Monday, May 31, 2010

Cairo Abstract

A random pink chair, wrought iron railing, red sign in Arabic and the reflections in the car window were caught by the Elf. I'm not even quite sure where.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Protection in The Mean Streets

Traffic in Cairo is unkind and this gentleman has taken a page from Don Quixote, venturing forth with a long squeegee to defend himself and his bicycle from encroaching automobiles. Actually, he probably just bought it and is taking it home, but I'd probably use it for protection.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cairo Sidewalks....

only exist in our dreams and a few other places. The easiest place to walk in Cairo is normally in the road, a fact that contributes greatly to our traffic chaos. And then when a Cairene travels abroad we have to either learn about or remember the concept of "jaywalking".

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Southern Food Comes To Giza

One of my grooms came to me with a bunch of fairly green tomatoes. He wanted to know what to do with them and I decided to make a batch of fried green tomatoes. I modified the recipe a bit adding garlic powder, turmeric and some cumin to the corn meal and dipped the tomato slices in a baladi egg beaten with rayeb. The reviews were mixed but I sure liked them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pots in Sand

Out in the desert west of Sakkara there is a hollow in some hills where hundreds of broken pots lie. I don't know if they have been left there by more modern people or if for some ancient people left them there. So I just leave them there.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Ladies Of The Chorus

My friend Pat Canfield was in the area of Khan el Khalili not long ago for a tour of some newly renovated Mameluke buildings and took this shot in passing. While the building behind the girls is quite old, they are anything but. Some lovely photos of the places she visited can be seen on my Living In Egypt blog.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Watching the Door

The Photography Elf was waiting for me to do something at a friend's place the other day and noticed this statue at a garden gate. Nice catch.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Canal Boat

A farmer and his son attend to fishing nets in a quiet canal. There are plenty of Nile perch in the canals. I'm not sure I'd want to eat them with the levels of runoff...but I haven't seen anyone die from them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anyone Seen The Tin Man?

Every now and then someone builds a scarecrow out of some old clothes that makes you stop and say "What was that?"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fat Tail Sheep

When I'm taking people out trail riding here in the Nile Valley, I usually have to answer a pretty funny question: "What's wrong with your sheep? What's that big thing hanging down behind?" The second question is often delivered in a tone of voice that indicates that the speaker isn't completely sure that they want to know. In fact, our sheep have these huge fat tails, quite ugly looking I think. But people here like them.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Another Pretty Face

Last week I pushed out into the hot afternoon to attend a reception at Al Badeia Stud near the pyramids of Giza in celebration of the publishing of a book of photographs by the stud owner, Dr. Nasr Marei. With some of the most gorgeous Arabian horses in the world there, it isn't surprising that Dr. Marei took up photography years ago. This is one of the photos in the book, The Arabian Horse of Egypt. You can find it on Amazon along with a caledar of his photography.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Shoe Shine

Egypt is hell on shoes. The sidewalks are irregular enough that only someone with a death wish would try to walk in high heels. The most rational choice for footwear is usually a comfortable pair of sneakers, but if you want to impress someone you really should wear good leather shoes. Surprisingly enough, given that our air produces enough dust to fill a shoebox in a week, people here are quite attentive to shiny shoes and you can find someone to give you a quick cleanup almost everywhere.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Eternal Peace

Technically, Muslims are not supposed to be buried in tombs. They are supposed to be washed, wrapped in cotton cloth and buried in an unmarked grave in the desert. Obviously, aside from the obvious fact that authorities would find it extremely aggravating to be digging up unidentified bodies in the desert, unmarked graves are pretty hard to handle for many people. Egyptians have a very long history with tombs, but they have scaled down some since the New Kingdom. This lovely blue garden is a family tomb next to the desert near Giza.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frenetic Chaos

It's hard to capture the energy level of Khan el Khalili in a photograph, but I think that this one comes close. An overabundance of textures, colours, scents, sounds, people all come crashing down on you almost from the moment you enter.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Can't Breathe That

It was over 40 C (about 105 F) today in the shade and there wasn't a breath of wind to blow the dust/smog/pollution out of the valley. Total misery. The Nile should have been visible just past the buildings.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cookies On The Corniche

Cairo isn't really known for its attention to order so these topiary ficus trees are somehow rather jarring. Someone decided that the Corniche needed some cookies, or maybe they are giant aspirin tablets?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Floating In Space

Fishermen on Lake Qarun in Fayoum seem to be suspended between the water and the sky.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Light Show

The stained glass behind the mashrabeya screen stains the stairs and the old wooden horses with colour.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One Of The Reasons I Live Here

I ride horses and I enjoy riding with my friends. This particular day the winds were blowing strongly from the northwest, giving us the kind of clarity that I hadn't seen in years. It was so clear that from the top of our hill we could even make out the mosque at the Citadel. Perfection.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Homeward At Sunset

We were out riding just before dusk, at the time when the farmers are bringing their animals homes from the fields. Ahead of us on the track was a boy on a donkey taking home his water buffalo and cow.

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