Sunday, December 29, 2013

Turnip seller Abu Sir

 In the fall when they plant the berseem for the winter the villagers plant turnips as well. Sometimes they are planted in with the berseem crop and harvested with the second or third cutting of the berseem. Other times they plant them along the borders of the beds and harvested as needed. Turnips in Egypt are generally eaten raw like the radishes that are closely related. I like to cook the greens but this isn't a common dish. Generally they are cut and pickled in a simple brine solution and eaten as an accompaniment to almost anything.  She was enjoying  the winter sun in Abu Sir and snacking on some of her wares.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Things To Keep Us Safe

Almost every car in Egypt has something hanging from its rear view mirror.  In my case, it's quite a few somethings. The bottom object is a beaded triangle made by the Bedouin women of St. Katherine's which is filled with sand from the desert around the monastery, which is supposed to protect vehicles and travelers. The blue disk at the top is a Turkish evil eye charm which is a circle of blue glass with a white glass center.  And finally hanging from a bracelet of blue glass beads in the Turkish style is the kaf, or hand of Fatima, which is supposed to protect from the evil eye. In Cairo traffic, you need all the help you can get.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Tiring Building

If you are driving from Khan el Khalili to downtown, you see this extraordinary building to your right. Originally built by a Turkish born Austrian as a department store, it only served as such for about ten years until 1920 and since then has been floating in ownership limbo. You can read more about it at 

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Loved Dog

I spotted a dog wearing a sweater barking at passersby in the area of The City Of The Dead that adjoins the Autostrade. Lucky dog on these chilly days!

The Snow in Egypt

 For some bizarre reason these days I can't load photos from my desktop so all my posts are from my phone or iPad. We didn't get any snow in Cairo or Giza at all, just enormous quantities of rain. The snow in Egypt fell on New Cairo which is a suburb up on the desert hill just east of Cairo and in St. Katherine's in the mountains in the center of Sinai. It isn't at all that unusual to get snow in Sinai, but snow in the gated communities east of Cairo was a first. There was no snow at all at the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, despite photos posted to Facebook. Those were either a park in Japan with miniatures or photoshopped.

Someone else's photos of the snow in Cairo

Monday, December 9, 2013

Stars In Your Eyes

Every time I go to Khan el Khalili I almost have to tie my hands to keep from buying  lamps. These metal lamps with their cutouts are beautiful to look at and cast a lovely light as well. But with the media saying how "dangerous" Cairo is, the three of us women were the only foreigners we saw there. It's tragic as so many families are in desperate straits for the lack of tourism. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Even Egyptians Can Be Tourists

What happens when you put an Egyptian on a camel at Giza and you give him a camera? You get even more funny pictures than you might expect from a foreigner. And oddly enough some of them get seasick. 

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