One day trip. Daily travel to the West

by Abdalla Daif

A Prologue
He said to me “Simply, I must tell her that I love her as long as she will entertain me for lunch in MacDonald’s”

All coming statements express only my own point of view.
So, please, from the beginning don’t account it as a whole vision or general reading of the reality.
I can tell you simply that there is not such things.

1- “Oslo – Asafra” highway

In 1993, after the declaration of “Oslo Treaty”, embodying one of the most important peace agreements at the end of the twentieth century in the Middle East, an international movement to activate the treaty began.
One of its Endeavors was building that huge highway which connects South-Med countries, reviving the ancient East Route. That is what is now known as the international Coastal Highway”

In 2006, after years of Rabin’s assassination and arouse of the second Intifada, it was some how acceptable to assassinate the treaty and, consequently, the project of the highway. Here we can observe one of the achieved stages. That is the stage of connecting Delta towns to Alexandria.

One day trip. Daily travel to the West
As a new concept, one-day trips began to haunt the high way to create a new dialectic relation between that way and Alexandria surprisingly, the role of the way turned from connecting the eastern and western countries of the
South-Med, to play an internal role in connecting Delta towns to Alexandria. Namely, it has weaved another reality for Alexandria, producing what can be governorates of one country. Some how, these towns were separated, forming informal national categories, though not racial.
This separation was supported by the general low incomes in Egypt as well as the inhabitants” lack of resort culture or habits of having long holidays for recreation. Thus, short trips to the coastal city to enjoy beaches and going to the countryside of the delta to relax almost disappeared.
However, creating the highway has released the phenomenon of one-day trips in Egypt. Thousands of summer visitors more daily from delta towns to Alexandria in waves begin at the dawn and end in the evening of the same day, going back to their towns after a trip about 20 hours.
In the course of this movement, which can be described as “post-temporary”, new details emerged on the daily map of Alexandria. For one-day visitors do not need residencies as there is no time to sleep or they can have a nap on the beach. Besides, most of them can not afford renting an apartment for one day.
So, the East of Alexandria turned out to be home for post-temporary rest houses; which are some seasonal cafes that work and flourish in summer then fade out or even disappear in winter. In addition to cheap-foods shops and markets for new and second – hand clothes. As a result of this overflowing, the delta rural hands extended to occupy a large sector of eastern Alexandria, carrying along with them their daily cultural items to mix with the Alexandrian culture, which is almost civil. Eventually, a hybrid cultural bundle juts out, having its own internal dialogue whose elements are changed daily in summer.
But in winter, the eastern Alexandria looks semi-inhabited.
On the other side, Alexandrians strongly escape to the town of Marsa Matrouh, using another part of the highway, in similar one day trips. So in Matrouh, the border governorate. The same post- temporary cafes, cheap shops and young hands appear. As if there is a daily systematic immigration to the west.
Moreover, inhabitants of eastern Alexandria use the highway to more to down town. Thus, such calls are frequently heard by microbuses drivers: “Asfra – High way - Asfra”

Abdalla Daif, Alexandria (September 2006)