Friday, September 30, 2005

The best medicine

Him: Mish muhim. Ana insan mish muhim fi 7ayatik.
Me: Leave me alone. Am dying.
Him: Ti'oomi ma tisa'aleesh 3alaya?
Me: I tell u am dying & am the one who has to asa'al?
Him: Maleesh da3wa ana 3ayez hai'i.
Me: Tayeb yassidi. Ana ghaltana. Ana zowja fashla.
Him: Fashar da inti sit elsitat.

That cracked me up.

Him: Aiwa kida id7aki ba'a. Didn't you hear about the best medicine?
Me: Laughter?Best medicine maybe but not miracle drug.
Him(massaging my arm & shoulder): So how is your arm now?
Me: Don't know. Still feels funny.
Him: You don't feel any pressure?
Me: Of course I do. But it still feels heavy like it's swollen or something. Like your lips feel after you've been to the dentist.
Him: Tingling?
Me: Last night the doctor made me do some exercises & it started to tingle, yes.
Him: And the migraine?
Me: Still can't live without drugs. Can I ask you something?
Him: Sure.
Me: Would you still want me if I am paralyzed?
Him: You mean totally paralyzed or just half of your right side?
Me: Half of my right side to start with.
Him: You see the problem is am not left-handed. If it was your left-side things might work out better.
Me(smiling): That doesn't answer my question.

Him (kissing my right shoulder): Hmmm?

Me: That's not an answer either.
Him(kissing my upper arm now): No it's a lot more fun.

Men. One-track mind.

Him: And to answer your question yes I would still want you. I will always want you.

Had to give him a hug there for being sweet.

Him: Ba3dain paralyzed eh ya magnoona inti. Manti zay el7usan aho. Howa inti btihdi wala btihmadi.You're going to be fine. We just have to take better care of you.
Me: Now you sound like Mama.
Him: Well she's right I shouldn't let you push yourself so hard.
Me: How do you think you can control me?
Him: I'll think of something. A man has to control his harem.
Me: Tayeb ya si elsayed.
Him: You always say you're tougher than you look. Guess you're not as tough as you think.
Me: Yeah rub it in.So you think she's right to blame you?
Him. Tab3an. You're my responsibility now.
Me: And if you get sick is it my responsibility?
Him: Inti shayfa eh?

Doesn't matter. Didn't feel like arguing. It's not laughter that is the best medicine. He is the best medicine. Just being in his arms is the best medicine. Maybe am not cured. But suddenly I feel a whole lot better. Wish he could have stayed.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Abnormal Nervous System Activity

That's what it said on my file at the hospital. Just reading that made me feel a lot of abnormal nervous system activity I can tell you.

The doctor was a cardiologist - the head of the department- which wasn't terribly reassuring either. He asked me a few questions if I still feel numbness & loss of sensation(yes), if my fingers also felt numb(no), if I had trouble moving or controlling the arm(no), if my family had a history of heart disease or diabetes(yes to both), if I smoke(yes). He told me that migraines do sometimes cause limb numbness but that it isn't usually continuous & it shouldn't last so long. I asked so what does this mean. He said it means we need tests to assess a few possibilites. Possibilities like what?Heart attack?Diabetes?What?

No, no, no he said. It's just routine. Then he sent me off for tests.

Have never had so many tests in my life.

1) Ultrasound of the neck: Mom said this one is normal so I am not a TIA risk. What is TIA Mother?A stroke. A stroke? A STROKE?She was worried about a stroke & she didn't tell me?

2) CT scan of head & spine.
3) X-ray of my right side.
4) 5 different blood tests.

Have to see the doctor tonight.

If all of these turn out ok there are still 2 more tests I have to take before am pronounced all clear. They're called electromyography(muscle response) & last a lumbar puncture(Cerebral spinal fluid test) which is supposed to hurt like crazy.

So it wasn't a stroke. But I might be paralyzed?Or diabetic?Or what?

