Thursday, March 29, 2012

Labour of Love

A group of dedicated Kiwis are here enjoying the sunshine of Egypt and working their animal-loving butts off in Nazlit Semman, the area near the pyramids of Giza. This is a crowded working class area where many homes have included boxes for horses (usually small, dark, crowded and not terribly clean) that are used for tourists in the area. The owners have little or no education, so it isn't surprising that the horses are often not in the best shape. These two farriers were working on horses with laminitic issues. Just after I shot this, the black on the left skittered backwards and the farrier on the right had to leap aside to get out of the way. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Tie That Binds

We are having plastering done on the house and this is the scaffolding that the plasterers are working on. Holes are knocked into the wall (they will be filled in with brick and mortar later), holes are dug in the ground and then the poles that fit into the holes are tied together with palm fiber rope. Yep. Tied. With handmade rope. And they move the planks around to give themselves a place to stand while plastering. Workmen's compensation or industrial safety would be having fits.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Supervising the Workman

Time for a cute overload.  Nadim, my housekeeper's son, has learned how to crawl and is working on walking, which has its hazards in a house with stone floors, so we dump him in the garden at every opportunity to take his tumbles on sand and soft grass. Yesterday he discovered a shovel left behind by the men who are plastering the upper floors of the house and was determined to pick it up, much like he does with a broom in the house. Needless to say, more work is needed. I'm sure he will be much less eager to wield a shovel when he gets older. One of the Danes and our Pit cross decided to lie on the sandpile to supervise...and, in the case of the Pit, to apply frequent licks to clean sand off his face.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Egyptian UFOs

Visitors often find the open air butcher shops a bit surprising. Walking down the street in Toronto, one isn't that likely to literally bump into animal parts. You get used to it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Old and The New

Oddly enough, you can see the pyramids of Giza from a lot of different angles.  People expect to see them in company of sand dunes and camels, but as you drive into Cairo from Alexandria, they come into view in a landscape of traffic lights and mobile phone towers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Handmade Tools

 Most of our farm tools are handmade by the blacksmith down the road. Handles are bought separately and often don't quite fit. In this case we needed to remove the stump of a dead palm and the axe handle was loose and had to be secured with iron shims. Stump was removed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Life in Cairo these days goes on in many normal ways but at the same time seems sort of out of balance, much like the lines in this photo.  Two young men chat beside an empty refreshment stand along the Nile overlooking the Cairo Tower. I'm not sure what the poles attached by a line are...perhaps part of a stand by the river just beyond the railing, perhaps part of a boat.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Suitably Heroic Pose

There was a horrible duststorm blowing across the Nile from the west and traffic was pretty much at a standstill. The erection of huge concrete block walls on some of the main downtown streets has really put a nail into Cairo traffic's coffin. A group of young men were laughing and horsing around as we were stopped in traffic and one got up on the railing by the river for the appropriate male Egyptian portrait in a mobile phone.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Strange Dry Spiky Thing

While visiting Adam Henein's garden, I noticed a string of objects hanging from a tree in the sun. It's a long time since I've seen dried okra, which the Nubians and Sudanese use to make a dish known as wayka. Wayka is a stew of ground beef, tomatoes and the ground dried okra. It has a rather interesting texture and is often eaten scooped up in bread. Delicious.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Finishing The Job

Homework is universal. These boys are doing theirs in the garden of sculptor Adam Henein. I can't think of anywhere more comfortable.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Palm and Pyramids

A dirt road into the distance, the pyramids of Abu Sir on the horizon just past the green fields, and a lone date palm standing sentry by a canal. Egypt's countryside.

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