Saturday, June 26, 2010

El Ain Soukhna

Two weeks ago we decided to go outside of our daily comfort zone and head off across this desert.


We were headed to a little "town" called el Ain Soukhna. The closest beach of the Red Sea to Cairo. So we headed off into the unknown. We were pleasantly surprised how nice the road was. It was 3 lanes each direction, and had been newly developed. I was fascinated by the monuments and pottery and general beautification that was going on out here in the middle of sandy nowhere.

I really wanted to take one of these pots home with me:



On the way we saw some military tanks that were out doing maneuvers. There were many courses with "dugouts" where they must practice firing.


We had several typical Egyptian experiences that we've just come to expect along the way.

Such as a truck headed your direction on the wrong side of the freeway:


Traffic stopped completely when someone got pulled over:


We also saw pigeon dovecotes:


I was particularly intrigued by the numerous park benches along the way. In case you want to stop and stare at, well, nothing.


Finally we arrived at our destination. The drive had been so fascinating that the actual town and beach was a total letdown. We passed by the "public" beach, and after noting it was all male except for one woman swimming in her full burqa, I decided that I didn't want to join that party.

So we drove a little farther and stopped at the "beachiest" rocky spot we could find. We were by ourselves except the people who drove by. Every single one of them honked. Thank you, thank you. The water was beautiful though. A brilliant blue. The kids had fun splashing around, we built a sand pyramid, ate pb&j and then headed back home.





One last truck coming at us on the freeway, and then we were back home safely.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You know you've been in Egypt too long when...

So I had to refer you to this post. My friend, Nancy, just moved back to Utah. Her list is spot on.

Be sure to read the comments section too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Home Repairs

Why does everything fall apart when Dave is out of town?

Let me just blog (vent) about home repairs here in Egypt. So I already blogged about the shoddy workmanship of our house. But that is just the way things are here in Egypt. I guess you can call it job security for the repairmen.

Yesterday after I set off the smoke detector (again)-- because our lame oven leaks gas -- I opened the window to clear the air. Only this time something fell off the window, and now it won’t close. Great, now all the bugs can come in freely instead of walking in through the ½ inch crack underneath the door. By the way, cockroaches, go straight to the sink because there’s always food stuck in the drain.

Annoyance number two. Internet is down. How do I get it working again. I don’t know, reboot the modem a million times? It’s not like I can just call Mr. Linksys, because my Arabic just ain’t that good.

As I’m sitting there fretting over the computer, I hear a strange noise. What is that? Luckily I went to investigate. Our air conditioner was leaking water – right onto our books in the bookcase. Okay, we have 10 separate air conditioning units in this house. So far 3 of them have leaked all over the place. Time to call the a/c guys again.


This leads to discussion of the “repairmen” themselves. It takes 4 men to come fix the a/c units from past experience. They show up, no English between them, and so I just point. Then he starts gesturing with his arms and legs. Ladder? Oh, yeah, I forgot that home repairmen don’t bring ANY equipment with them. They expect you to have it all. Yes, our units are on the roof, yet they don’t bring a ladder.

Reminds me when the picture hanger man came. Yes, he had the drill to gouge huge holes into this darn cinderblock (which is why by default he is the picture hanger man), but he didn’t have a level or a measuring tape. I laughed at the sheer awe he displayed when I gave him our laser level.

It’s not like they are official or licensed or even trained. It’s pretty much just the guy with the hammer hammers stuff, the guy with the drill, drills, etc. No one has ever shown up in a company van complete with all they need. It’s always just somebody’s buddy.

Pause. I just went upstairs and make that 4 a/c units leaking.

Two days later...internet is finally working after 8 calls to the internet people. They probably think I'm dumb, but truly the problem is their English. Or my lack of Arabic.

Sigh. Dave get's home tonight. He's never allowed to leave town again. It's been a rough one. All of us have been sick with colds, and last night Khamaseen came through again and left us all wanting for air and coughing up dust. Yesterday while I was out it was 111 degrees, I think the high was 113 degrees. Today the forecast is 109 degrees.

***end of vent***

Friday, June 18, 2010

Somersaulting

Shouldn't it be called summersaulting?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 1-15

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Princess

So, Maya attended a tea party with a few friends last week. She was thrilled! Jamie Perry hosted the cutest party, complete with tarts and muffins and apple juice.

Maya was super excited that she got to dress up in a Belle dress and shoes, and couldn't stop talking about it. I told her that maybe we could try and find her a princess dress at the store, expecting it to fit something like this.

The one she found came with a tiara, shoes, earrings, and a ring. She was instantly transformed. I didn't expect her to look 10 years older. I think she looks absolutely stunning! (But then, I'm her mother).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Desert Dinner

On Friday we attended the Cairo Rugby Club Desert Dinner at the Giza Pyramids. What a venue! I literally couldn't stop staring and taking pictures of the background. The sunset was gorgeous and the temperature was perfect with just a little breeze.



Here are a couple of video clips from the night. I am mad at myself for deleting the one where people are dancing to "Walk Like An Egyptian."

Whenever I hear the song by Black-Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling"

I am instantly going to be transformed back to this time and place. Loved it.

video

video

Friday, June 4, 2010

Brutal Honesty

Today in church, Maya was contentedly drawing pictures in her book. Todd Cummings, a member of our branch, leaned over and asked her who she was drawing a picture of.

"Daddy," she replied.

"Oh," said Todd, "and why isn't he smiling? Your daddy always smiles."

"Oh, you're right, it must be my mommy," she said.

In trying to defend myself, I leaned over and said, "is this picture of Mommy happy or sad?"

"Nope. Just mad," she said.

Little stinker.

Here is a picture she drew of her family on a "happier day" I guess.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Khamaseen

Yesterday was disgusting. Maya looked out the window of the car and said, "I can't see where I'm going, it's too foggy!" No, sis, that is dirt, sand, pollution, and general all-around grossness. It is called Khamaseen. Actually somewhat of a season around here -- a season of hot, dusty, wind blowing through. If you follow the link, Wikipedia calls it "dreadfully oppressive." Yes, that is the correct description. Yuck.

Luckily, it is now June, and hopefully it is the end of the season.

I took these photos from the windows of my house. Ones facing East are taken from Maya's room, which show the neighborhood next door with their thousands of satellites and the cell tower (the tall palm tree) and a minaret. The pictures of the houses that look like ours are taken from my room upstairs facing West.




Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May 15-31

Friends


Since Ethen has started running, I cannot tell the difference between the sound of the pitter patter of feet on the floor, be it Maya or Ethen. He wants to do everything she does, including ride her tricycle. He can almost get his leg over and loves to be pushed around on it.