What I hate about doctors here is that - unlike doctors in the States - they don't bother to explain anything to you. In the US if you're going to have a test they tell you what it's for, what they suspect. Here they just smile & tell you it's routine & we'll know when we get the results.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Woke up yesterday with the mother of all migraines. Was lying there for 2 hrs, eyes closed, not wanting to move. Even turning my head hurt. The right half of my head felt like someone was squeezing it with some metal implement while simultaneously shining a huge flashlight right into my right eye. But what scared me was the numbness in my right shoulder & right arm. Had migraines before but that was new.

Was aware on some level that if I don't get up, eat something & take some medication I wasn't going to feel any better but had no will to move. Or to even open my eyes.

My phone kept ringing. My office calling a couple of times. Then K. who stopped by my office to see me & was told I didn't come in yet. Then my friend M. who is a colleague. For some reason the constant ringing made me cry.

Finally summoned up enough energy to sit up & pick up my phone. Called the only person I really wanted to see then. My mother. Yeah I wanted my Mommy. So shoot me.

Of course I scared her to death. Must have sounded awful. Hung up & got up to unlock my door. I knew she'd be home soon. Then I went back to bed & fell asleep.

Was woken up to being examined by my Mom. Heard her sighing & lecturing about how she was wondering when this would happen given the way I never get any rest & didn't she tell me one million times etc.....My phone was ringing again & my Mom answered. Heard her talking to K. telling him that I was very sick & needed to stay in bed & be quiet for a couple of days. She didn't actually say he was to blame but you could hear it in her tone. Poor K. That must have been really uncomfortable.

She asked me if I called my office. I said no. So she dialled the number & made me tell them I'm sick & I'll be out for 3 days. Then she switched it off & put it in her pocket.

Made me smile a bit. My mom never confiscated my cellphone before.

So here I am - not allowed out of bed, not allowed any phonecalls. Was actually drugged & sleeping most of the time. Not allowed near my pc - except when my Mom isn't looking. She actually took the rest of yesterday off from work to babysit me & I know that's not a joke for her. Today she had to go to work but I still didn't get my cellphone back. She's convinced that if I talk to K or to my friends they'll make me go out.

My head feels a lot better today but I know that's only because am taking painkillers every 4 hrs. And am not so nauseous so I can take pills instead of injections.

K came back by last night to see me & my Mom didn't object although he says he has a feeling he's still in her bad books & I have a feeling he's probably right. Dad was nice to him though. M. & D. also came by & told me they'd been calling & speaking to my parents to ask how I am but they didn't dare to ask to speak to me. What can I say?My Mom can be really intimidating.

Even my sister is being nice to me. This morning she brought me breakfast in bed before she left for school.

Mom keeps calling on the fixed line to check on me. She's really worried I'll go out in the sun.

I think she's worried about the numbness in my right arm & shoulder too. We're going to get some tests done today.

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So I guess I'm Happy Then

"Happiness is the longing for repetition."

Milan Kundera

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Monday, September 26, 2005


Grooming appears to be a recurring theme in my life these days. This morning K let me cut his hair. Just have to say how honored I am by this confidence. Especially considering this is the guy who refuses to let me drive his car. Always thought that was really unfair considering I have no problem with him driving my car. Added to which it's a bit illogical to trust me with his heart but not his car. Which is more important - your heart or your car?Makes you wonder if he has his priorities straight now doesn't it?

Oh well. At least he trusts me with his hair. Am really impressed because I personally would never trust him to cut my hair. Priorities again. And the battle of the sexes.

So I cut his hair. Don't think I did it too badly but then he likes it so short there really isn't room for much creativity. Am kind of experienced though because I've been cutting my Dad's hair for years. Thinking of that this morning made me realize again just how much am going to miss my family when they go. Still isn't very real for me - not living at home anymore. Not even living in the same country with Mom & Dad.

We went out for breakfast afterwards. More like brunch actually. At Rotana Beach. Amazing buffet. So much variety it takes you ages just to decide what you want to eat. K hates that. He likes going to places where he has a couple of favorites on the menu which he'd just order & be done with it. Am the one who likes to experiment. So the compromise is that we do experimentation on Fridays every week. The rest of the week we go to our regular places.

