صباح الخير من المغرب

خواطر كثيرة تراودني هذا الصباح. استيقظت اليوم الساعة الخامسة ليلا (و أقول ليلا لأنني لا أرى بشائر الفجر حتى الآن، و الساعة الآن ٥:٤٥). خواطر نحو عائلتي و نحو حياتي و عدم استقراري أصبحت تراودني. وصلت البارحة إلى قرية سيدي كاوكي بالمغرب، و هي قرية نائية على ساحل المحيط يقطنها ما يقرب من ٤٠٠٠ شخص.

لم يكن هناك سبب قوي بالنسبة لي للذهاب إلى المغرب. لمدة شهر سأسكن فيها هنا مع مجموعة من ١٠ أفراد في بيت كبير في أرياف هذه القرية، لعلها تكون فرصة للتعرف على حياة الأرياف و توابعها.

استغرق الطريق من القاهرة حوالي ١٧ ساعة. القاهرة ثم الدار البيضاء ثم مراكش ثم الصويرة و أخيرا سيدي كاوكي.

هذه صور التقطّها وقت وصولي هنا:

Project Medium Fish – Updated!

My progress on Medium Fish has to some extent stalled over the past 8 days or so. I didn’t stop working out, but it was “chaos” workouts where I was choosing a random workout to do as opposed to working towards an end goal in a structured manner.

The reason I initially stalled is because the workout routine that I was following, “The System” by Bar Brothers, was progressing a lot faster than myself. I thought of just repeating the exercises of whatever week I was on until I am capable and move on, but it’s a bit more complicated than that because a single week doesn’t cover all the different types of workouts in their program, and I have been feeling that the quality of my workouts have been degrading gradually as I strived to hit the rep quota they suggest.

Another big reason for me as well to reconsider the program is that I felt that the end goal was a bit too complicated. If you look at my original goals you’ll see about 12 goals that are a bit scattered.

A few days ago I decided to regroup and correct course on this project so that 1) the goals are much simpler and more focused and 2) workouts focus more on quality than quantity.

After hours of reading and extensive research I found this great reference: Overcoming Gravity by Steven Low*. After reading many parts of it, along with my old copy of Convict Conditioning, I decided on the following three goals for Medium Fish:

  1. Free handstand for 30 seconds. It would be OK if I initially needed a wall to get into position.
  2. 20 second L-sit
  3. 3 sets of 5 L-pullups in perfect form.

Deadline: April 15th (unchanged)

Based on the goals above I constructed the following workout that I’ll be doing three times a week:

  • Warmup
  • Skill work (handstand + L-sit)
  • 3×5 sets working towards L-pullups
  • 3×5-10 sets working towards 1-hand pushup
  • 3×5-10 sets working towards 1-legged squat

Note that the sets towards 1-hand pushups and 1-legged squats aren’t actually necessary for the goals I’m setting for myself for this project, but I wanted the workout to be full body and working towards them now will set the foundation for future fitness projects.

* Because there is no digital copy of the book and I can’t get the book shipped to me, I had to pirate the book. I am so sorry, Steve! I promise I’ll buy the digital copy as soon as it comes out!

Week 4

I have been particularly lazy in reporting my progress this week. Shame on me! Here’s the report of the all days I didn’t yet report this week.

When I was doing the last workout, day 6, I started realizing that this workout plan is progressing faster than how I’m progressing. They’re becoming overly difficult and I’m starting to see myself either rest for much longer than the required rest time, or slightly compromise the quality of my reps.

I want to reemphasize my belief here that “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast”. I don’t want to rush this at the expense of quality, even if it means pushing my deadline for this project by a bit.

I’ll be doing a reassessment this evening to see what modifications need to be done to the plan. In the meantime, here’s a report of my past workouts:

Day 2: I did this workout in the desert while we were camping there. Four rounds of:

  • 30 second high knees
  • 8 burpees
  • 30 second mountain climbers
  • 2 minute run (on sand)

Day 3: Worked out of Eldorado in Dahab. The scheduled workout was four rounds of:

  • 18 regular pushups
  • 10 dips
  • 12 wide pullups

Pushups and dips weren’t a problem, but the pullups I had to split each round into two sets. By the end of it though I still only did 45 wide pullups, as opposed to the 12 x 4 = 48 I was set out to do. Also took a lot more breaks than suggested in the workout.

Day 4: This day was meant to be a lower body workout. I played soccer, which I think compensates for it.

