Friday, April 30, 2010

A Bouquet of Carrots

It's almost the end of carrot season. We grow the sweetest carrots in the winter here, but summer is tough on them. Enterprising young men set up stands on the roads that lead out to the areas where people board their horses knowing that most horse people are utter suckers for these lovely treats.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

And Even Fuzzy Dice

Motorcycles are taking over Cairo. It makes some sense. They are cheap to buy and run and can weave in and out of cars that are standing still, as cars so often are here. We don't have that much wet weather either to cause a problem. So you see them everywhere and as is often the case they are decorated and modified to suit the driver. In this case the red object just in front of his face is a red plush dice. Now that would drive me nuts.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blooming Wonderful

The Sahara Desert literally means the "desert desert" and it's aptly named. I spent time in North American deserts when I was young and they are amazingly green compared to the Sahara. With cactus and desert plants, they are veritable gardens. But once in a while the Sahara blooms as well. In this case a heavy rainstorm about 48 hours before we went riding brought a small burst of daisy-like flowers and succulents in what ordinarily would be a sand dune.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Milling the grain

We were riding through Sakkara village and saw these two women seated on the ground facing each other milling grain with an old stone hand mill. I suspect that they were grinding sorghum and possibly fenugreek to make a very old type of local bread. It's extremely thin and crispy with a slight herbal taste...Egyptian crackers. I love it and it isn't something that you can buy anywhere. You have to get it from the village women.

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Guard

A cattle egret stands watch as a water buffalo snoozes in the morning shade. The buffalo are an essential part of the rural economy providing milk products for the families, manure for fertilising the fields, and disposable income from the sale of the extra milk. Besides that, they are very sweet and rather extraordinary looking animals.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Pyramid Photo

Not much needs to be said. Most people associate Egypt with three enormous pyramids standing in the desert. There are photos taken of them from the panoramic point which show the pyramids with desert in front of them. In reality, they stand on a plateau just above the extended city of Giza, not at all how they are pictured. However, this shot from the Ring Road near the Mansureya Road shows the pyramids of Giza at the edge of the farmland. It is a bit misleading since the palms are hiding a major apartment complex for the military and part of Nazlit Semman. Still, it is a wonderful view.

Friday, April 23, 2010

On The Boardwalk

There was a wedding in the village just down the road from me last night. The festivities generally take place out of doors just outside the home of the family, and in this case some ingenious soul decided to make more room for the partygoers by creating a platform that slightly overhung the canal. Of course the younger boys in the neighbourhood had to take over the platform and the resulting overhang in the afternoon for a good exploration.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I've probably ridden past this palm a million times and admired the curve over the canal. Today the light and the reflection were just right.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Staring Into Space

The bridge over the Metro tracks is usually bustling with people on their way somewhere from someplace, but the young man in the red shirt just stood for a while gazing south along the tracks.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Day laborers looking for work will often set themselves up at a busy spot on a sidewalk and display their tools to show what they do. This man was on Road 9 in Maadi. Somehow his profile and the colours of his clothing were perfect.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Green on Green: Grapes

The PE was photographing our Girl Scout visitors and got distracted in the back garden by the bunches of young grapes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Getting A Dog Fix

Most kids, rich and poor, live in apartments in Cairo. What most people don't realise that the usable land in Egypt is roughly the size of Holland with a population of 80 million. This weekend we hosted our annual Girl Scout campout at the farm. One of the biggest attractions was our seventeen dogs who think that 35 girls to 17 dogs is a great ratio. Things are actually better for the rural kids who, while they live in apartments, have open space in which to play.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Personal Space

One of the things that North Americans often comment on when they move here is that Egyptians have a much smaller circle for personal space than North Americans or Europeans do. But there is something very nice about seeing three friends huddled together on a bench for conversation like this.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Riding With Grandma

I guess it's sort of kids week. I was out riding today and we came up behind a tiny boy riding double on a donkey behind his grandmother. She was carrying water to men working in the fields.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Covering up

Drivers here sometimes cover their cars with cotton car covers to protect them from the sun and dust. In this case, this young man decided that not just the car should be covered and used it to hide himself as we passed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lunch at Ma'alim

Across a street from Rifai Mosque in old Cairo is a small koshary restaurant that is visited regularly by our family and friends. They serve koshary and baked macaroni...very, very good koshary. There are a few tables inside and a few tables outside. Much of their business is takeaway or delivery but we like to sit at one of the outside tables and watch the world over lunch.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Bridge

I love checking Mohamed's photos when he hands me his camera. I get the chance to see Egypt through someone else's eyes. This countryside woman waits on a bridge for someone.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What Did You Think Is Under An Abaya?

Okay, I don't think that Aunt Fatima dons one of these outfits to go shopping for her veggies, but the raciness of some of the lingerie in shop windows in Cairo is a pretty stark contrast to the veiled women who are often seen checking them out. Thanks again, P.E.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Tin Men

They've been upgrading the electrical system out here. About bloody time. Part of the work was to repaint the electrical poles and the Photography Elf shot the painting team outside our fence.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Next National Team

These determined young men are typical of boys this age here. If there is one thing that Egyptian males take seriously, it's football, aka, soccer. In any small patch of bare ground you will find a group of boys (or men sometimes) kicking a ball around, and they can create a good football pitch out of anyplace. Naturally, one is less likely to find a three-piece suit playing football but on a weekend once the vests and ties have been shed, even the suits are game.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Early Toot Harvest

For the uninitiated, "toot" is the local name for mulberries and the mulberries are beginning to ripen now. So when a couple of friends wanted to go riding this morning, I suggested that we go on a toot ride. This was their first toot ride, but I doubt the last. The horses like it too. They love the berries and the leaves are snatched out of the trees with delight.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coming Home From The Horse Fair

On our way home from a horse fair near Imbaba we passed an old man and probably his grandson with a cart pulled by a cow. Obviously their shopping had not gone so well.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Look! That's me!

There is a small grouping of farmers' houses near Sakkara and when I go by I often take photos of the women and the children there, which I then have printed up at a Kodak shop. This time I photographed the result of delivering an envelope of photos. I made sure to print extras so that if there were two people in the picture, there were two pictures. They seemed pretty happy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Do It Yourself

Sometimes you have to. The Photography Elf (left supervising) found that his aged VW had a major issue on it's left front wheel. Not being able to get it to the mechanic without some kind of fixing, he had his brother-in-law bring a spare part to enable the poor Roadrunner to limp into the mechanic. Not for nothing, Sherif works as my handyman. He is very handy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Neighbourhood Hardware Store

Oh, what I wouldn't give for a Home Depot!

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