Saturday, August 31, 2013

Market Smile

If you are sitting in a car in Egypt you may find yourself the object of children's curiosity. The easiest way to entertain them and yourself is to haul out your phone and take pictures. The children will be delighted and are dying to see their photo, and you get something like this little girl in Abu Sir. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sesame and Little Girls

They call out "Saa kam" "What time is it?" because, I believe, it's such a novel idea that someone wears a watch and knows all the time. So I tell them, knowing full well that it is utterly irrelevant information. The tepee shaped things behind them are stacks of this summer's sesame crop drying for a month before they harvest the seed. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sad Commentary

For the first time in Egypt I've seen a situation where a gas station had to take in the display if such valuable items as Kleenex and window cleaner.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Quick Look Is Plenty

I'm not entire sure what the guy owning the truck had in mind, but I'm pretty sure that misspelling "ingestion" wasn't it. Still, with all the aggravation of driving in Cairo traffic, it gave me the giggles and I was delighted to catch it.

Monday, August 5, 2013


This is a detail of a door at Rifaii mosque in old Cairo. The mosque was built during the late 1800's and early 1900's. It houses the tombs of the royal family of Egypt and also the tomb of the late Shah of Iran.  The door is made out of small pieces of wood and ivory that have been fitted together to form the pattern. If you touch it, you can feel each piece of wood or ivory move independently.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Light My Fire

I've barbecued a lot of ribs, hamburgers and chicken in my time, but I never stopped to think where the charcoal came from, other than from a nice bag at the grocery store. Out here in the farmland, however, there are small corners of land where the owners of trees that have to be trimmed can sell their wood to the charcoal burners. These people layer the wood carefully and then cover it all with wet straw. The wood and straw are then covered with a layer of dirt and old charcoal and the wood is set alight. It burns very slowly over a number of days and then the fire is put out. When everything is cool, the mounds are opened and the charcoal is taken out and put into bags, but usually old feed bags out here.  And that's how they do it.

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