society, nor woman's day... i'm talking honest to god/s, hard working people who don't take smoldering piles of poop from anyone.
despite the fact it's taking me longer to edit video than originally expected, and my ADD ravaged soul has problems being a one man band, i've cranked out 13 videos (6 while on the road, 1 every 10 days... not to shabby). once i land in india, get ready to shoot whiskey and watch one or two more episodes...
in the meantime, you should check out...
13 - dries, founder of the drupal project, on the history of drupal and it's community...
< http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode13 >
12 - christophe aguiton on future coworking software and barcamp/coworking community
< http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode_12 >
11 - dirk slater and the tactical technology collective
< http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode_11_brighton >
10 - two american freelancers in berlin looking at coworking
09 - the history of transitions online and their work in former soviet republics
< http://luckofseven.com/episode_9_tol >
08 - my running with the bulls
< http://luckofseven.com/episode_8_running_bulls >
07/07/07 - my goodbye speech (filmed by charles hope)
< http://luckofseven.com/good_bye_toast_blog_blip_tv >
until we meet in india!
join me on a trip around the world!
1. i'm a horible speller.
2. i'm using a KDE laptop with konqueror and have to balance a mouse in one hand and a the laptop in the other. currently, i'm banging on these keys with my nose until i can find a suitable pencil to use with my mouth.
it seems that my interview with dries has made it to the front page of drupal.org - digg it. my views are starting to rise. wooot! i couldn't be happier in thinking that all of these stomach cramps are finally adding up to a hill of fava beans!
also, while i'm here in wonderful coastal town of alexandria, i have no laptop, but i do have TWITTER and JAKIU!! so don't think that i'm leaving you alone. i'm still here kicking, screaming and getting freaked out by scary hotels!
ps - many thanks to khalid and his family for showing me around town, feeding me and driving me around.
photo by templar1307
it's been a month and a half since i left NYC and now i am in cairo!!
after a 15 hour bus ride from tel aviv, i have finally made it to africa. upon arrival and in the confines of the Sheraton Cairo business center, i discovered that i had no place to sleep. the super kind attendant, imat, hooked me up with an internet connection and offered a special hotel rate with the price tag of $260 USD. in all honesty, i thought about it... and decided to let my fingers to the walking.
twenty mins later, i discover a little hostel named Lialy. after a herroing taxi cab ride that ran three lights with one featuring a near head on collision, i "arrived" at 3am. with complete understanding of my situation, the midnight attendant shepherd me into freezing three bed room.
waking at 9am, i was presented with two options...
1. wait to see if a room is available.
2. make my own booking at another hostel.
in haste, and after looking at fellow blogger reviews, i have made arrangements at Meramees hostel but have also been told that there is no availably after tomorrow. so, if you are reading this and know someone in cairo... help a brudda out and have someone contact me via my american sim (+1.917.657.6999).
in the meantime, i'm going to find an egyptian sim, check into the meramees, find an internet connection and start pounding away in some IRC chat rooms.
well it appears that i have more night in the luxurious accommodations of midan talaat harb square. in a striking similarity to columbus circle in manhattan, cars, scooters, motorcycles, bicycle peddlers, street merchants, and pedestrians all vie for the right to pass. littered with parked cars, torn up sidewalks and air conditioning water droplets, the sidewalks wreak of mayhem.
there is one sad passing note that i should mention about the little hostel named lialy. when i went back to pick up my bags, the day attendant told me he now had a room for me. a little shocked, i told him that i already had found accommodations and that i would be moving on.
after already charging me a egyptian pound (EL) for one hour's worth of internet usage (25 US cents), he proceeded to ask for payment. despite the fact i had already paid him 50 EL (10 USD), he now wanted 150 EL (30 USD). full aware of this scam, i politely told him to check his records. after confirming my payment, he asked that i hurry up and clean my barely used room.
in the room, i was pleasantly surprised to discover the two other travelers whom i awoke at 3am. (btw, they also loved staying at the big apple hostel in istanbul.) in my departure i mentioned the small billing snafu, and they proceeded to tell me about another little shamble. apparently, while my roomies were eating their falafel breakfast, a group of three arrived. at 100 EL per person (twice the normal price), the three french started their negotiations to secure a room. after a few fleeting moments of delight, one of the day attendants noticed my roomies and ended negotiations.
note to fellow travelers in cairo, be armed with a big smile and distain for comical negoiations. don't be rude, but be prepared for the unexpected.
first - get a receipt!
two - once you have decided to move around, get to a hostel quickly. while many people might have great things to say about their experience, most of these places are on a first come first serve basis. while hostelworld.com really does not overtly tell you, the small deposit you are charged is just a shrewd formality for the possibility of a booking. hostels are not big chain hotels and are frequently owned and operated by a family or a few friends. things change at a moments notice.
three - always remember, get in good... get good service...
starting in new york city on 7 july 2007, noneck will depart for europe. first stopping in spain to run with the bulls during the festival of san fermín, and will then head to prague. after a month in europe, he will work his way along the mediterranean and into africa. some how, some way, he will traverse the deserts of the middle east and hop into india and travel along the coast of the indian ocean. in a miraculous feat cunning skill, noneck will snuggle into the arms of oceania for a few weeks before hoping into a plane back to north america for a road trip to see his brother's college graduation and celebrate thanksgiving with his family. shortly thereafter, he will collect his gear and trek through south america in a final attempt to make antarctica before the summer season ends. for the last leg, noneck will work his way along the eastern cost of south america, up the caribbean back to new york city.