Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Easy Rider

The streets of Cairo never fail to surprise me. Here, the term "chopper" takes on a new flavour.

Hope that everyone has a marvelous New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Big Brother Is Watching

I was out riding with some friends one afternoon and the brisk winds had blown away every shred of Cairo's pollution. Clear days like these used to be the norm here in winter but thanks to the diesel engine, no more. We rode by a modern village graveyard with its little domes and when we looked back could see quite clearly the Great Pyramid at Giza overshadowing them. You may need to click on the picture to enlarge it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Winter Shoes

It's too cold for sandals now and the shoe stores are displaying more seasonal shoes. Rather than simply displaying them in the window, this imaginative shopkeeper has hung them all over the front of his shop with bright lights for evening shoppers to take their pick.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Step Into My Office

One of the endearing traits of Cairenes is their ability to make themselves comfortable almost anywhere. A corner, a sunny spot in an alley, a shady spot under a tree.....any of these places can be converted into a workspace with a table, chair and maybe a water pipe.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Air Up There

Living around Cairo, one spends a lot of time in the car. I'm constantly amazed at the odd things that I see simply crossing the Nile on the Moneeb Bridge. On this lovely clear crisp day a group of men sat, stood, and worked on top of an immense advertisement for Vodafone. I'm not entirely sure what they were doing there, but I was glad that it was them and not me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Tree of Every Season

The Muffler Tree of Cairo is a tree for every season, displaying new mufflers for needy car owners to check out. So much more interesting than a shop window.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Walker

Like someone from an enigmatic movie, an elderly man in a galabeya walks across the desert sand. Probably a rather routine explanation for his travels is that he is working as a watchman at the antiquities site on the hill behind and to his left, where the archaeologists have identified the ruins as being the tomb of a pharoanic queen.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sandy Picnic

Three village girls share snacks on a sunny hillside near the Step Pyramid. The edge of the desert is a favourite play area for the children.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reflections On A Winter Day

Cairenes often think of the canals of the countryside with disdain. They are, indeed, the repositories of much debris, although most of it is vegetation that will decompose and simply make the canal water liquid fertiliser to help produce our marvelous vegetables. With prices soaring, farmers are even more reliant on the natural sources of fertilisers. I think of the canals as the Nile Valley's circulatory system on a mechanical end and as the windows of its soul on a day such as this.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stairs in a Courtyard

In traditional architecture handrails (if they are found) are put against the wall leaving the outside of a staircase open to the air and everything else. While this would probably put the insurance companies in the US right over the edge, visually it is very pleasing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Truly Air Cooled

Cars in Cairo are an endless source of entertainment if you can avoid being totally terrified by the traffic. This ancient VW bus runs around Giza with it's engine open to the air, apparently to improve the cooling.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Autumn Canal

There is something about water that I can't resist. The canals in the Nile Valley are, in my opinion, totally under-appreciated. True, they end up with entirely too much plastic and trash in them, but perhaps if people had a better appreciation for their possible beauty they would care more for them. As it is, they are the circulatory system of Egypt, for better or worse.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The New Face

Not everything is old in Cairo. The Orascom buildings on the Corniche in northern Cairo gleam in the afternoon sun.

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