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Wondering which item on her to-do-list, she wanted to do next, Angie sat quietly in her room pondering. It was no use for her to make plans. The whole idea of planning doesn’t seem to have any roots in this country. Over the last two months and a half, while she was teaching, she would plan her lessons, only to realize, the next day, shortly before her classes, that a strike was taking place, or that the school was closed or that something was happening, and therefore her plans were worthless. She used to go with the flow back then. She would opt to visit a new place or the same one she visited before. She was in such a graceful mood that she welcomed anything that came her way.

But over the last 10 days, things had taken a drastic turn for Angie. She felt for the first time in the last two months, that she was running out of time. She wanted to visit new places, take pictures, explore, and experience new challenging opportunities… She had planned (God! I am still using this verb!)… well, she thought of stopping her teaching duties at the school, and travel around the country for 20 days before returning to her home country.

She seemed to believe in her ability to make her dreams come true (with the help of the universe of course), but things didn’t go the way she hoped for them to do. God (or the Universe) must have had a better plan… So she travelled for a few days, and then found herself highly advised to return to the city she was staying at.

Returning wasn’t easy. The bus ride in a tourist bus that usually takes 5 hours with 3 breaks, took 8 hours with 4 breaks. The 3 breaks would consist of a 10-minute toilet break, followed an hour later by a breakfast break for 20 to 30 minutes and a few hours later came the third break: the lunch break for 30 minutes. But this time the bus left at 9am instead of 7:30am. And it had to stop for about an hour with many other tourist buses waiting for a police escort. A political party had called for a 10-day strike in which no transportation, except tourist related vehicles of course, were allowed to operate. Another break followed shortly after the first one, but lasted only 15 minutes. And another one also followed lasting 10 minutes. The last one was the lunch break and lasted for 30 minutes.

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Passengers, all tourists, with the exception of a few local people, didn’t know what to do. Some were rambling about their plans. Some were scared. Some were simply oblivious to anything happening around them. Some felt so hungry that they took advantage of the forced breaks to buy some biscuits and chocolates. Some ate their snacks or forced themselves to eat them or ate out of lack of energy, fear or desperation. Some slept, others read. Some wrote in their diaries. Some started to write down their thoughts on fleeting papers. Some sent messages on their phones, checked their Facebook, read their emails, continued long chats with their friends and families over Viber, Whatsapp, Line, Tango…  Some took photos and some continued or started to feel sorry for themselves and for the world. Some called their friends and loved ones and explained their “unfortunate fate” or “small incident” or “short delay” or “the disaster they were the sole victims of”…

Angie sitting in the front row, tried to see things objectively. She even tried to analyze how things seemed to be. She took out her notebook and her blue pen and she described the situation from her point of view, wrote down her fears because they were becoming too heavy for her to carry, and tried to look for solutions…

Thank you for reading. What do you think about this post? Is it interesting? Is it easy to read? Easy to follow? Hard? Complicated? Please let me know in the comments below.

To see more of my photos, please like my page on Facebook: Zeina Gabriel Photography

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