Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Feed Store

We hardly ever have any rain here, a bit of wind, no snow, lots of sun. This means that things like animal feeds don't have to be locked into vaults to protect them from the elements and the local feed store looks sort of like this. Inventories aren't huge, but they are usually adequate. This guy stocks corn, soymeal, soy beans, barley, beet pulp, wheat chaff, rice straw, and clover hay.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


On the left is the village veterinary pharmacy with stocks made of pipe to hold a donkey, horse, cow, or mule steady for treatment. It was closed in the heat of the Ramadan afternoon. Right next door is, somehow appropriately I suppose, a butcher shop. It is open for business with housewives coming in for pieces of meat for the preparation of iftar.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Prayer Beads

A man in Khan el Khalili strides past a shop selling prayer beads. Islamic prayer beads come in strings of 33 or 99 beads, for the 99 "names" or attributes of Allah. It is thought that prayer beads originated with the Hindus, were passed on to Buddhists, then to Muslims, and on to Christians who say that the Dominicans had the rosary revealed to them in the 1300's. Every religious group has a different number of beads and a slightly different pattern of usage, but the essential idea is the same, a way of reminding people of God during a busy day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


When you buy something from one of the traditional village stores, it's expected that you will try it out. Mohamed was buying a sprayer for our trees. (We have to use very mild treatments with all the animals around.) The shopkeeper insisted on filling it with water so he could check that the sprayer really sprayed.

Don't you wish Walmart did that?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Well, Of Course!

This house has been sitting there unfinished, unfurnished, and unlived in for at least fifteen years. I thought that it was an unfinished museum being built by the antiquities service, but in fact it was planned to be a rather unusual home.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hiding From The Sun

It's hot here, ridiculously hot. But sometimes you have to go out anyway. Then you hop from shadow to shadow, seeking whatever shade you can find. Even a small palm tree with its narrow spikey leaves can provide some relief.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Konefa Preparation

Konefa looks like shredded wheat when you see a tray of it prepared. It is threads of batter that are buttered and baked around something sweet like nuts or cream for a dessert or baked around something savoury like a prawn for an appetizer. But these threads are probably headed for the sweet batch as Ramadan housewives buy them up by the kilo to bake at home. The threads are cooked on a flat griddle on the round oven at the right as the konefa-man swirls a pot of batter with tiny holes punched in the bottom over the griddle. He wasn't working when we came by.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cairo Alley

This is one of the tiny alleys that meander off the main square in front of the Hussein mosque in Khan el Khalili. There are some shops down them, but also residences.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fast Milk

This is a milk man. I have no idea where he is taking his milk but from the jars it would appear that he is bringing it fresh from the farms.

Friday, August 20, 2010

UFO's in Khan el Khalili

The tops for the posts certainly look like spaceships up close, but they are based on the traditional designs on buildings in the area.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Magic Motorcycle

We were driving along a country road and spotted this man on a motorbike supporting many boxes of potato chips. When the motorbike started up and sped off we were astonished. How could he drive? Then we noticed the second pair of legs in front. Our motorcycle men are amazing, but not magic.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Driving School

People wonder how Egyptians learn to be such horrifying drivers. This is how...driving a donkey cart the wrong way against huge trucks.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ramadan Afternoon

A little girl walks home with a halter and rope while men sit on the wall of the empty coffee shop to chat. The fruit juice seller has washed his floors and is waiting for the pre-iftar rush of clients. Hot, slow afternoon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Short A Wheel

The nearest bicycle shop is probably about 12 km away, so it's going to be a while until Dad can get it fixed unless he does it himself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pampas Grass at the Desert Edge

Along most of the Nile Valley, the demarcation of the desert and the green is knife-edge sharp. Near the pyramids of Abu Sir there were a series of sun temples that included valley temples. The ruins of these have often made low points in the desert where moisture collects and plants can grow.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Doorman

The hotels work out strange and dramatic outfits for their staff. Nothing to do with reality, actually.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Surveying The Scene

A farmer waking up from a nap after lunch checks out his fields. At this time of year a nap in the afternoon is about the only option.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Heavy Duty Hose

We water our garden from the well and in order to do the vegetables and the horse corn, we went looking for a BIG hose. We found a used fire hose that delivers a stream of water about 4 inches in diameter. Everyone gets a bit wet, but a lot of water is what the plants need on these hot summer days.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One Truly Hopes So...

People in Cairo put the oddest stickers on their cars. If you get tired of predicting which pedestrian will step blindly in front of the truck to your right, reading the bumper and window stickers can keep you amused for hours.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mining For Worms

The hoopoes love my lawn right after we've watered it because the worms and grubs come up to the surface where they are easily caught. The birds are striking with their black and white bands on the wings and the crest.

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