The verdict?Great salads, soup & desserts. But I guess I wasn't so lucky with the main course stuff. K, quite predictably, hated everything. When I asked him how the food was he said the coffee was good. He's always like this when you first take him to a new place. Didn't bug me so much then because I didn't like any of the stuff on his plate either. But it is really annoying when you take him somewhere you know the food is wonderful & he keeps finding fault with it just because he doesn't feel like trying something new.

When we were done he went off for Friday prayers & I went home. Where Mom asked me to drive my sister & her friends to Dubai. Her friend's mother was supposed to take them but something came up & she couldn't make it. And my Mom works Friday evenings.Oh boy. A whole day spent with a a bunch of 15-year-olds.

Sent K sms to tell him I'll be away for the day. He called about an hour later & asked if I want him to come with me. Sweet but K with me babysitting a bunch of teenage girls shopping?Don't think so. Shopping is not where he shines.Besides poor thing. He'd be so miserable. Can't do that to him. He said come & see me when you get back so I said fine if I get back early enough.

Thankfully L(my sister) & her friends decided to cancel the trip. They decided it's better to wait for the shopping festival or something. Whatever. Was just glad to be off the hook for the day.

K is going to Sweden next month to take an exam so I know he's been wanting to start preparing. Have been taking him away from his research a lot. So I called & told him I was free for the day after all but he should hit the books for the rest of the day & we can meet at night for dinner. Which he said was fine.

Decided to use the time to catch up on some sleep first & spend sometime with my father later. Dad is usually on his own Friday evenings because Mom is at work. As a rule he'll go out & do grocery shopping & run some chores etc...So the plan was to tag along & keep him company.

The sleeping part didn't work out though. Some friends came over & I ended up going out with them to meet some other friends. Came back & went out with my Dad right away. Had a good time though. My Dad is really funny. It was 9:00pm when I got home.

And there was still my dinner date with K. Was so exhausted but wanted to see him. Called him. He was pretty tired too. We didn't feel like going out. So we decided that I'll go over & we'll order something & eat in. It's weird the way his neighbors would just drop in to ask him to look at someone's teeth. I mean what do they expect him to do at home?My Mom is a doctor too & we get so much of that.But I really thought dentists were different. Can't imagine a dentist making house visits with a bag. They have to see you at the clinic.

But it's nice that now I know all his neighbors - just like I know the people he works with. Many of them were at our katb ketab. It feels like am becoming more & more a part of his life. Feels good.

Was home about midnight. That also felt good. These days whenever I walk into our house I look around & love everything so much. Guess it's the feeling that am going to be saying goodbye to all of it soon. Feeling a lot more attached to home & my family these days. Told K today that I want to spend more time at home these next few months & he said fine maybe he can drop by more often. Which is what I meant of course. Wouldn't have enjoyed spending more time at home as much if it meant less time with him.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Being Propositioned By A Real Professional

Dear Candidate,

I am very happy to inform you that I have feelings for you since Tuesday, the 10th of May 2005. With reference to the meeting held between us on the 7th of May 2005 at 15h00 hours, I would like to present myself as a prospective lover.

Our love affair would be on probation for a period of three months and depending on compatability, would be made permanent.

Of course, upon completion of probation, there will be continuous
on-the-relationship training and relationship appraisal schemes leading up to promotion from lover to spouse.

The expenses incurred for coffee and entertainment would initially be shared equally between us. Later, based on your performance, I might take up a larger share of the expenses. However I am broad-minded enough, to be taken care of on your expense account.

I request you to kindly respond within 30 days of receiving this letter, failing which, this offer would be cancelled without further notice and I shall be considering someone else. I would be happy, if you could forward this letter to your sister, if you do not wish to take up this offer.

Thanking you in anticipation,
Mr Professional

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Men & Grooming Again

Yesterday I was reminded of this post by Charismatic Soul .

Had to go with K to his colleague's wedding. His boss actually. A really funny guy who apparently likes to get married a lot & have lots of weddings. But I digress.

Had to work late to catch up yesterday - because I wasted so much time blogging during the day & fell behind. Got home feeling really exhausted. It was about 6:00pm. Decided to sleep for one hour but didn't get up til 8:00pm. Was still feeling tired. K called to ask if I was ready yet. Told him yes just a few minutes more. That's one thing where am an unashamed barefaced liar. Saying am ready when I just came out of the shower & haven't even decided what to wear yet. Always do that.Saves so much grief. Why are men always on time?

