wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
Or shall we just call it, "The State of Things." Forgive me, LJ, for it has been awhile since my last post.

_________
I've never tried to put a cut under a cut, so be warned that when I say something vile happened, there should be an additional cut there to keep it out of public view unless you want to read it. If there is not a cut, don't read on, there's nothing more to see. :)
________

In which you can read about the State of Things )Vile Thing )

Anyhow. Did not mean to end on a tirade.SaveSaveSaveSave
wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
I'm back, but I bet you didn't even know I was gone. It has been a busy week, and I'd like to just crash into a puddle for a couple of days. The chances of that happening are slim, though, seeing as how I have a ton of stuff to keep me busy until we leave for France for the summer.

What we've been up to the last week, illustrated with photos )
wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
We've been enduring a sandstorm for two days now. The house is covered in dust, except where we have walked it off, then you can see--in the feeble, filtered light--where no one treads or crawls because of the dirt accumulated there. And if anyone questions my housekeeping, fine, but don't question my housekeeper. :P  She does a great job and was just here on Monday.  Thankfully she comes again tomorrow, but if the storm is still raging, it'll be as dusty a couple of hours after she leaves. The old windows and doors are not barricades but sieves.... And I'm just back from closing the French doors that lead onto the front balcony. The wind is so strong and the latches so weak, the doors get blown open every so often (as do some of the windows), letting in yet another dusting of dust.

sandstorm
wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
For [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume, who wanted to see dogs sleeping on cars.

Not just our feline friends who enjoy a nice perch.


dogs on cars

wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
I didn't forget about Snippet Sunday this week; I just didn't take (make) the time to snap photos due to a combination of other things to do and freakish (for Egypt) weather that resulted in bad lighting. I mostly did the drawing challenge I mentioned, but I also took time to do a couple of blind contour sketches in prepartion of doing a funky family portrait (I need to buy a good marker first) and resumed painting Sprout.  The painting was to be my main focus last week, but because of the extreme pollution and rainstorms, lighting was not conducive to that undertaking.  Perhaps this weekend...if my sewing projects don't take over.

Anyhow, you aren't here to hear about snippets but to catch a glimpse:

bee eaters

Little green bee eaters, Cleopatra subspecies, I believe

I lugged a step-ladder downstairs and hauled it around and around (and don't you know the locals were confounded by what the crazy foreign lady was doing), trying to get a good shot of these beauties but because of a wall and the exposition of the early morning sun, I was not successful in getting a really nice view.  I'll keep trying. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
Yesterday, we went out to Wadi Degla for Sprout to do her annual birthday painting.  She wasn't able to paint one on the big day this year because of our trip to the States, so we waited for the right moment to do it here.

I'll do a post about our day another time, otherwise this would not be a glimpse of Egypt but one of our family life.

So, the wadi, our best chance at nature and the outdoors in Cairo's backyard:

Wadi Degla

You can just spy the city in the distance where the two sides of the wadi appear to meet.
wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
The Egyptian answer to the ice cream truck*:

cotton candy

Cotton candy (and balloon) vendor.  That is a kazoo-like horn at his lips, and he blows it while walking the streets, usually around the time school lets out, alerting those with a sweet tooth that he is in the vicinity.

____________
*  Actually there are ice cream carts here. I need to get a pic of one; they are quite decorative, usually in the form of a swan-like bird.  Don't ask me why.
wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
Despite bans on the importation and use of tuk-tuks in Egypt (Cairo?), the little buggers persist and are being driven in streets where they were (are?) forbidden, i.e. right in front of our apartment building.

I don't have anything against them per se, except their drivers are typically Egyptian, thinking they own the world roads; and whether because it is some unspoken law or because the drivers tend to be young boys/teens, the tuk-tuks are equipped with monster speakers of dubious quality that blare out obnoxious music or "other" sounds.

Your glimpse today comes to you courtesy of a tuk-tuk with a noise of the obnoxious "other" category.

tuk-tuk

As this guy was driving along, his speakers kept playing, at full-blast no less, a service message the likes of which you hear  at an airport.  Given the aforementioned dubious quality, despite the volume, I was unable to make out the words, but this should give you an idea of the sound and rhythm:  "Bing bing bing, flight 432 now boarding at gate 12; bing bing bing."

And of course, he "drove along" s.e.v.e.r.a.l. times and stopped to chat with the bawab of the facing building.

_________
* Without googling, who knows what song this comes from? :P It's been playing on repeat in my mind ever since Sprout watched Aladdin the other day.
wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Camel love)
Because we were on the road Wednesday, here is your glimpse of Egypt a few days late.

transport en commun
"Hey, look! There's the Nile!"
wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
We've sadly been unable to explore much of the Egyptian desert due to instability in the country and safety restrictions imposed by J's work. On a trip to Fayoum, however, we went to Wadi Al-Hitan (Valley of the Whales), a World Heritage Site, and spent a night camping surrounded by fennec foxes.

Junebug was only 7weeks old at the time, so it was a speedy visit. Camping with a 3-yr old and a newborn in a 2-person tent = interesting, but not worth repeating unless strictly necessary. :P

IMG_5601

Whale fossils in Wadi Al-Hitan
Tis but a glimpse, tis true. Gander-takers, this way... )
Oh, and what the heck, why not a camping pic and one of a fox:

Naturiste is the term, I believe )
wayfaringwordhack: (N'gouja)
...that I was back to my absenteeism at the end of last week, not commenting on entries or posting a snippet. One reason was that we were having Internet difficulties and didn't get them straightened up until Monday.  The other was that we went out of town for the weekend. If there is anything that I need to be in the know about, please leave me a comment because I don't think I'll make it back through my flist.

I don't have any "late" snippets to post, my previous week being devoid of any creativity besides cooking and packing.

But I will share a bit about our trip.

Pics and things this way )
________________
* I wish they would have played something by Xavier Rudd (link to YouTube video). Every time I listen to Rudd, I am transported to an intimate beach concert, sun setting, fire crackling, cool sand under my feet, waves lapping. And if I'm listening to an album and not just a single song, that beach concert continues, dark deepening while stars whirl overhead and I, by turns, dance or sit clasping my knees to my chest, watching the waves.

** Only J and I got burned; we had enough sense to protect the kids.

December

27 Dec 2013 01:24 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (art: christmas quail)
I had great plans and intentions for the month of December, including doing Advent activities with Sprout every day. Bronchitis laid me low, though, for the first two weeks (Sprout as well, and then J got the flu). The month did not go to plan and we did not do all of the activities, but I just decided to go with the flow and not worry over anything.

What Advent was supposed to look like )

A few photos. Unfortunately, I wasn't very inspired to have a camera in hand most days, what with the ick and all.

Pics this way )

If anyone is interested and to give credit to the pattern-maker, I crocheted that reindeer hat for Sprout using this tutorial.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: thé)
The tide has turned, taking the red from my sea. The scarlet has faded to persimmon and apricot. At least it has on the flame tree that had the orange cast*, as I pointed out in this post. You can see the color difference better on the bottom left photo of this series.



flamboyantly orange

In truth, I took these photos some days ago. Now there is no more sea, just a few straggling, shriveled flowers, trying to hang on in the face of punishing temperatures and furnace-hot winds (The other day we had 51℃ [123.8℉] and today it is 40℃ [104℉]). Now the trees look like this:

faded flaming glory

And yes, that is the color of the sky, and not because it is sunset. Vive l'air pur de Caire!


I think next year, we will plan our vacation time to coincide with summer here. I think Cairo in summertime is going to be very like Paris in August:  Everyone who can leave leaves.

_____________

*When the trees were at their best, I preferred the deeper red one, but its flowers, instead of fading, simply shrivel and die, while the vermillion blossoms seem to have a longer lifespan.

Red

28 May 2013 11:14 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (flora: coquelicot)
When we moved into our apartment, I was thrilled to see all the flamboyant trees on our road. At least I hoped my tree identification skills had not failed me and that they were indeed flamboyants. Then spring came along and all over Cairo, trees started flowering: Jacarandas; pink and red cotton trees; acacias; red bottlebrushes; purple, white, and pink orchid trees.... But not ours. They barely put on any leaves. Still, the good ol' Web said that flamboyants flower in May and June, and I told myself to be patient. But that didn't stop the worry that they wouldn't bloom.

A month ago, I even wrote an entry in a journal about it: Studying the flamboyants for signs that they are going to flower. Strange, but I carry around a knot of stress, of fear, that they won't bloom. I so very much want to see a sea of red from our balcony.

Chiding myself for being silly, I got the binoculars and checked out the treetops. And lo and behold, buds!

buds

Whew. I finally relaxed, and a couple of days later, my impatience was vanquished by the sight of the first flowers:

IMG_0161

Then we left for a week to vacation on the Red Sea, and when we got back we had our very own wished-for sea of red awaiting us, just as I had hoped. Another name for flamboyants are flame trees, with good reason:

flamboyant flowers

A few more pictures )
wayfaringwordhack: (critters: maki - tasty)
The bananas here in Egypt aren't quite as good as they were in Mayotte (you can't get a lot of different varieties, either), but they are so much better than the supermarket offerings in France.  You can, of course, buy them in the store here, but they are better fresh off the cart where the hands are still in a bunch.


bananas

And did I mention cheaper? If you are up to speed on your Arabic numerals, you will see that you can buy a kilo for 5 EGP (Egyptian pounds), which works out to about 32 cents a pound.

Hail the street vendor from your balcony, pop down to the street to buy a hand or two, hurry upstairs, and make banana pudding pie. If you want. :P

Guess who has dessert waiting for her? :D
wayfaringwordhack: (art: bosch flying fish)
I recently blogged about hearing a horse on the street beneath my balcony and had comments asking me to expound on the difference between the sound of a horse or a donkey passing by.

The differences are several.  First is the heavier resonance of the horse's hoof; the bulk of the beast makes a more resounding clop on the asphalt. The donkeys, with their smaller frames and smaller hooves, make lighter taps, and when they are in a hurry the rhythm is smudged between a staccato and a shuffle as they struggle to move their stiff little legs fast enough to suit their drivers. Plenty of drivers allow their donkeys to walk, though, but I cannot think of instance of seeing a horse that was allowed to plod along.  It's as if having a showier creature pulling their carts forces the drivers to put on a show. They hurry their animals down the streets, heedless of how their shod hooves slip, how the speed bumps make them stumble. Speaking of being shod, not all of the donkeys are, so their steps lack the metallic ring of shoes.

Back to the idea of show, I hear more bells and jingles (buckles or trinkets, I don't know) on horse harnesses than on those of donkeys. 

So now you know. May this enlightenment serve you in the future. Or not. :P

IMG_4130

IMG_4154
Photos of downtown Cairo, courtesy of Julien

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