“There’s oceans in between us, but that’s not very far.”
– Blurry, Puddle of Mudd
My participation in Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge themed ‘Focus‘ this time is truly a ‘challenge’. We are in Johor for the week and I left my hard disk with all my photo archives back in Seremban, so I had to make-do with what I could find among my Facebook photos for one that complements this theme as much as possible.
This week’s photo is another dimension of the ‘Eiffel Power’ theme I started with this post. My second eldest brother took this photo of my third brother and I on their last night in Paris back in February of 2011. By this time my eldest brother and mother had already left for Malaysia after a 45-day stay in Paris — the maximum allowed for Malaysian tourists in the Schengen area, I believe — so it was just the three of us until their flight back to Madrid then Cairo.
During the three days that we spent together, we shopped at Boulevard Haussmann and the Champs–Élysées, toured the Louvre a second time, raided les puces de Saint Ouen for cheap souvenirs, and finally, we bid adieu to this magnificent city by paying homage to its most famous monument, the Eiffel Tower itself.
We thought some photos of us at the tower would be appropriate to commemorate our last night together in Paris so I got my camera out. We were technically under-equipped without a DSLR or any of those fancy cameras however so my brother had to play around with the settings of my compact Lumix. Surprisingly, some of the results were… well, not bad, I must say. See for yourself:
Our photo shoot didn’t last for long however, because shortly after a drunk SDF (sans domicile fixe, the French term referring to homeless persons) came sauntering into the scene and attempted to provoke us by saying some obscenities which I did not care to understand nor remember. We decided to call it a night and took the Metro from École Militaire back to our hotel.
I thought this photo complemented the theme of ‘Focus’ well, but in a slightly unorthodox way for it appears that us, the subjects in this photo, are the ones that seem to fade into the background while the tower just lights up the entire photograph. However, from this angle, the base of the tower does sometimes appear as if it has shrunk in size and lost a bit of its spaciousness and volume.
Whenever I look at this photo I am reminded of the times that my brothers and I have been separated and reunited over the years. We are all hardly ever in one place at the same time, which is why Paris, where all five of us first reunited after a stormy two-year separation, holds a special place in all of us.
My brother in this photo is still studying in Cairo, Egypt. Since the outbreak of recent political uprisings in that country, all of us have obviously been worried about his safety, especially since his campus and apartment are both near Rab’a, where most of the political unrest in Cairo took place. Fortunately he was still able to maintain consistent contact with us through the phone and also through Facebook so we know he’s been keeping himself under the radar and out of the line of trouble.
This morning however we received a phone call from an unknown local phone number and heard his voice through the phone; alhamdulillah, he has apparently safely arrived in Malaysia at three in the morning today, thanks to the government’s plans to evacuate the thousands of Malaysian students studying in Egypt.
This is without a doubt a costly endeavor, especially considering the fact that this is not the first time the government has done so (back in January of 2011 Malaysian students had to be evacuated too, and I hear the government is still in debt with commercial airlines such as Malaysian Airlines that aided in this operation). But think of the lives you have saved and the countless families you have reunited — this, I assure you, is absolutely priceless, and we are forever grateful.
My brother is now in Seremban while we are in Johor. Till our true reunion in a few days, this photo will suffice.