Left home about 8:30pm. To K's place where he was waiting for me?Nope. To Paris Gallery - to get my hair blowdried. So that story finished about 9:30pm. Then on my way down from the hairdressers I walked into the showroom. Of course I had to check out all the latest in make-up, perfume, handbags(my biggest passion after watches). Bought a handbag.

On my way out of the showroom this time I was stopped by a saleslady who explained that they had a visiting expert from Make Up Forever giving free facials & makeovers. Would I waste a free facial & makeover ?Not me. So what if I already had make up on?

The visiting expert was male. A huge Frenchman with a ponytail & a very strong smell of cigarettes & men's perfume or aftershave. He looked more like a bodyguard than a make-up artist. It was a bit weird for me because have never had a man do my face. Had my hair done by male stylists but hair is different. Less personal.

Couldn't change my mind though because I already said yes & there were a few other women waiting for their turn after me & it seemed they were all going to be watching. Just didn't feel like making a scene.

It really was a strange experience. Very uncomfortable. When a woman is working on my face & neck & she compliments me on something it seems natural. But coming from a man it felt like he was flirting. And it was embarrassing having several people watching. Like getting caught kissing in public or something. Ridiculous I know. Was it me because it was a first for me?Was it him - not being very professional?I don't know.

The make-up was amazing though. But my final verdict is brilliant though they maybe at it, men shouldn't really work in make-up & facials for women. It's too weird.

In the car I emptied the contents of my handbag into my new handbag & finally headed to K's who was watching DVD's. So glad to see he knows better than to take me at my word when we set a time. Gave him the good news that I loved my make-up so much we have to stop at some studio to get a photo so I can try to copy it at home. He tried to convince me that he can take my pic with his own camera but no I wanted a professional one. He wouldn't know how to get a good shot of the eye-makeup. You can't trust a man with this sort of thing. Not unless he's French & has a ponytail & works for Make Up Forever.

So why did this remind me of Charismatic Soul's post?It was the pic she posted of a man being pampered by women. Some of us found it weird. For different reasons the reverse - being a woman pampered & groomed by a man - also felt weird.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Amel Tafsout

"Watching a performance by Amel Tafsout is a cathartic experience. Contrary to common stereotypes there are no mincing, shallow flirtations to be seen in her dance. She dances from the very core of herself. Sensuality is expressed as power and generosity. She has a direct stare, a presence that can come only from a true knowledge of herself and her art. She is a unique performer and there is no one else who dances like her."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Feeding off Each Other

Roora has been explaining the position of women in Islam here and here.

What I found interesting were the comments by a blogger calling himself/herself Flanstein. Not because of the usual touching concern about us poor Muslim women who are unable to leave our houses without a male escort etc....That gets a bit tedious after the first 100 times you come across it. And I do so dislike people who lack originality.

No what fascinates me is the way people like Flanstein - clearly extremists - seem to quote the same interpretation of Islam that Islamic extremists use. Basically the case this Flanstein presents & fondly believes is against Islam is the same case that you would find presented on Wahabi/Salafi & other Jihadi websites as true Islam.

Very interesting this symbiotic relationship between Islamic extremists & Islamophobic extremists. Without ideologies like Flanstein's, Islamic extremists would not be able to sell their Zionists-and-Crusaders-out-to-get-Islam conspiracy theories in the Muslim world. And without Islamic extremists & their propaganda people like Flanstein would not be able to sell their Islam-has-no-redeeming-qualities-and-Muslims-should-all-convert-or-die propaganda. Ultimately they are both essential to each other's survival. Literally feeding off each other.

But could this phenomenon actually have positive results?Maybe if 'our' fanatics & 'their' fanatics debate peacefully on the web this will cause them both to become more moderate?When presented with the mirror image of your own intolerance in reverse you might clash at first but eventually both sides would exhaust their fighting energy & begin to seek compromises or at least begin to accept that the other exists & isn't going anywhere.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tax Evasion

Got my passport back today. It's official. Am on husband or father's visa again. Husband/father's residence is really the most advantageous state for an expat woman in UAE. The alternative is to be sponsored by my employer but that sucks because it means I'll need a release & might have to leave the country & come back etc.. if I ever wish to change my job.

