Saturday, October 23, 2010

What a week!

I worked hard all week and didn't really stop to take any pictures. Geoff had a bad week in that he dropped the cooker hood on his foot and it shattered, we are waiting to see if his toe nail drops off. At the moment it all looks good in the it's not coming off way. Then last night he forgot how hot the water is when it comes out of the taps (the immersion tanks in the kitchen and the bathroom have not got an external thermostat on them) and scalded his hand. Two bags of frozen veg and some ibuprofen gel later he made it to bed. I had been asleep a long while. This morning his hand is swollen but not blistered, so all looks good there.
This was also the week we blew the dimmer switch in the main light fitting and lived in the dark for 36 hours. In our effort to keep the planet green and reduce our carbon footprint we had added two energy saving bulbs. Bad move on a light fitting with a dimmer switch. The fitting started blowing bulbs one at a time. The second one that went blew out of the fitting and hit Maddison on the leg taking out the dimmer switch at the same time. We didn't realise this to start with and our first move was to replace all the bulbs with standard Egyptian 40 watt ones. No joy there! So the next day Geoff told our doorman, who got the electrician in, who then fixed the switch. Geoff says it was interesting to watch as the electrician didn't bother turning the power off to check anything, he just put a screwdriver across the switch to see if it sparked. Anyway, all is fixed now and we can see again. (The rooms in the flat are dark without the lights on, smaller windows = less dust?)
Wednesday had the promise of something different, a dust storm had been predicted. It veered north and didn't make it to Cairo but there were still quite a few students absent from school on the Wednesday. We had been warned via email to wrap up our lap tops unfortunately there was a spelling mistake and the email said 'rap'. So I wrote a rap and pinned it to the staffroom notice board! (I can't find it now or I would have typed it in).
And the reason for the cake photos? Friday night is cake night. After church we walk to the Grand Mall and buy cake for tea. These little gems cost 7 LE (90p) each and are worth every penny.

Saturday night is Geoff's night off, just as well considering his hand this week, and we will call Pizza Hut and have pizza delivered. Not a healthy eating weekend at all! Pizza Hut have recorded the details of my mobile phone on their data base, so as long as we call from the same number they know who we are and where we live and they tell us!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Repitle Farm

Allegedly this tortiose is 150 years old, he is one of the specimins at the Reptile farm we visited after the camel market. He is half the size of jonathon!
A series of tanks helded a number of reptiles at a villa near Giza. It was interesting but not quite a farm.

A cobra! Maddy and Geoff got to hold iguanadons and tortioses but the pictures were blurred and not fit to blog.

Up a palm tree, the blobs at the top are dates

We drove past the pyramids on the way there and back, this was the best picture. They are next on the list of things to do when Richard arrives. Geoff wondered how many times we would visit them with guests until we got bored by them and just pointed our visitors in the direction of Jimmy our taxi driver and let them get on with it.
Jimmy was ill yesterday and couldn't take me to life group (equivalent to bible study (almost) or home group) so we went to Maadi Grand Mall and Geoff put me in a taxi there. THe driver nodded he knew Road 15 and off we went. However he needed directions . . . . several times, from traffic police, embassy guards, the people I was going to see (via my mobile), taxi drivers and various bodies on the street. When we arrived he asked for twice the agreed fare because he had to drive round - he didn't get it!

Camel Market

There is an organisation in Maadi called the Community Services Association (CSA) which offers services to ex-pts. There is a gym, library, coffee shop, language lessons. They also offer things during the week like manicure Monday and cook's day off where people cook lasgne (and other dishes from round the world) and you buy it rather than cooking yourself and trips out.

This was the first weekend (Friday) trip we had seen that was a bit different, so we signed up at 300 LE each and left for the market at 7:45 am this morning. The market was only 35 km away but it took us an hour to get there following the side of a canal in an air conditioned minibus .


When we got there it was very busy with hundreds of camels all around. Before we could take pictures there was an extra 10LE fee for cameras.

