Sunday, October 31, 2010

Automatic Vegetable Washer


As we rode past a hand pump, I noticed that the spout was blocked with radishes. Odd. As a young man approached he put another radish with the first two and pumped fresh water over them to wash them. Healthy snack.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Street Crossing School


Anyone who has ever tried to cross the road in Cairo will have enormous respect for the survivors of the attempt. So how do they learn to do that? Obviously, they start very young.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall Plowing

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In North America, the growing season is in the spring and summer. Here the best growing season for many things is in the winter because the intense heat is too much for many crops. So in the fall we have a lot of field preparation. These men are preparing a field for planting berseem clover and breaking up the dirt clods by standing on a palm log that the tractor is pulling. Sort of like mud skiing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Working Against The Heat


A sweet potato vendor in the city, while offering healthy fast food, finds not too much interest in his hot treats. You can see the sweat on the tshirt of the man striding past without a look. He'll have better sales after dark when it cools off.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yet Another Use For Duct Tape

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The Donkey Sanctuary isn't a place; it's an idea. The parent organisation is in the UK but in Egypt it consists of a group of trucks fitted with drawers for medications and tools, a farrier, a vet, a harness maker and a driver. They go out in to the villages where donkeys are the main form of transport or they go to the brick kilns where they haul the bricks around. At each visit they check working donkeys for signs of worms, sharp teeth, wounds from bad harnesses or hoof abscesses...among many, many, many other things. The donkeys are treated on the spot and the owners are coached on how to care for their furry partners. Farmers and brick kiln workers simply can't do without their donkeys. In this case they were driving along on their way to a regular clinic visit when the driver noticed a limping donkey. They stopped, examined the animal and found an abscess in the hoof. This was excavated a bit so that it could drain and a mix of sugar and betadine were packed into the clean hoof, covered with cotton to pad it, and then secured with shiny silver duct tape. All for free.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Souq After The Feast


A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo of the Maadi souq on the last day of the feast. We needed a few vegetables, but mostly we wanted to get out and wander around, so it was off to the market....which we found almost totally empty. This is much more normal.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In-Road Market


A couple of young men were selling fish, shrimps and crabs in baskets of ice one furnace-like day in Giza last week. I guess this takes a drive-through to a new level.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bedouin Carpet with Kitten


An ethnic craft shop had spread some of its Bedouin carpets on the sidewalk in the sun and a wandering kitten decided to take advantage of a nice spot for a nap. The carpets are woven on narrow looms and then sewn together to make a larger carpet. The Bedouins generally use a mix of wools: goat, sheep, and camel.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Woman Waiting


We were out for a morning ride in the countryside and on our way back we found her sitting in the shade watching over a pump that was helping to distribute the irrigation water. I asked if I could take her picture and she nodded yes. I wasn't surprised at her agreement as she's one of my neighbours and they've all gotten used to me photographing all sorts of thing. The women here are so beautiful in their simplicity.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Fairy Tree


I have one of these trees in my garden here because they are simply magical looking. Although they are often called acacias, they actually are Albizia julibrissin, commonly called a Persian Silk Tree. They aren't terribly large trees and here are dwarfed by the enormous mangoes behind them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Just A Trim


Palm trees need a lot of maintenance. The extra fronds must be trimmed about 3 times a year. The brown fiber must be removed, and the trees must be inspected and treated for the palm weevils that have invaded from the east.

Friday, October 8, 2010

When Was The Last Time You Saw One Of These?


When I was a kid my father kept all his scraps of lumber in a huge box and we had access to hammers and nails. We built all sorts of things from battleships to float in a wading pool to forts and vehicles. One of the things that I truly appreciate living in the villages is the fact that kids here still build their toys most of the time. A swing may be constructed from a rope and a chunk of plywood tied to a tree. All sorts of wagons and carts abound. Great for the imagination.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Makwagi


This man has saved more marriages than any psychiatrist, counselor, or religious advisor. You can take any or all of your clothes to him to be ironed for almost nothing. I know a lot of little boys who thought that being a makwagi was the perfect job because you got to see what was going on all day. They usually outgrow the idea.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Band On The Run


Another uniquely Egyptian traffic photo. While crawling along in some heavy traffic the other night we saw this band casually sitting on top of their equipment in a pickup truck. That's one way of keeping an eye on things being transported.