Day 310: Travel Buddy Lost in Internets
Young men and boys leap from Forodhani Park into the water. Photo: Isaac Stone Simonelli
THE files I'm transferring to Mustafa for a promotional video we're making for Firefly Lodge is unbelievably complicated, as we're moving the 4GB of drone footage from my PC to his iPhone with the slowest WiFi on the island – at least it feels that way.
Sitting in a hotel with a small, empty cafe, it's 3pm before we get started working. Each of us making an edit of the video was our only plan for the day, but it took forever to get moving this morning.
“Dude, the computer says it's going to be about four gigs. I'm just reading what the computer says and telling you,” I snap at Mustafa.
We're struggling to figure out how to get all the footage we shot in the same place so we can edit it. Unfortunately, the Egyptian has been so negative and plugged into his phone lately that it's driven me so far up the wall that I'm ready to fucking jump.
“Okay, tell me what to do,” he says in order de-escalate the situation, though I have, without a doubt, pissed him off.
We get back to work where the pushy waiter keeps trying to get us to buy more food and coffee that we don't need.
Mustafa is dealing with heavy shit right now, which I didn't realize. He's brother is hounding him to get back to Cairo to help their mother move into a new apartment. He's friends are needing favors from him and he's found out that it's going to cost 120 dollars to ship is passport – “the lost one” – to Zanzibar.
I get it, but fuck me I'm tired of the negativity and the lack of being present. When you're hanging out with someone you want to hang with them.
Later that evening, as the sun is going down we make it to the beach next to Forodhani Park. Black bodies moving with laughter, splashing into the water. A group of fit teens pretends to practice martial arts in the sand. Up in the park, Mustafa is again lost in his phone.
Streaks of cobblestones are wet from the young men running to the edge of the fortification and leaping into the ocean below. One does a gainer, another a back flip, another a spinning torpedo while others merely strike poses as their bodies, for a brief moment, unnaturally linger in the space above the horizon and the ocean.
Any comment I make gets a half-reply as I drag Mustafa out of whatever he's dealing with on his phone. I'd like the guy to appreciate how amazing this communal playground is: the water, the boats, the night market thick with food – but it's surely not my place.
He laughs as he listens to a voice message and then starts talking into his phone in Arabic.
The whole day has been like this.