The proccess seems to be camels arrive, they are bargined over and bought, then spray painted to show the new owner. After that they are loaded into the back of trucks and driven off. Our guide explained they were sold for tourist use, racing and eating!
Th e market wasn't as smelly as I'd imagined it would be and there didn't seem to be many flies, Maddison was upset by the way the camel traders used large sticks to move the camels and to make them sit etc, but we had warned her that it would not be the standard of animal care that we would expect in the UK

It only took us 30 mins to see all we wanted to but there was a second part to the trip so after an hour we were all back on the bus heading for what was grandly termed a 'Reptile Farm'.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

6th October

The 6th October is a public holiday in Egypt to commemmorate regaining the Sinia so we had Wednesday (and Thursday off school). Maddison arranged to meet her friend Louisa at the Family cinema in Maadi to go see The Expendables (there appears to be no censureship and ratings here at all). She dragged her loving parents along for the usual financial support but found the films had changed. Not wanting to see either 'Eat, Love, Pray' or 'Inception' they moved onto the trampoline and ice skating. Geoff and I wandered up and down the Nile Cornich taking pictures and visiting shops. I got a 'dongle' so I can be on the internet at the same time as Geoff and we discovered a new (to us) supermarket called the 'Alpha Market' .

Another Pavement we found outside the Nile Mall

Bank of the Nile

We pass this fountain every day on our journey too and from school and it is just outside the Nile Mall so I had the opportunity to get a picture!

Boing went the girls
Afterwards they went iceskating and I discovered I need to practise my action shots.
Maddy has suffered with bumps and bruises all the next day and beyond.
Geoff has booked a quick trip back to the UK (we found it hard to come to terms with the fact that he could book today, Thursday, for Sunday, and be returning on Wednesday). What a difference to being on St. Helena. He is going back to collect the black laptop we left to be mended and my acoustic guitar as well as some books and DVD's. Because of what we want it is cheaper and more reliable to collect them rather than have them delivered by DHL. So Maddy and I will have to do our own cooking and washing etc rather than having Geoff look after us.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Travelling to school

The school has 63 buses to transport teachers and students from home, they pick you up from your door and drop you off there after school. Maddy and I get picked up first in the morning at 6:45 am and arrive at school around 7:45 am. The alternative is to drive (not going to happen there was a crash on the way to school again today) or get a taxi (approx LE 32 about £4) which is too expensive for us.
On the way home we get dropped off first at about 4 pm which is very nice. Geoff listens for the bus and buzzes the entrance door open so I don't even have to get my keys out.
The buses collect in they playground and it takes about 15 mins for the kids to load up and the buses to leave. If you want to stay later you have to sign up for the 'late bus' the day before which leaves at 4:30 pm and another at 5pm if necessary.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spot the Pyramid

A quickie post for my only follower.
This is the view from the bus on the way to school. Cairo has this haze about it most mornings but if you're lucky you can make out one of the three pyramids at Giza in the middle of the picture. Good luck! One morning I could see all three from the Nile as we drove along it's bank on our way to school but it hasn't happened since.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Happy Birthday

Everyone delivers in Cairo so Pizza Hut brought us pizza for a birthday tea.

Lunch was at McDonalds on Road 9 where the horse racing on the tv kept Maddison entertained. We had walked there, it isn't that far, but in 39 degrees it wasn't a nice walk. I rebelled and paid for a taxi home rather than walk again at 5LE (60p in UK money) it was worth the expense. Geoff and Maddy were horrified when I flagged down one of the old Peugeot 405 cabs (flying coffins - see earlier blog). The front seats were amazing, the passenger seat was held in place with some green rope, like you would use for washing line only a little thicker. The driver's seat needed similar attention!
A big junk food day all round I expect we'll eat healthy for the rest of the week. Although Maddy wants samosas tomorrow.

We set off for McDonalds with Maddy listening to her new phone, a red blackberry. It's locked so we can only use it here and the internet is blocked on it but she can take it to school and swap numbers with her friends tomorrow.

Where else do you think you can buy a cake in the shape of a pyramid made out of ice cream? Delicious! Strawberry, mango and vanilla ice cream with a toffee sauce. We have eaten it at three meals now. We saw it in the shop 3 days ago and bought it Friday after we went to the supermarket (Carrefour) and shoping mall where we got the phone. They packed it in an insulated box for us and Maddy carried it proudly home, there were magic candles to go on top but we decided not to light them in the end to avoid melting. There was also a very sweet PINK birthday card for her!