Saturday, February 28, 2009

Taking Shelter


Some boys hide from the winter wind between their camels at the pyramids of Giza.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hookahs for all


Waterpipes, hookahs, shishas...all of them names for the smoking implements that "filter" the smoke through the water and are so popular in Egyptian coffee shops. Not being a smoker, I can't verify that they cool the smoke, but being an ex-health teacher, I can verify that the smoke definitely isn't cleaned in any way. Nevertheless, the glass bottles and metal tops make a lovely pattern.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Place of Blood and Tears

The mosque of Hussein is beautiful and peaceful most of the time. It faces a large square filled with sunlight and visitors marveling at the surroundings. Cafes line the square along the base of the Hussein Hotel and are usually filled with people from every part of the world enjoying a glass of tea or lunch. Yesterday evening someone dropped an explosive from a balcony overlooking one of these cafes and killed one French girl while injuring other visitors, French, Egyptian, and Saudi. The bustling peace of the square was shattered. I have visitors to Egypt staying with me and we will go to Hussein. We will visit the Khan. I refuse to allow horrible, misguided people to ruin this country.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Waiting With His Buddy

One of the tourist police and his camel wait patiently at the edge of the parking lot near the Great Pyramid. The parking lot overlooks the Mena House Hotel and golf course.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Real Palms Mirrored



On a drive to the lakebed at Dahshur we stopped by an irrigation canal to admire a scene of sunset, pyramids, desert, and water.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mirroring a Palm


The Wissa Wassef Museum in Harania is built in domes, smooth soft lines and arches, based on traditional architecture. from the arches leading into the museum the pillar supporting a larger room almost looks like a palm tree.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pyramid Maintenance


You can find wonderful random moments all over Egypt. The other day I found this one at the Step Pyramid in Sakkara where workers were apparently doing some maintenance to the site. One group of men were cutting stone into blocks while another young man was painting blocks that had been placed against the wall of the pyramid with some colour that made them look old like the others.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Critique


A batik painter at the Wissa Wassef center discusses his plans for a large cloth as some visitors watch.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ali Baba's Cave


Wandering in to a dark copper shop in the Khan can be an adventure in itself.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Shave And A Haircut


Most of the farmers in my area rely on a traveling barber who comes around and shaves the men in the shade of a tree, while both men are sitting on the ground. There's a good deal of trust involved because the barber uses an old fashioned straight razor and the shave that he gives is amazingly close and clean. Most men shave about once a week. While visiting Khan el Khalili the other day, I spotted one of the men in an open area on the upper level of an old caravanseri having a shave with a traveling barber. Nice weather, friends wandering by, sunshine...what could be better?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

All Lit Up

The coffee shop on the garden level of the Marriott Hotel in Zamalek is an extraordinary sight. The palace that forms the administrative center of the hotel was built for the opening of the Suez Canal and shows some of the most amazing word and brass work in Cairo.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sitting Down


Watching some of the more modern, upscale women moving around Cairo I feel more attuned to the poorer ones. Rather than balancing along the dubious sidewalks in high heels, they simply set themselves down on a friendly curb and have a chat.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What REALLY Runs Egypt


Yes, it's a teapot. Tea is the glue of every meeting and is the source of many greetings. "Come have a cup of tea!" is a call that I hear at least half a dozen times in the course of my rides around the countryside here. If I drank all the tea I was offered, I'd never get anything done. People joke about the English and tea, but the Egyptians have them beat hands down.