More to the point however if am on an employer's visa then I'll have to pay obscene amounts of money in taxes & fines & backfines to the various governments whose passports I happen to hold. If am on my father or my husband's visa they assume am unemployed.

Tax evasion is kind of unethical & not very patriotic but then have never been much of a patriot. Haven't thought much about this before because this is the way it is with most women here. Actually only realized all these complications when I wanted to transfer my visa from my father to my employer before my parents leave. Then everyone told me you need a husband. Which makes my 'technical' marriage itself an act of tax evasion doesn't it?

Funny way to look at it.

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I don't sleep

We have a whole lifetime for sleep but it's not this one.

Not sure where I heard that but am certainly living proof these days. Am so hyper. Can't seem to keep still long enough to sleep. And when I do get to sleep I can't manage more than a couple of hours.

I think what I will remember most about this period of my life is the adrenalin. Am on this incredible emotional rollercoaster. Extreme highs & lows. Excitement & fear. Two faces of the same coin?

Whatever it is I like it. Never experienced this living on the edge sensation before. I find it exhilarating. That could be why am not feeling the lack of sleep. At least not yet.

K hasn't been sleeping either but that's probably because am not letting anyone around me get any rest these days. And he tends to get most of the attention. Me & him can go for 48 hrs without sleep. Then he'll crash & I won't see him for a day. Which gives me the time to exhaust other people.

I don't do that. I make up my sleep in installments. I'll go out for 30 min or so sitting in my office or in the car with him or like today while having my hair done. If something keeps me sitting still I'll fall asleep. But not many things can or do.Am constantly sleep-deprived but most of the time I forget it.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

People I go shopping with should not...

1) Tell me to take it if I like it.
2) Not point out things they think I might like when I always point out things I think they might like.
3) Say haven't we already been here to every single shop in the mall.
4) Say how many pairs of black pants do you need.
5) Call me when am inside the fitting room to ask if am not done yet. When am done I'll come out. Don't have a fetish for being locked up in a 2 by 2 cubicle.
6) Complain that the mall is too crowded & there's no parking. The reason the mall is crowded is that everyone is there. The reason everyone is there is that it's the place to be.
7) Criticize my taste in books.
8) Criticize my taste in music.
9) Complain that am wasting time when I run into people I know & stop to chat. Wasting time how?Shopping never ends. We can always come back tomorrow.
10) Ask me why I wear high heels to go shopping if I complain that my feet hurt.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Growing Pains

Yet another name for my current life experiences. The term came from K. For a guy who insists he's not into psychoanalysis he can be amazingly insightful.

One of the underlying themes of this blog has been my fear of commitment. Are people who are afraid of commitment really afraid of growing up?Are we just spoilt?Is that it?

Strangely enough he didn't say that about my attitude to my personal life. It came up today while he was trying to explain to me the intricacies of internal Egyptian politics - on the background of the elections. He was trying to say among many other things, that while I have a lot of interest in politics generally & Middle Eastern politics especially, am too utopian, too preoccupied with ideals & theories, not interested enough in pragmatics.True enough in a way. Am very good at diagnosis. Can tell you everything that is wrong with our part of the world. But have never given much thought to practical solutions.

Possible explanations:

1) Am one of those people who are much better at cursing the dark than lighting a candle.

2) I know too much about all our social & political handicaps to feel real hope or interest in any suggested solution.

3) When trying to think of practical, applied solutions you have to compromise your ideals, to negotiate, to support people or positions that are distasteful to you because they might be better than all available alternatives. Don't want to do that. Don't want to get my hands dirty so to speak.

I think no.3 is most likely. Quite often when am criticizing politicians am secretly glad am not in their shoes. That I don't have to make any decisions. And that I have the luxury of stating opinions & not being responsible for any consequences.

In a sense people who back a a real solution expose themselves to being blamed later if it fails. Even if you just backed them in a friendly discussion with friends or family people will come back & tell you see?It didn't work.

