Monday, June 29, 2015

Foul enjoyabubble!

fHow can you have a bad day when you start out with Foul Medammes on the breakfast buffet? Turns out this is a famous fava bean dish known around the world more commonly as Ful. I passed it up and had a couple of fried eggs instead.

We took a quick dunk in the Gulf of Oman. Hardly refreshing, the water was like a warm bath. Because of Ramadan I had to remain almost fully I walked into the water only to be able to say I did. The sand was red hot..temperature around 106. Our bathing suit days, at least photos of us in suits, are over so I'll spare you that agony. 

Tomorrow we fly back to Doha, Qatar with a two hour layover in their beautiful new airport, then onto Dubai where we overnight and then fly via British Airways to Heathrow. 

Note that we are sitting almost directly on the Tropic of Cancer. How can you avoid thinking of Henry Miller? Following is from an Amazon review by Michael J. Mazza of his most famous book. 

The back cover of Henry Miller's novel "Tropic of Cancer" notes that the book was first published in Paris in 1934, but banned as obscene in the United States for 27 years until a historic court ruling was made. Thus, "Tropic of Cancer" is significant as a historical artifact in addition to being a literary work of art. The book tells the story of an American writer named Henry Miller who lives in Paris. Henry definitely lives in the seedy underbelly of the city; the book follows him to the bars, cafes, and whorehouses and details his encounters with a number of colorful characters.
"Tropic of Cancer" opens on a grungy note as the narrator discusses the lice infestation of his friend's armpits. Early on the narrator promises that this will not be a polite book: "This is libel, slander, defamation of character [...] a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art." Miller largely succeeds to deliver on this promise. The book is full of profanity, and there are frank discussions of sex, sexually transmitted diseases, and other such topics.
The book has a crude charm and energy throughout, even though at times the prose seems wildly self-indulgent. Miller depicts Paris as a magical place, a pilgrimage site for artists and wanderers. The narrator often reflects on writing and literature in general, and on his own artistic goals and theories in particular. There is also reflection on America and American identity. Miller's prose sometimes attains a Whitmanesque revelatory quality.
To me the main question about this book is thus: Is it merely an important historic artifact, or does it still sing as a work of living literature? My own reply to this question: the book does still sing, delivering (to quote the book itself) "bloated pages of ecstasy slimed with excrement." If you like it, also check out the writing of Charles Bukowski.

Dad had a copy in his underwear drawer along with "Lady Chatterley's Lover." The moment a book was banned in those days, sales went through the roof. I don't think I ever read more than the dog-eared pages of the family copy; this might be the right time to read the whole thing. 

In this part of the world there's plenty of banning - before we left, I read that you should not carry anything by Salman Rushdie with you into Iran. I haven't read The Satanic Verses, the book that inspired the Ayatollah to issue a Fatwah on his life but as Rushdie has said so often in so many ways..if you don't like a book, close it up and don't read it. Personally I think Salman is overall eminently enjoyabubble!!

"Before the publication of his acclaimed novel Midnight's Children, Rushdie worked as an advertising copywriter. "I invented this campaign for Aero chocolate bars," he recalled.

"With bubble words: adorabubble, irresistibubble, delectabubble. Bus signs that said transportabubble. Shop signs that said availabubble. Trade ads that said profitabubble. I invented it because the guy I was working with had a stammer. We were sitting in a room trying to think of an idea and said, 'It's fucking impossibubble.' It was my one genuine lightbulb moment." The Gaurdian, October 2002. 

Blogger made salmon out of Salman. Don't blame me.


  1. Foul Mesdames seems like a difficult breakfast to swallow, but my husband has prepared it on occasion and it's quite good.

    1. I agree after trying it the second morning. It's quite good with eggs and the typical Middle Eastern breakfast foods - cheese, olives, flat bread, herbs, dates.

  2. The whole post is enjoyabubble! Although that breakfast thing sounds kind of ughabubble!