Thank you, Patricio. To be fair and honest. I'm looking for getting a
chance to go to B.A. next year.
Back to the Japan, my beloved home country, and the city I've been in
my graduate and marriage day, I found here Osaka is hotter than Cairo
(so definitely much hotter than Alex but I knew it even before my
departure), more humid than Singapore and things cost more than Sharm
el Sheik. I feel comfortable in my apartment though, in every return I
realize there is no perfect place. And almost in every community park
one or two homeless occupy benches during the night. Poor people are
not only in developing countries. I saw them in New York (not sure
about Boston, since I didn't go to downtown), in Taipei (and then he
was completely naked) and in Alex (but I doubt if they were really
homeless - some countries we know "professional beggars" who have
their own home and go to the city for their "business"). And local
people and facilities somehow annoyed me in many ways, as said.
That is the world, but at the same time, I have great days with my
friends both new and old in Alexandria, expectedly as all of you,
also I met many good people and things in many place of Egypt. The
guide who attended me in Luxor was professional and arranged me a
special local tour for visiting local Coptic churches for free, I got
treated by a local beduin at the top of Mt. Sinai (how cozy to have
tea seeing the morning Sinai from the summit, sitting just beneath of
Chapel of S. Trinity), also treated by a local Egyptian family
including yummy spicy stewed eggplant ... and Divine Liturgy at the
Basilica of S. Transfiguration in the monastery so-called S.
Catherine; they were so generous to allow me enter to the Holy of
Holies(!) to give venerational kisses to the relics of the
Great-martyr Catherine of Alexandria (I know some claim the doubt
about her historical existence, but it is another story). After all,
not only in the venue, party and accommodation, but also in the
entire of the country, its virtues, beauty, riches and generosity
cannot be underestimated by its malice, demelit, and all its vices.
The monks gave me a ring. It reminded me the peace and tranquility in
Sinai, in the monastery. Strangely it was not so much different I have
known in my parish, with my friends, of course including in the dorm
and in the venue. All seemed natural and dairy, no hidden special
things I think. Truly the most precious one is amidst the human - not
the place. Mt. Sinai gave me a lesson; there is no special place in
this globe but we can change our world and invite to create the place
we feel comfortable, in our own labor and diligence. We cannot change
everything at once but we can do something in every time - with
dignity, in calmness from discretion. Shotly, in love. Through
editing, organizing things, contacting the other people - just for the
love for knowledge and thus, for our friends and neighborhood.
As said, I have found some disappointments in the conf and I won't
hesitate to spread these; beware, it could be much bitterer than
anyone input ;D But I'll try to keep in the line directly related to
the conference and its organizing team's concern. And thanks to Alex
team again, and to Patricio and BA team, for your promised serious
On Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 9:31 AM, Patricio Lorente
2008/7/28 Al Tally
It's now been a week since I got back. I
enjoyed the actual conference, and
meeting everyone in person. However, I have made up my mind that I never
want to go to Egypt again, nor the next Wikimania.
I was so disturbed and put off by my experience
of Egpyt, there is no way
I'd consider going to Buenos Aires. While I'm sure they are very different
places, I don't want to risk anything like the harrassment, the poor hygene,
the dangerous roads and the poor organisation again. It'll be way too
expensive for me as well, and I doubt I'd get a scholarship. I'd rather go
somewhere closer to the UK where I live, or where the culture is more
similar to here.
I'm sorry my words are harsh. This is not a dig at anyone, just my honest
concerns about how this whole thing turned out. I know for sure others feel
the same way I do about a lot of the things I said.
I'm happy to see that this thread turned into a more constructive
discussion about things we can do better in next wikimanias. I can't
imagine how could the egyptian team change the local taxi drivers'
culture just for our comfort.
While we (in Argentina) are taking notes on every comment about things
to do and things to improve, I'd like to say a few words, about some
concepts that didn't sound well to me.
I was very happy to be in Egypt. I knew (as every one of you) that the
taxi drivers -and other people- would try to cheat me, that transport
media would be below european standars -although the train service
from Cairo to Alexandria was quite fine-, that traffic would be
terrible, that poor people would be everywhere. Welcome, my friends,
to the South.
And I was very happy not only for the great job and friendship of the
egyptian team, not only for an outstanding conference venue, but also
because when we say: "a world in which every human being..." we are
also talking about this people. We are talking *most of all* about
Of course, nobody is forced to go anywhere if is going to be
uncomfortable. But you can't go to Egypt (or to South America) and
complain because you didn't find the services of a Nordic country.
We are taking notes and working: you'll find enough plugs in Buenos
Aires, and enough wifi, and enough social room and activities... and
perhaps you'll find a city that fits with most european standars
(please, read [[en:Buenos Aires]] for further reference). But if you
walk the city, you'll meet poor people, at night you may find families
of waste pickers, you'll see homeless. Sorry about that. We are not
able to hide them for you and I think we don't want to do so.
So, let's talk about things we can work out. And forgive me if my
words sound bitter: I just couldn't help.
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