And even that small commitment is too much for me. Have perfected this into an art. No one has anything on me. You can't pin me down. Am on both sides of every issue.

In everyway this pattern is reflected in my personal life too. That's the difference between me & him. It's not just a Libra Taurus difference. I depend on my family while his family depends on him. This is one reason why inspite of all my complaints about them am so shaken by the fact that my brothers are moving on with their lives.
The old support system that made it possible for me to go through life without ever being responsible for anything is coming to an end.

Even when I travelled abroad for my education which could have been a great opportunity to learn to be responsible & independent up to a point. How independent are you when your parents are paying all your bills?But still I could have learnt to at least my manage my day to day life on my own.

Didn't though. My bro was there. So it wasn't very different from my life here. Guess who took care of everything for me?

Essentially all I did there was study, enjoy myself & complain about his interference.

It IS growing pains that made me so scared of commitment even when I fell in love. The idea of marriage & being responsible for a family. Me.The eternal child.So my childhood is finally coming to an end. Will have to stand on my own two feet. I have to grow up. And instead of all this kicking and screaming I should try to do it gracefully. Am 29 years old. It's about time.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005


Today my bro A., his wife S. & their 3 children aged 6, 4 & 18 months left to begin a new life in New Zealand. Will miss them a lot.

It's a bittersweet time. On one hand am happy to have K. On the other hand it almost feels like my family is breaking up. We lived our whole lives away from our homeland(s), away from our extended families & so in a sense we only had each other. But look at us now. A couple of years back my oldest bro & his wife moved to France. Now A. & his family are off to New Zealand. In December my parents & my younger bro & sis are moving back to Morroco. I'll still be here. It's a daunting thought.

More than anything I'll miss my 2 nieces & nephew. My oldest bro has a daughter I've only seen a couple of times. She's adorable but it's not the same bond as A.'s kids who were brought up practically in our house. Distance weakens family ties which is sad. Wonder if the kids will remember us. They're so young.

Am a little worried about my mother. She hasn't stopped crying since yesterday. This is tough on my parents. When you have 5 children you don't expect to be alone in your old age. I mean they won't be alone. My younger siblings will be with them but still it can't be easy for them losing 3 of us.


Sunday, September 04, 2005


Got married today. At least technically. The actual wedding will take place in Jan. A New Year's wedding.

Shouldn't being married feel different?

Him:I don't know. I feel more possessive I guess.
Me: I feel possessive too.
Me: Don't you think we should feel something more profound?
Him: Like what?
Me: Don't know. A deep spiritual connection.
Him(laughing): I refuse to get into metaphysics tonight.

No but really. How come I don't feel any different?

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Hijab Again

Hijabed women continue to give the Big Pharoah a lot of grief it seems. Poor guy.

Check it out. It's actually quite interesting.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Disappearing Acts

This post is aimed primarily at blogger Gilgamish who has seen fit to disappear from the blogging scene without a word of explanation. Now I have an extreme allergic reaction to that kind of behavior. Don't like these now-you-see-me now-you-don't games. I get worried.

So Gilgamish please - a comment, an email, a smoke signal, anything to indicate that you're alive & well. Or you could just republish your blog so I can actually see it & then update it. Am not fussy.

And since we're on the subject, here's a list of bloggers who are strictly forbidden to disappear in a similar manner:

1) Haal
2) Kayla
3) Mohamed
4) Doshar
5) Roora
6) AlSharief
7) Zoss
8) Me
9) Around the Clock 24_7

People do you think I need more stress in my life?Do you enjoy giving me sleepless nights?Will it solve any of your problems in life?Do you have a special wish to contribute to a life of needless suffering followed by an untimely death of stress-related causes?Didn't think so. Ok am glad we cleared that up.


Thousands Feared Drowned in New Orleans

It seems this Hurricane Katrina disaster is turning out to be a lot more serious than I thought at first. Talk of a whole city drowned & thousands of casualties.

The footage begins to look like those unforgettable Tsunami images.

Bush is calling it "one of the worst natural disasters in our nation's history". It certainly looks pretty bad.

Prayers for all the innocent lives lost & hope that recovery will be swift.