• Ahmed Elkhouly

A Familiar place..

For the past few days I’ve been feeling guilty for not functioning as I used to, ever since I caught that cold in Asyut which I haven’t yet recovered from. I’m disappointed at how less productive my day has become, between continuous hours of sleeping, the soreness, the dizziness, and even walking around has become a tiring chore. Even though I haven’t been able to fast for the past couple of days, I can barely eat , and stick mostly to water, juice, and hot beverages.



I wanted to see more, walk more, take more pictures, and meet more people. Most of my encounters have become limited to hotel owners family, the guy at the shop right by the hotel where I get my drinks, and the cab drivers I ride with for distance that were easily walked before. There still are benefits to these daily encounters and I’ve gotten to learn a lot about the city and its people. Still I feel like I could have done better,but the human body does have its limitations and there are no shortcuts.



The lazy trend of merging two days into one blog is a temporary given, partially due to my inability to focus on writing and because I haven’t really been around like previous cities to write about it. The thing that is worth noting is that for the past four cities every time I mention Sohag as a future destination, people would mention how nice the people of Sohag are. I wasn’t sure if they were exaggerating or they were really that nice until I met them.



The latest way to sense the vibe of kindness is through a smile, something that is exceptionally spread amongst the people of Sohag. The first cab driver in Sohag was a cheerful fellow, we literally talked for the entire duration on the ride and every other cab ride was the same. The hotel owner was delightful and talked very modestly about his spacious rooms where he asked me to see the rooms first before deciding to stay. A strange gesture I thought when he said “you might dislike it” before we walked into one of the rooms.



I later got to meet his whole family as he explained how he got to be in the hotel business in Sohag, then he gave me a chance to give him some insights regarding the hotels social media presence. That day, I was truly exhausted, there was no way I would walk around to find a location for the sunset time-lapse. Then just like that he proposed I watch the sunset from the roof of the ten story building the hotel is located in. The view was breathtaking I could see all of Sohag from that location, are a few buildings were that high creating an open view leading all the way towards the Nile.



Kero the eldest son accompanied me for the whole duration I was up there, at the young age of 14 years he had a ton of questions. A kid that has lived his whole life in Sohag and only briefly visited Asyut their neighboring city once. He had seen the world only through the internet and had questions that needed answering. We sat up there watched the sunset and talked, as a teenage boy most of his questions made sense. I tried to to lead him with my answers rather bombard him with straight facts, and let him draw his own conclusions.



As a city, Sohag isn’t as colorful as its people; it is rather typical and doesn’t have much to offer. Sohag as a city is average in most aspects like size, population, urban design, and is less than average in terms of traffic. The thing that seemed different was that there was a slight social difference between east and west banks of the Nile, the east being the more pronounced one where the university of Sohag is and the general level of everything is improved over the west side.



When you arrive in Sohag the people make you feel very welcomed, its a city that, although might not be a source of amazement, feels just like home. A city with a sense of familiarity or maybe its just being part of a big family, a peaceful place that feels genuinely warm and safe.

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