Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bugs In Cairo


The huge ficus trees that line the Nile corniche in Cairo provide welcome shade in the summer to pedestrians, horse carriages and parked cars. There is nothing quite like coming back to your car to open the door and have the furnaces of hell blast out at you. It's common to have a car thermometer register 50 C after being parked in the sun. On the other hand, having so little rain and no snow means that cars don't rust here, so you see plenty of the older models on the roads. The old VW bugs are more common than the newer model that came out some years ago. As long as your idea of air conditioning is an open window, they are terrific cars and quite inexpensive. My son bought one for his girlfriend for about USD 5 thousand, and then they left it here for our driver to be able to get to work with me at the farm when they went back to the US for grad school. Sometimes we switch cars if he needs to do something that involves more space than the VW can provide and I get a great upper body workout driving the bug that has no power steering.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Balancing Act



Driving to a meeting in Garden City, I needed to cross the Kasr el Nil bridge. It was built during the time of the British here and is guarded by two enormous bronze lions on each end. On the Zamalek side of the bridge, traffic circles a tall pedestal upon which is one of the many tarboush-topped early twentieth century Egyptian nationalists...sorry to admit that I have no idea who. The powers-that-be have decided that the lions and the pedestal-topping gentleman need a touch up so workmen were assembling a scaffolding around the statue. If you look closely, you will see that they are simply straddling the already built scaffolding and passing panels up. Let's hear it for workplace safety!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Most Scenic Football Field Ever?


Egyptian boys of all ages adore football...or soccer as it's known in North America. They play in the streets, empty lots, proper fields, anywhere they can. The sorts of places that people gather in for a game fascinate me so I'm collecting a group of pictures of football games in odd places. This, however, must be one of the most scenic spots for a football pitch in the world. The day we came by there were three separate games going on the grassy parts of the lake at Dahshur. As we were taking one shot, a nice new Mercedes pulled up next to us and a fairly well-fed gentleman stepped out in a galabeya. He went to his trunk, opened it, and pulled out shorts, a football jersey and some very nice shoes, smiled at us and strolled over to one of the games.

By the way, thanks to everyone who has visited my blog and commented. I've finally gotten a decent web connection and can return the favours.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Out For A Drive


We were driving into Maadi the other day and came up on one of the pictures that I've always wanted to take...a camel truck. You see these things on the roads every so often moving camels somewhere. Some of them might be on their way to a slaughter house because camel is eaten as well as ridden. Others might be on their way to work somewhere far from the city. The funny thing is that they kneel down in the truck and seem to be enjoying the trip.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Arglish


The best thing about shopping at Carrefour is the guy who writes the signs for the specials and sometimes just the regular signs identifying products. In all fairness, if I were to try to write in Arabic, my spelling mistakes would probably be MUCH, much worse...but then I'm sensible and stick to a language that I actually do know how to speak and spell.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Got Bread?


Most people now know the Arabic pocket bread that is often called "pita". But this bread is so much more amazing when it is baked in a woodburning oven like the farmers' use. I had one built at the farm and we bake and then freeze about 30 kg of fresh bread to be used later by the staff.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Lit Up


I was out riding in the desert with some friends one rainy afternoon and on the way home we noticed that the setting sun was coming in under the clouds illuminating the pyramids at the edge of the valley, while behind the pyramids the rainclouds were a deep navy blue/black. Great contrast.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

He Ain't Heavy...Carrying again


As the mother of small children in Canada in the early 80's I got used to the idea that sometimes strollers and prams just didn't work, so visiting Egypt and having to find a way to schlep kids around Cairo didn't come as too great a shock. The sidewalks are much, much better now than they were when I first began visiting, but there are no wheel-friendly ramps most place that you go. I solved my problems way back when with a back pack with a little jump seat for my daughter when she got tired. But I've always had a sneaking admiration for the way that many of the women here just perch one of the offspring on a shoulder and mosey on down the road.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Weird Visions


Is it only in Cairo that you are driving along happily down a street, swerving wildly to avoid donkey carts and random children playing football in an intersection and then suddenly you encounter the face of Tweety Bird staring back at you from the headrest of the car in front of you??? The horror of it all....