His name is Mustafa and he’s turning 30 soon, well I didn’t wonder how old is he neither when I was checking-in three days ago at this not-so-bad hostel that in order to spot you have to ask foreigners not locals as it’s in the backpackers street of Penang ….. a lovely city where the buildings could tell how magnificent was it for Chinese old people to build a Fangzi here but the history narrates how proudly Sir Francis Light walked down this ground. Chulia street -Penang- Malaysia- Planet Earth- 3rd to the sun in the Solar System- The milky way. Mustafa who didn’t know what’s the milky way – without an education and with his English that he practise everyday with both his guests and colleagues – would think that in a city in Europe where the wonders happen there’s a way that is milky. He was there standing as an owl hunting fat rats …. us the backpackers 🙂 he was the host – he said it with pride but he lied.
Me – Hello ! tired of being stuck like a sardine in this Van for nearly 4 hours.
Mustafa – Hello ! Welcome ! Passport or identity card please
Me – I’m not a rapist but yeah here is it.
Mustafa – One dorm one night 25 ( Malaysian) Ring-ing-gits
Not the guy to haggle with over the price, I paid and got my locker’s key and went upstairs
Mustafa – Have dorm, have a fan, toilet, hot water, A-C no ! ( it was as fast as Eminem singing the last verse of Mockingbird )
Me – Vego Vego Vego Vego.
I got the keys and thanked him Malaysia is hot and the only reason I know is that this part of Asia is hot and humid and because you can’t wander topless because you simply can’t. I didn’t take a shower I just went on a bike tour. A pedal bike that won’t cost more than 3$ a day.
I did almost all the touristic attractions. I fell in love with the city and all I wanted was to go back to the hostel and write about what I’ve found.
At the entrance were Mustafa and his fellows an Indian young boy and a Malay man around the big table and a white lady boy talking to a Chileno and a Chilena young lady. Took the shower, I dressed in my Lungi and went back and went out to write. As there were 6 chairs and 6 people + me. The Malay guy gave me his and said he’s going to shop from the grocery.
Mustafa: Penang good ?
Me: It is
I thought of Sir Francis Light and his cruises. I thought of mom, the old man whom I met at the restaurant and haggled with over the price of the hippie outfit. I felt guilty doing so because couple of months ago I was tipping in fancy restaurants. The pen broke so I turned back to him.
Me: Tell me about the war. Mustafa is your name right ?
Mustafa: The war is hard. You people travel.. you think it’s hard life. No try the war !!
Me: So true !
Mustafa: My father, mother, brother died in the war in Afghanistan. I’m from Ghazni … Hein … dangerous city .. be careful !
Me: I’m sorry
Mustafa: Oh it’s okay ! You are Arab …. right??
Me: No.. I’m a Berber .. Be careful
Mustafa: Sorry, I don’t like Arabs.
Me: You’re a good man Mustafa but why don’t you ?
Mustafa: I am refugee Ok?
Mustafa: I came here to work and live peace but in this job you don’t want to have Arabs.
Me: I heard they tip well….. They spend too much money
Mustafa: Ah the money. They steal money. Ask me I know … Algeria, Morocco, Libya No, Egypsha Oh My God !!!
Me: I lived in some of these places Mustafa and I know there are both the good and bad people.
Mustafa: You are Muslim right?
Me: Yes Alhamdoulillah
Mustafa: Sex is haram right ? ( smiling )
Me: Hmmmmm Depends ( smiling )
Mustafa: Theft is haram too. Why Arabs steal ?
For a moment I thought of explaining to him that Arabs can be Christians, jews and irreligious but I assumed such a talk would ruin the night. So I nodded.
His Indian friend: Remember the Egyptian who stole the laptop. His name ?
Mustafa: Hahahaha yes the Egypshen !
Me: hahahaha Egyptian ( being dumb )
Me: Mustafa, what if your wife asks you to go live in Ghazni. Will you go for it ?
Mustafa:Wife don’t know maaaaAaaaan ! ( His friend laughed ) My wife don’t ask questions. My wife answer……… Be careful !
Me: I’m seriously trying to be careful actually.
Mustafa: now girls are stupid… facebook, telephone love love love and in life.. real life no love.
Me: This is the sound of wisdom !!
Mustafa: Hein ?
Me: What’s your dream….. Mustafa ?
Mustafa turned back to his friend who was inches behind him and said something in a language they both know but I don’t. Something that I translated into: This is a silly boy and I deemed the post-comment grin an indecent suspicion.
Mustafa: Good house, Good country, Good job, Children. ( He lowered his voice as he noticed the guys at the other table stared.
Me: Hmmmmm you’re not demanding. Find one of the foreigners who come over and marry her.
Mustafa: hahahahaha hostel maaAaan ( Whispering ) budget people here and when they know I’m Afghani, they freak out.
Me: Afghanistan is a good country. You guys have Cannabis and nature.I would marry an Afghan woman if you find me one……. well I’m a Berber you know ….. Be careful !!
Mustafa: Afghani women good, they pray, they fast. Afghan woman you are lucky !
Me: I just want to be happy. The passport doesn’t matter.
Mustafa: The problems Afghani women don’t have dreams. I want a woman with dreams and professional.
Mustafa: Travellers know life. Afghani women for example no.
Me: Yes….. true ! (serious )
Mustafa: Ok ! I have to go… night shift is long.
Me: So no dreams for you tonight
Mustafa: Peace and Love
I thought what answer was that. but as I remember the way he smiled when he said it. I thought of all the neo-hippies who use these words to use people.
Mustafa is still there….. He added me on Facebook and sent me a message in which he wrote on Sunday 7:07pm:
Instead of writing back I thought of writing about him…… The poor 😦