Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finals Tonight! Egypt Is On Hold

Egyptians are totally crazy about football, soccer, whatever you want to call it. I'm on my way to a neighbour's to watch the Egypt/Ghana match in Angola for the Africa Cup. I'm not a football fan ordinarily, but to see if they can pull off the third Africa Cup win in a row...tonight I am! Like everyone else here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Through The Gap

A child plays in an alleyway seen between two tombs in the City of the Dead. Families have been living in the tombs outside of Cairo for decades. I've often thought that despite the neighbours the circumstances were better for children than the crowded apartment buildings.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Waiting To Cross

He was standing in the street watching traffic intently. I have no idea where he's from or where he was going.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

City Goat

I often compare New York where my kids live to Cairo where I live. I think we are more interesting. Would you find a woman sitting with her goat in Manhattan?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The grey tone of the evening colours this shot of a woman laughing over at a neighbour as she finishes washing the dishes for the afternoon meal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kids Kidnapping Kids

We had five baby goats born not long ago. Now that they are old enough to bounce around like popcorn in the big goat/donkey/gamoosa pen they are irresistible to the middle school students who come to ride horses and donkeys here every Saturday morning. The four-footed kids don't seem to object to being cuddled and hugged by the two-footed kids.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A New Way of Walking

We were out riding when we noticed both a car and a horse coming towards us. It took a minute to realise that they were connected. Yet another interesting use of the automobile in Egypt...the horse was being led by a young man sitting on the back of the car.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Size 12's

Camel feet don't look like they belong on a mammal. To me they almost look birdlike or reptilian. Weird, huh?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tight Fit

Yet another street photo from Cairo...I never tire of the bizarre behaviour of Cairenes with regard to vehicles. In this case the young men obviously didn't find a seat inside and decided to ride on the stairs. You see this quite a lot. The wonder is that they don't get scraped off on passing cars.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Making The Do

Egypt has a big television and film industry and you can run into them in the oddest places. I went to look at a local hotel for a friend of mine and found that there was a birthday party taking place by the pool and a television series being filmed in the garden. This hairdresser was working away in a corner of the pool area with a gas powered curling iron.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Water Cooler

These oddly shaped jugs on a cart are known here as "ola" and are used to store water. A stand is made with a circular cut out at the bottom to fit the bottom of the pot and as the water soaks the pots it evaporates from the clay cooling the water. Any sediments go down to the pointed end of the pot. Usually an ola has a wooden lid and a cup attached to it so that passersby can take a drink.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Full Service

I suppose it's pretty obvious that I love cooking and eating, and I love the fruit and vegetable stands in Egypt. This one carries all the usual seasonal fruits and vegetables (you have to go to expat heavy areas like Maadi for broccoli) and also has a small stand at the end that sells hummous el sham, a cross between soup and a refreshing drink that is a light tomato broth with chickpeas.

On a quiet day the men who run the stands find it more comfortable to sit across the little road to watch their shop and chat about the events of the village and world.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Does This Gamoosa Make My Butt Look Big?

There's just something about the back end of a gamoosa that is so interesting.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Afternoon Alley

Nothing special happening, just people going about their lives in an ally in Nazlit Semman. Lovely light and the sense of peace that pervades these cubbyholes of existence.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Village Store

Many of the village women run small businesses out of their homes while the men work in the palm groves and fields. This woman and her daughter sell dried beans, rice and such in Sakkara village.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Still Life With Seeds

The Photography Elf has done it again with a lovely photo of one of our sunflower heads. Sunflowers are grown here for oil or for snacking, although we grow them for the parrots. The lines of seed radiating out from the center are mesmerising.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tree Trunks

Palm trees are fascinating to me. Almost every part of them is edible by either humans or animals, or they can be used to make all manner of useful items. The trunks of palm trees are not smooth or ridged like other trees but lumpy with knots formed by the fronds that have either fallen or been chopped off. Unusual texture.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

Football, aka soccer, is a national insanity in Egypt. There is hardly a boy here that doesn't play or hasn't played football. Today I was quietly reading in my garden enjoying an unseasonably warm afternoon when I heard shouts and laughter from the driveway at the farm. My grooms had finished feeding the horses and the gardeners were done transplanting lettuce plants to new spots in the kitchen garden. My driver/personal assistant (the Photography Elf) had joined them all in an impromptu football match.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Ride Home

A boy caught in silhouette catches a ride home from the fields atop a cutting of berseem clover. Camels are still used quite a lot for farm work in this area.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why I Use A Mobile Phone

A phone company worker struggles to make sense of the phone lines in the countryside.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Good Morning, Little Girl

Bunduq seems to be bestowing a greeting as we pass a village girl on her way to the water plant to fill a jerry can with purified water. Most of us out here depend on our wells, which are more reliable in delivering good water than the city taps are as long as they are deep enough, but the well water is very hard due to the calcium in the soil and often has a slightly sulphurish taste. So a number of the larger farms have built reverse osmosis water plants and made taps available to the farmers who collect the pure water for babies and drinking water.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Minding the Store

A brother and sister watch the family shop in the afternoon. To the right is the area where their mother makes and sells foul and taameya and fried eggplant sandwiches.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Looking For Water

It isn't as though there isn't water here..there's tons of it, but if you want drinking water you have to drill deep enough to avoid surface water that might have agricultural runoff in it. Naturally, they do it by hand, like almost everything else.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Curiosity's Face

The Photography Elf was whiling away his time while I ran into a shop when this face suddenly popped into his window. He was curious what Mohamed was doing and thought that it was pretty cool to be sitting around taking photos.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Waving Goodbye

At the beginning of the new year a farewell to the old one seemed appropriate. This is a salute from a dancing horse.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Nuts To You

Seems a good topic to begin the new year. I love the healthy snacks that Egyptians are so fond of. There are shops all over the city that sell nuts and dried fruits and this is one of the best, the nut shop in Maadi next to the post office on Road 9. Every so often I go and buy raw almonds, walnuts, peanuts, dried apricots and prunes.

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