Saturday, April 28, 2012

Colour Changes in Spring

It's the season for our bougainvilleia to be bursting in colours over the garden walls. But one of the interesting things is the way that the plant gradually can change colour. The picture on the bottom is from the same garden and the same vine as the white blossoms above, but they are gradually turning pink. I have no idea why or how.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hanging Out In The Trees

It's mulberry season in Egypt and everywhere you go (unless you are trapped in grey concrete urban hell) there are lush green trees with black or white mulberries hanging off every branch and children of all ages climbing the trees to pick them. In our garden we have a huge Omani white mulberry tree with fruit the length of a finger that tastes like pears. But there is no way in heaven that I can even begin to eat all the fruit so every couple of days the staff get together to shake the ripe fruit out of the tree.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Village Entrepreneurs

He isn't much older than his customers, and since it was Sham el Nessim weekend, I figure this was probably a temporary job to pick up some pocket money. The plastic bags are full of cotton candy and the seller announces his presence with the aid of a particularly raucous horn.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Antiquities Trash...AGAIN!

There is an area out in the desert behind the Step Pyramid where the Sakkara Antiquities people dump their dig debris. This is an interesting place to ride as there are bits of ancient mudbrick, old bones, bits of pottery and so on. However, lately they have also been dumping basic garbage out there and that is NOT ok. Every so often I post photos of this to try to bring it to the SCA's attention. This particular dump site is on an old road out into the desert and anyone doing a camel or donkey ride from the Step Pyramid would be riding right by it. Bad SCA!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Curiosity Almost Saddled The Dog

 We were painting the tack room as part of renovations here so all our saddles came outside for a while. Horse equipment has to be imported to Egypt for the most part as our local saddle makers still don't make decent saddles. Ours comes from the US, Italy, Germany, the UK, Argentina, Australia and South Africa, among other places. Mindy the Dane came out to look around and Kelly couldn't resist trying out the little donkey saddle on her. She wasn't impressed. It's one thing to let the baby pretend to ride for a second, but this was just too much.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Equestrian Photography

It isn't easy to take good photographs from horseback and taking great ones is a total fluke. I was out with a couple of friends this morning who decided to record the occasion. The contortions to get the right angle were entertaining, but the horses found the approaching cattle and donkey cart even more riveting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reprise With Fuzz

Many mornings while crossing the Nile on the Moneeb bridge we've seen the invisible basket bicyclers completely hidden by their load of baskets on the way to Maadi or Garden City. Today I was driving in and we were talking about just that image when what to our wondering eyes should appear... an over the top bicyclist carting in FUZZY baskets. Kelly Anderson got the shot while I tried not to run into the car in front of me.

Monday, April 9, 2012


There simply isn't anything better than this to chase the cobwebs out of your head. This is a very common daydream for a lot of people visiting Egypt. Two fast Arab horses and a lot of sand.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Exploring Water With a Friend

We were doing some watering today using a diesel pump attached to the well and a used firehose. I think "flooding" is really the right word. The resident infant was playing on the grass and one of my larger dogs walked in front of him and stood there looking noble for a couple of minutes after which I realised that the toddler I'd been watching was nowhere to be seen. I walked around the aviary to find him happily sitting in a flowing stream of well water while another one of the dogs supervised his explorations. This is a lucky kid. Not that many have this much  clean water to play in.

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Tombs

For years the people of the village of Sakkara have battled with the antiquities authorities to try to expand the burial area for the village. There is no space to bury people in the Nile Valley. It is filled with dwellings, cities and farmland. In addition, the water table in the valley is so high that digging a hole a meter or so deep will hit water...not the best situation for burial. I'll bet that this has always been the case and that is why for thousands of years Egyptians have buried their dead at the edge of the desert. Within a month of the end of the 18 days of revolution (or whatever it may turn out to have been) these tombs had been built in a wadi next to Sakkara village and the pyramid of Pepi II.  In past years the Antiquities Council has brought in bulldozers to get rid of the village tombs but with the government in disarray no one did that this year. In fairness to the villagers, my unprofessional bet is that their tombs are unlikely to be a major problem, as in the valley that they chose for the location, the yearly flood would have made any construction in the area difficult if not impossible. But the horses sure miss one of their favourite gallops across the wadi.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Soft Lighting

In the restaurant complex at Al Azhar park there is this lovely chandelier that gives off a soft light diffused by hundreds of fine brass chains.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Always Time To Talk

If there is one thing that Egyptians love to do, it is talking. Most of the social interaction in this country is conversation over tea, coffee, a domino game. In this case two friends stop to chat on their way home from the fields, despite the high winds and the stifling dust. It's never too unpleasant for a chat.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just Trim The Mustache, Please.

Camels at Giza have intricate designs cut into their coats. I don't know if it is just artistic and or if it's also a means of identification. But these designs are created with an enormous handmade pair of shears. Frightening.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

When The World Disappears

We had plans for a day long horseback ride this morning but as we were about to leave a huge sandstorm blew up. We went out anyway, but when the wind and sand didn't die down, we headed back home through the dust.

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