Sunday, February 27, 2011

Busy Streets


Generally the sidewalks near the post office in Maadi have been kept quite clear of the entrepreneurs who make maneuvering streets in Cairo both interesting and sometimes aggravating. But recently with many, many fewer police on the streets, the vendors and others have been able to expand a bit. Here a shoe shine man works on one client while another waits his turn.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On The Phone in The Ferry


We were driving down the Mariouteya on the way to a man who sells those wonderful rag rugs. I like them for covering chairs and cushions. On our way I noticed a small iron ferry boat and made a mental note to try to get a photograph of it. On our way back I spotted it again and we stopped. Sometimes there is quite a way between bridges out here and these homemade ferry boats are important. The woman in the boat was chatting on her mobile phone.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Soon Appearing at a Midan Near You


We were driving into the city today to do some necessary errands and to see what was going on for the first time in a few weeks. The traffic was occasionally even worse than usual Cairo traffic. We found out later that there was a fire in the Ministry of the Interior downtown (rumours are that a records room burned...how convenient!) and a demonstration at the Ministry of Agriculture. Not sure what that one was about.

On our way into the city on the Moneeb Bridge we spotted a pickup truck with a wrought iron sculpture in the back. The young people holding it up were cheering and we weren't the only ones shooting pictures. A young man was sitting in the window of the passenger side of a car and following the truck. The sculpture was created by Mohamed Allam of Fagnoon and I'll have to keep my eye out for it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fruit Of The Winter


Friends of mine from outside of Egypt usually look at these things and simply wonder what on earth they are. The English name for them is Cape Gooseberry, although I don't believe that they are actually related to gooseberries at all. Locally they are called "harankash". They remind me of the tomatillo that is used to make chile verde in Mexico, sort of a small green tomato that has a similar covering. They have a sweet tart taste and are very refreshing. With the police still not really in evidence in the streets, the vendors have been busy.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Do You Suppose?


If you live in an area of Cairo where there are villas you might see this, but you will definitely see it. And what is it? Gardeners will tie a line to the upper branches of a bougainvilleia, tie a brick to the other end of the line and then toss it over a wall. Walking past the wall, you can see what appears to be a floating brick against the wall.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back To Business


It's been an exciting few weeks here and doesn't necessarily look like it's going to get boring any time soon. Egypt is sort of working...just as it has always sort of worked. The people are amazingly adaptive and resilient. The government shutting down the mobile phone lines was a serious problem for all of us here. If you look closely, you will notice the shepherd on his mobile and his son texting as he drives the flock. You know you shouldn't text and drive.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Do It Yourself Daily Photos

I think that right now there are a million incredible photos being posted on the net from Cairo. I urge people to take the time to see them, while I take a hopefully brief break in the peace and quiet (so far) of the farmland. Don't worry about me. I'm fine.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Upside of Civil Unrest?


It's been almost a week since banks have been closed and Egypt has been in the grip of civil unrest...to say the least. Despite the images of riots on television, there are moments of calm, like this quiet Wednesday morning in Maadi when the shopkeepers were sweeping up Road 9 and washing sidewalks and streets. We went into town to find a rumoured open ATM to try to get some cash, help a friend collect the key to her new apartment, and generally check things out. The neighbourhood watch groups have been incredible and have done a great job. And the upside? Finding a parking place at 10 am on a Wednesday on Road 9!