Sunday, December 30, 2007

An Endless Task

Everywhere you go in Egypt at almost any time of the day, you will see someone sweeping. Cairo and Giza are in the Nile Valley, but the Nile Valley is in the middle of an enormous desert, so dust is everywhere. The amount of dust that might collect in my house in Canada in a week would be maybe a quarter of the amount of dust that collects in my house in Egypt in a day. Can you learn to love dust?

Now playing: Fathy Salama - Nahawand
via FoxyTunes

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ornaments from Egypt

We have very talented glass blowers in Egypt who make glassware out of recycled glass, perfume bottles and also lovely handblown glass Christmas ornaments. I saw these on display as I was walking down Road 9 in Maadi.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas picnic

Christmas Day in Cairo was sunny and fairly warm. A light jacket wasn't out of place but the sunshine felt great. One of my neighbours in this rather equestrian oriented neighbourhood decided that a ride to one of the hills in the desert near us and a picnic would be a fun way to spend a Christmas afternoon. We rode out to a point where my neighbour's jeep brought some rugs, lunch for us and a snack for the horses. Hope that your Christmas is as nice as mine.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Grey Ceiling

Maybe it's because we have so much sunshine here that makes our clouds so interesting to me. This heavy bank of clouds were bringing some rain to our dusty streets.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Where to Go On The Holiday

Not all the visitors to the Giza pyramids are foreigners. During the Great Feast (Eid el Adha) Egyptians have about 4 days of holidays and some of them decided to visit the pyramids on Friday. The guards seemed to have been concerned about crowds and were restricting the number of visitors on the plateau, so we had a lovely time visiting on horseback. Ordinarily, there would have been about eight to ten times the number.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Cairo Christmas Tree

I had to go to a big shopping mall because Carrefour has much better prices on milk than other stores and my 6 week old filly who has to be bottle fed is going through about fifteen litres of milk a day. Instant bankruptcy! On the way out, we spotted this Christmas tree made up of pointsettia plants. Merry Christmas all.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Beginning To Look A Lot Like....

Christmas trees in Egypt are usually cypress or juniper rather than the pines of North America and Europe. Somehow it isn't quite the same.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

After School

Like boys almost anywhere in the world, this group is wheel-mad. A Saturday afternoon is best spent with friends and bicycles. I watched the tentative attempts at "no hands" while waiting for a friend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sweet Potato Seller

As the weather cools the sweet potato vendors come out with their carts of sweet potatoes and an oven in which they bake them. The cooked potatoes are sold with a small twist of a mix of salt, pepper and herbs. Great snacks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another Brilliant Sunset

The one good payoff from pollution.....

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Our Disappearing Valley

Everyone overestimates the actual size of Egypt. On the map it's pretty big, but in reality, it is tiny. Most of the country is desert, empty and barren. There may be water out there but it isn't readily available. There isn't any electricity or service or even roads outside of the oases, so people build in the Nile Valley, which is narrow enough that you can see across it anywhere south of Cairo. Someday it will be gone.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Man At A Street Light

Cairo's roads are full of entertaining individuals, particularly at the stop lights. In Alexandria, there was a woman who always carried a baby. The baby never seemed to get any older and there never was a new one, exactly. Some people would feel very sorry for her and be quite generous....others wondered how she managed to keep her child that exact age for so long. And then there was a man at another corner (there's a certain territoriality to traffic light denizens) who spent his days talking to the sky and washing people's cars. One day he cleaned my front window so I gave him half a pound. He walked around the car and gave it to my daughter. You never really know what the story is.

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