Sunday, August 30, 2009

Let's Have a Drink


Part of my recovery for my shredded shoulder is doing exercises in a neighbour's pool as often as possible. This is truly painful as you might imagine. So today as I was unlacing my sneakers I heard a little clop, clop and I looked up to see my neighbour's rather pregnant donkey, Mabrouka, having a nice drink of water from the pool. The water comes from our wells out here so it has minimal chlorination, probably less than most cities.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cruisin' Giza


This picturesque old man works the crowds at the Great Pyramid accepting "donations" from tourists who want a photograph of him. The pockets of his galabeya are full of trinkets to sell as well. Thank heaven for a decent telephoto lense.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Topiary


Various types of ficus trees thrive in Egypt growing lush and green. Things like those spindly Ficus benjamina that people fuss over in the north, shoot up to massive trees in a matter of months. Since they are evergreen they make great topiary, trees and shrubs carved into shapes. This tree has the word "Allah" carved into it in counterpoint to the mosque of Mohamed Ali at the Citadel.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Sailing


A flotilla of white bougainvilleia gather in the corner of a pool on a sunny August afternoon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Garden Intruders


I never thought of Egypt as a place where one would expect to find mushrooms growing. We now have a lot of mushroom farms and they are easy to find in the markets, but I've always associated mushrooms with moisture. Winter before last I had a lovely crop of horse mushrooms (a larger relative of the commercial mushroom...I grew up mushroom hunting) on my manure pile. This summer with the lawn being watered a lot we've had another variety of mushroom making an appearance. These, unfortunately, are Amanita, which while very pretty looking, can make you quite ill..or even dead...if you eat them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just Read The Tree


A tree trunck makes a convenient place to post notices outside of a Cilantro coffee shop on Road 9 in Maadi. Some people find it cool enough in the shade to enjoy a drink outside, while others (like me) slide into the air conditioning indoors.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

View From The End of The Highway


I was coming home from Maadi the other day and we took the last exit off the Ring Road for a change. I stopped to take this shot of the Pyramids of Giza. There is something amazing about having these massive rock piles practically in your backyard.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The What?


I recently went to Carrefour for grocery shopping and found that they are trying to organise the parking garage there. We had a mild case of hysterics over the English version of the sign telling drivers which way to turn. "Right Turn Only" "Left Turn Only"...either of those makes sense, but I'll bet that plenty of people cannot fathom what the "obligatory way" might be.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Boys Still Grow In Trees


Some friends of mine brought over their four year old who played in my garden while mom, dad, and older sister rode horses. The Omani mulberry tree proved to be irresistible, something that as a past tree-climber myself, I could totally understand.

Friday, August 14, 2009

They Are Coming Along


Mango season this year wasn't so great. We had a very warm winter that confused the trees causing them to bloom early and then had a chill that did in a lot of the young fruit. The dates are ripening now and date season will start around the end of Ramadan, I imagine. My trees are still young so taking a close up of ripening dates is easy. These are Zaghloul dates. They will ripen to a deep burgundy red and be crisp, sweet, tart, and crunchy...not at all what most people imagine dates to be. Leave them on a plate for a few days and they ferment, turning all the crunchiness to sugars and turning into the sticky brown treats that are more familiar to the world outside of the date growing regions.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cool Water


Water is important in a desert country and many merchants or homeowners install one of these water coolers so that people passing by can have a drink. The only problem is that it is city water and as such possibly contaminated from old water pipes.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gimps R Us


I will be posting rather sporadically for the next few weeks having undergone shoulder surgery and trying to live in a sling. Not working really well so far. I'll post whenever possible but I'm supposed to be doing nothing (including typing) according to the doctor. Haven't figured out what that is yet. This is my donkey George W. hauling my sorry self back from a fall in the desert that shredded my shoulder.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lunch Break


A loofah seller downs a dish of koshari on Road 9 in Maadi