Sunday, July 20, 2008

On the Road

Serving as a journalist in quiet Cairo is a far cry from working in conflict-prone Lebanon. I don't anticipate moving apartments, as I had to in Beirut, because road blockages and burning tires hindered my morning commute. I don't feel the urgency to spring out of bed in the morning to check the headlines wondering whether a bomb or a shooting will put my long-term story assignments on hold.
Still, though, life as a journalist in Egypt presents its share of the unexpected. Late last week, for example, I had to pound out a story for the Daily News on the construction projects springing up around Egypt (see the link in my last post). The story coincided with a trip I had to up to Egypt's north coast for ABC News. I'll stay mum on the ABC story so as not to cross any lines, but needless to say it was a fantastic two-day learning/working adventure. I conducted my interviews in the car en route to the north, and each pothole and car swerve is memorialized in the practically illegible notes I took.
After a stopover well west of Alexandria, we decided to head to the north coast's biggest city around 11pm. I knew I needed to get my story in that night so that my editors to spend the next day reviewing it, and my only window was the hour and a half long jog east to Alexandria. I sat in the backseat, passenger-side, with my MacBook propped open on my lap ready to write. I could only open the computer a little ways since our 6-foot 5-inch camera man sat in front of me had decided to put his seat back, practically in my lap. The car's windows were wide-open for the two smokers in the front, so little flecks of debris from the road kept irritating my contact lenses. So knees in my face, computer screen mostly shut, all sorts of crap flying in the window, potholes knocking my fingers off the keys, Springsteen blaring in my headphones, I wrote. With the Mediterranean in full view to my left, sites like the library of Alexandria to my right, I wrote.
It's a modest story, I know, but it's moments like those that put a smile on my face and make me love this profession.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

i am still trying to figure out IF i can figure out how to post a comment correctly...my last comment went only to me!
As for the big cameraman, he needs to pull his seat forward!
Hoping this commnet actually goes through

Anonymous said...

theo...
this blog leaves me with a number of issues:
one: why is a cameraman sitting in the front seat, designating a journalist to the "no leg room" section of the bus?
second: is journalism REALLY a profession or really a time-honored way to have adventures?
third: i am under the impression the library was never discovered....
so what did you really see to your right?
keep these blogs coming.
i'm loving them.
mam

Peggy said...

Theo--

Does it get any better than this? :) Thanks for the vicarious thrill.

Peggy

Browndilx said...

theo... this blog leaves me with a number of issues: one: why is a cameraman sitting in the front seat, designating a journalist to the "no leg room" section of the bus? second: is journalism REALLY a profession or really a time-honored way to have adventures? third: i am under the impression the library was never discovered.... so what did you really see to your right? keep these blogs coming. i'm loving them. mam