Day 5: Reported in my last post

Day 6: I was delayed by one day in doing this workout, as I was completely exhausted due to all the Dahab activities (freediving, swimming, etc.) Again, this isn’t something that I take lightly, so I don’t expect this to be a regular occurrence. I did four rounds of:

  • 20 incline pushups
  • 15 decline pushups
  • 10 regular clap pushups
  • 5 second down up pushups

 

First Full Day in Dahab

Today was my first full day in Dahab, and what a day it has been! To my surprise, time passes by very slowly here (a lot of بركة, I suppose).

I worked out of a cafe by the beach in the morning, had breakfast, worked out on the beach, had lunch, went home to continue working, and then finally went with a group to the mountains for a splendid dinner in the desert. I couldn’t count how many stars were in the clear skies above. I unfortunately didn’t have a good camera to take pictures but Nadine, one of the women in the group, took some beautiful pictures that I’ll share here in due time.

Work-wise I think it has been a very productive day. Hopefully it stays that way in the days to come.

In Dahab

I arrived to Dahab this morning, and I was pleasantly surprised that Dahab had not lost one bit of its charm – an incredible combination of beauty, nature, and simplicity.

I met up with my friend Souzan, who has been living there for several months now, and she give me a nice, gentle re-introduction to Dahab. The video below says it all.

Day 3 in Sharm El Sheikh

Today was our last day of our diving trip. I did three dives today, bring the total number of dives on our diving trip to nine. To date, I have dived 21 times in total.

The first dive today was at Gordon Reef, and something unique to this reef is “The Lovilla”, a boat that’s stuck on the Northern edge of the reef, above the water. It’s been sitting there since 2005, and has largely corroded away. It some point the remains will fall in the water and will make a very enjoyable dive site. Here’s the ship:

Anyways, Haitham asked me to solve some simple math equations on the first dive at a depth of ~30m to test my tolerance to nitrogen narcosis. Reefs today were spectacular. I didn’t take my camera underwater this trip unfortunately, but Tarek and Haitham did. I’ll share photos from them once I get it.

I was supposed to head to Dahab today, but I felt pretty exhausted so I just hung out with Tarek and Abu ElHaz. Tomorrow morning I head to Dahab!

Day 2 in Sharm El Sheikh

Weather today has been much nicer – more sun and less wind. We ended up taking a boat, حرية السويس, and visited a couple of dive sites. I did three dives during the boat trip. The first two dives were “drift drives”, where I was learning to glide with current while enjoying the marine life. Both of these dives were with my instructor Haitham.

I then did a third dive, this time with Captain Abdelhameed, and that was a buoyancy dive, where I did drills to help control my altitude under water and to be neutrally buoyant.

Finally, I did a fourth dive with Haitham, Tarek, and Juan. This time, though, it was a night dive. I’ve been craving doing a night dive for a long time, and it certainly was worthwhile. I’d almost compare to going to outer space – the blackness of the sea vs the blackness of space and the buoyancy in the water vs the free gravity in space.

Anyways, we wrapped up today with a great seafood dinner at Fares. I am exhausted now. Time to head to be to catch another boat for a couple of diving trips in the early AM. Tomorrow will be the last day on this diving trip, and I then will be heading to Dahab to work out of there for a bit.

Day 1 in Sharm El Sheikh

Today was a bit of a rough start to our diving trip. The weather was cloudy, dusty, and very windy. One of the boats that went out in the morning came back shortly after because of the weather conditions.

We plowed through it tough and decided to dive directly from the beach without a boat. Haitham, my instructor, guided us in two dives in Shark’s Bay. The first was a refresher, as it had four years since I last dived.

The second one was supposed to be a navigation dive, but it was cut short because Haitham’s dry suit was leaking.

The original plan was to do a night dive this evening and then take a boat at dawn tomorrow to Thistlegorm, the British shipwreck from WWII. That unfortunately won’t happen tomorrow also because of weather conditions. Hopefully the day after (?)

يوم في شارع المعز لدين الله الفاطمي

بدأت السنة الجديدة بزيارة لشارع المعز لدين الله الفاطمي مع معتز و أحمد عليوة. أنا محرج و أنا أقول إن هذه هي زيارتي الأولى لهذا المكان. من مفهومي أنه تم ترميم الشارع و آثاره من فترة بسيطة. ولا أنكر أن  زيارتي غيّرت انطباعي عن القاهرة بشكل عام (إلى الأفضل). رونق هذا الشارع فريد من نوعه بالرغم من أنه يزال ينقصه الكثير.

استغليت زيارتي لشارع المعز و اشتريت أباجورة لأمي بمناسبة عيد ميلادها. الأباجورة شغل يدوي و رحت على كهربائي في باب الشعرية عشان يركّب الكهرباء. طلّع دين أهلي بس شكلها طلع مش وحش في الآخر. منقوش عليها “قل أعوذ برب الفلق”: