Sarah Darwish writes: Find Tom Hanks with me in Cairo

Amman Today

publish date 1970-01-01 03:00:00

After a long, exhausting work day, which was compounded by the lack of hours of sleep I had the night before, I finally got to my bed completely empty of energy. I decided that nothing was more important at that moment than a deep sleep for long hours that sharpened my energy. Lights out. I muted the phone. I lay in bed and before I fell asleep, I remembered that I hadn’t set the alarm for the next day. I picked up the phone while I was stuck between sleep and wakefulness, when I noticed that there were a lot of notifications and messages on various social media applications from dozens of friends who had no relationship with each other.

I thought for a second, but as soon as I saw the first notice, I understood it all: “Tom Hanks in Egypt!” Before I shook my head sarcastically as I remembered his old photos in Hurghada that I was deceived by years ago and then discovered that they were taken in 2014, the other part of the news slapped me, “He eats Egyptian food in a restaurant in Zamalek, and this is his photo.” I muttered to myself, “Photocho….” No, we will not give you An opportunity to question the veracity of the information, here is a video clip. It really is! These are his features, his white hair, his glasses, his distinctive laugh, and this is Rita Wilson, his wife, next to him! It’s hard to fake all these details in one poor quality video!

Tom Hanks in Zamalek

I jumped out of bed excited. Is this really happening? Tom Hanks is here! My favorite star is no longer an impossible dream on another continent, but rather it is here, between me and him two steps, and I may be lucky and see it from afar! Or a miracle will happen and I will be one of those lucky ones who meet him by chance, and take a picture with him with his charming smile and distinctive grimace in selfies! Rather, with my usual randomness, I might lose one of my things on the street – and because now he is not on another continent – and he might pass through the same streets that I pass through, practice his strange hobby, which is dear to my heart, and take a picture of it, or perhaps he decides to keep it and become one of my things near him!

Sleep evaporated as I tried to absorb the shock. I hysterically shared the news with my friends, as if trying to make sure it was true. Tom Hanks in Egypt! “Seriously? It’s possible to gossip.” Send the video, and they will be infected with amazement and excitement. Will the dream that I have always shared with those around me as an impossible wish finally come true? My friends know that I admire – obsessively perhaps – Tom Hanks. Although I left the stage of adolescence years ago, he is the only star of whom I hang a picture in my bedroom and another in my office, and I meet him in an endless number of dreams with funny and illogical scenarios!

Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks

I don’t remember exactly when I saw his first movie. Except I remember it was Forrest Gump. I decided to watch the movie as part of my ambitious plan to watch all the Oscar winning films year after year. I well remember not getting over it on the first try. Then I went back to give him another chance, maybe I was in a better mood or I was just ready to enter the world of Tom Hanks. I completely fell in love with the movie. Then in love with all Tom Hanks movies. I started watching one by one. And every time I experience almost the same feelings, as if I belonged entirely to his world. And I say here “his world” because it is not only about Tom Hanks, but about the combination associated with his films. The charm of people who seem ordinary but are not. The magic of small/big details that amaze you when you look at them. The magic of the deep, honest, and confusing emotions you sink into in every movie and the sympathy that builds up inside you for every character even if you totally disagree with their ideas! And that feeling that something inside you – no matter how small – changed after you watched the movie.

I watched almost all of his films for which I could find Arabic subtitles. And I’ve put the rest on my watch-later list, until my English improves or some of the translators kindly takes care of it, whichever comes first. I saw in him the sincerity, the romance, the simplicity of a dream boy, and I saw myself in him as that confused, lost child who suddenly found himself in the adult world, and I saw myself in him again as that lonely lost man on a desolate island, trying to hold on to every little hope of surviving and not losing his mind. I even invented my own “Wilson” in my letters to Rifaat. I saw him as an amazing father, a good friend, a good guy, loyal to him even if his job was to defend an ‘enemy spy’ as long as his country mandated it.

It was no longer enough for me to watch his films. I wanted to know more about this person whom I saw growing up in front of me in the films as if he was an old friend between us for ten years. I knew more about his life, his amazing love story and his long marriage to Britta Wilson. I broke down into tears reading her statement about the moment he told her the beginning of their relationship, “I just want you to know that you wouldn’t have to change anything about yourself to be with me.” His support for her professionally and his pride in her, his support for her in her battle with breast cancer, and most importantly, he did not consider himself a hero because he did so and did not brag about it everywhere, but he sincerely expressed his admiration for her courage and strength because she overcame the disease in a short time.

I continued to immerse myself in the world of Tom Hanks, smiling from my heart as I followed his Twitter and Instagram accounts, his quirky/funny hobby of taking pictures of those things that strangers lose on the streets. Single glove, single shoe, stocking, hat. These only things do not remain alone after that cute star meets her, so he takes a picture of her, imagines a story for her, and shares it with his followers. I began to know more about the common things between us, such as the love of writing, the love of typewriters, then I watched dozens of interviews with him and liked his lightness and kindness with others, and those random clips that were taken of him in the streets when he passed a wedding in a garden or when he met a sleeping person and took a picture with him and others And other funny and spontaneous situations that drew a deep smile on my face and made me dream that I would one day meet him, even though I always avoid meeting celebrities whom I admire because on the one hand, I am afraid of being shocked by them, and on the other hand, I feel that I will not add new information to him if they know that I love them. . Besides, I never like to invade their privacy or intrude and disturb them.

“If he really is in Zamalek, we should look for him,” said a friend when I shared the news with him, and I had just suppressed that thought inside me, as I felt that I would be an obsessed, eccentric and pathetic fan if I did, and the image of “Samir Spot” immediately came to my mind. Encourage me: “It would be a good story if you shared the search for him, whether you made it or not.” At that point, I felt like I wouldn’t be a total nerd fan if I did the idea.

I went back to the video posted on Twitter again, the virtual world is narrower than a needle’s eye and others may have seen it elsewhere. I was angry with the owner of the video because he waited until the next day to post it. Then I excused him later. If I were in his place, I might not have woken up from the shock of being in the same place with Tom Hanks until a week later! Besides, I would definitely not consider taking a photo or video of him, not only out of shock but because I hate the idea of ​​taking photos/videos of anyone without their prior or post permission.

Tom Hanks in Egypt
Tom Hanks in Egypt

I followed the comments on the video, and I did not find a trace of other lucky people who met him, neither in the aforementioned restaurant nor anywhere else. However, some comments suggested that he was staying in a famous hotel, a 10-minute walk from the restaurant. The guess seemed logical, as it is an ancient and luxurious hotel, and some of its rooms enjoy panoramic views of the Nile, and its historical character and oriental décor resembles the atmosphere of the restaurant that he chose to eat authentic Egyptian food.

We enthusiastically concocted the improvised plan: We could visit the hotel as regular guests of the conference rooms, and try to inquire of the people working there if he was staying there. If we do not succeed in finding an answer, we can visit the restaurant where he ate and learn more about the visit. Perhaps we got lucky and found out where he lives or what his next stop is in the land of Mahrousa. By the time the plan was implemented, sources in the Ministry of Tourism made statements about the visit and the extensive social media comments on it. She explained that it was a personal visit to the star and a number of his friends and family members, during which he refused to hold any media interviews, and recommended his fans to respect his privacy during the visit. My enthusiasm cooled off a bit. That justification that I am pursuing journalistic work is no longer satisfactory to my conscience. I decided to go ahead with the plan with the promise that if I found him I wouldn’t bother him.

The first stop in the search for Tom Hanks in Cairo was at the famous hotel. The first factor we asked about the validity of the rumor that Tom Hanks is staying at the hotel politely denied any knowledge of it, and confirmed that this is his first working day after the Eid holiday, so he cannot confirm or deny. I checked his body language and his voice, he seemed sincere in what he was saying. And frustration began to seep into my heart a little, even if he was on vacation and the star was staying in this hotel and with all this momentum on social media about his visit, he must have received some news.

We were advised to ask at the reception, but we realize the futility of the attempt, as one of the reception staff will never divulge any information about a resident, even if he is not one of the famous people who insists on respecting his privacy. Desperate, we sat down in one of the hotel’s cafeterias. We ordered a drink to be regular guests. We repeated the attempt with the waiter, who, with a quick laugh, denied the truth of the rumor and said that the star was not staying at the hotel. I was at a loss to judge his answer, as well as the last factor we tried to ask in passing about the veracity of the rumor. The speed of denial with laughter and not being surprised to hear the rumor or the name aroused the investigator’s doubts inside me.

We moved to the restaurant. And my heart pounded like a teenager when I felt that I was now sharing a scene with my favorite star that he saw and experienced a few days ago. Did he like the quiet neighborhood? Did he catch his eye, or perhaps Rita’s, the popular Egyptian gowns hanging in the shop next to the restaurant? Have you considered taking a look and owning one? At the restaurant’s long wooden door, the delicious aroma of molokhia dispelled all questions. I immediately knew why he chose this dish on the menu.

We decided to live the full experience. Unfortunately, the table he was sitting at was not vacant. The whole restaurant was so crowded that there was a queue. I don’t know if this is the nature of the place because it is one of the famous and ancient restaurants, or if these are after-effects of the visit. The whole experience was not lost as the first available table was exactly the same as the one he sat at with his guests. After lunch, we spoke privately to one of the restaurant staff. Fortunately he was present at the time of the visit.

He revealed that this visit was not surprising, but that there was a reservation for Tom Hanks a whole month ago, but the administration completely kept the information confidential and did not inform even the workers except at the time of the visit. He was a simple worker who did not recognize the star, but he realized from the atmosphere and from the subsequent commotion that he was an important person. He confirmed that he was accompanied by about 18 individuals, who were not private guards but came with him, the most important of whom was his wife and another woman whom he did not recognize. The information aroused my curiosity and perhaps my hope that all this large number of companions would not be just friends or relatives, but some of them came with him for a close job in Egypt? maybe!

I was pleased with what the worker said, that he did not appear arrogant or arrogant, but seemed to him to be a kind and spontaneous person, and that he was interested in knowing the details of the foods he ate. Something inside me was reassured after his comment, that that nice person whose art and personality I was attached to, and whom I saw in television interviews and whose soul I glimpsed behind his writings, is not just a false image in front of the cameras drawn with precision by PR professionals for him!

Of course, the restaurant worker doesn’t know anything about his next stop or hotel. I left the restaurant leaving behind every hope of finding him, except that I was not as miserable and frustrated as I expected of myself whenever I was excited about something and did not succeed in achieving it. It comforted me a little that I tried. And it comforted me more knowing that my favorite star was fulfilling what he asked for: an enjoyable personal visit in Egypt. I left with a part of me smiling because he chose my country to spend a quiet time in the company of his loved ones, and I became convinced that at least we share the same geographical area, and that he tasted food that I love and love, and I fully believe that food – especially in Egypt – is a language of love!


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Source : اخبار الاردن

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