Yesterday I posted about the World Cup. Today I am posting excerpts of two letters on European tournaments. I watched Euro 98 games Austria and Egypt. During Euro 96 we lived in Tirana. I’ll start with Euro 2008. A cartoon in one of the local Cairo papers shows two Egyptians looking at the European football tournament, Euro 2008, on TV. One says to the other … Continue reading European Football Tournaments.
This post is from Easter, 2007. Suzi and I were working in Egypt. The Spring Festival, “Sham el Nessim,” “smell the breezes” always falls on Easter Monday (Based on the Eastern rite’s reckoning, which this year was the same as Western Easter.) The festival dates back to Pharaonic times. It’s a day for family picnics where people eat green onions, fish and hardboiled eggs that … Continue reading Easter (or is it Spring Festival?) in Cairo.
The Suez Canal may be the only place where blue water mariners find sandstorms a hazard to navigation. There’s something otherworldly seeing a huge container ship gliding toward you through a golden brown silicone fog looking like it’s riding on sand. The camel is not the true ship of this desert, SeaLand is. The MV Hanjin Helsinki glides by, name written in Chinese characters and … Continue reading Ismaïlia and the Suez Canal
In Sharm el-Sheikh the talk was of sharks. A few weeks earlier four tourists were attacked and the beaches and reefs closed. They were reopened and a German woman was killed in 2 feet of water off the Hyatt hotel, very close to where we were staying. A satirical website is Serbia reported that a cannonballing fat Serbian tourist landed on, and killed, the shark. … Continue reading Undersea gardens at Sharm el-Sheikh
It was not the boardwalk at Keansburg or Wildwood. On the boardwalks in those Jersey Shore towns you won’t see a sign in the window of a hole in the wall shop that says “special, buy two bottles of Viagra, get one free. Genuine — illegally imported from the States.” Of course it’s called the corniche, and not boardwalk, on Naama Bay at Sharm el … Continue reading Egyptian “Boardwalk” Towns, Sharm and Dahab.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, or “New Library of Alexandria,” is an attempt to recreate the tradition of the first “Great Library of Alexandria” built by Ptolemy in the third century BC. It is either a stunning triumph of modern architecture or “The Rotten Oyster” depending on your point of view. It is a stunning building, designed by a Norwegian firm incorporating types of natural wood never … Continue reading Bibliotheca Alexandrina, The Great Library at Alexandria redux
The text to accompany these pictures is in the previous post. “Sinai Desert.” I like the last picture, the imprint of the Burning Bush on the rock. Continue reading St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai and the Original Burning Bush.
Suzi and I decided not to take a bus tour from Sharm to St. Catherine’s Monastery (featured in the next post) the home of the burning bush at the foot of Mt. Saini, but to hire a car and guide, Said. We told Said, up front, no shopping. It didn’t matter. He still dropped us off for the obligatory stroll through the souk in the … Continue reading Sinai Desert
At the roadblock the police asked where we were going. Our driver mentioned several towns in the Fayoum Oasis (Faiyum) I wanted to see. “But no tourist ever goes there,” which, of course, is the point. Egyptian friends told us about these villages, each dedicated to some traditional manufacture, like pottery. The roads into them are bad. They don’t have bus service. Pickup trucks act … Continue reading Fayoum’s Water Wheels, Creating an Oasis in Egypt
Egyptian pyramids evolved. They did not just pop out of the ground at Giza. A series of mistakes litter the desert. In a short space of miles you can see those mistakes and follow that evolution. Saqqara has a stepped pyramid (and rubble of a step pyramid that didn’t hold up so well.) It was an early incarnation of Pharaonic funeral monuments. Then the builders … Continue reading The Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids.
June, 2007 The great sand sea that stretches southward from the Siwa Oasis is like a woman. Her contours are soft and rounded with velvety folds. Her complexion changes with the light. But she’s a harsh woman, with dunes over 300 feet high, hard to travel across. The sand gives way under your feet. She is subject to temper, sandstorms that can swallow an army … Continue reading Siwa Oasis
The bridge cleaned up. April 15, 2011, Cairo, Egypt I got into the cab in Cairo and was shocked; the driver was wearing a seatbelt. I hadn’t seen this before. I put mine on. He smiled and said “New Egypt.” New Egypt is being stuck in a traffic jam near Tahrir Square and seeing a citizen in a white t shirt step forward, waving … Continue reading Arab Spring, April 2011
On February 11, Hosni Mubarak stepped down as President of Egypt. Suzi and I were in Doha, Qatar that night and went out on the streets as soon as we heard he had left power. We were watching the events on Al Jazeera in our hotel room. I looked out the window and across the bay I saw what looked, to me, like a large … Continue reading Arab Spring, Feb 11, Mubarak Steps Down
Suzi’s McClear was Chief of Party for USAID’s Media Development Program in Egypt. Tuesday, January 25 was a state holiday, Police Day. That day a group of demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square protesting the government. It was a large demonstration but many people thought not much would come of it. The local press tried to ignore it but Suzi got an email from our son, … Continue reading Arab Spring, January 2011, Suzi’s Story
April 8, 2008, Cairo, Egypt Dear Friends, For the past several months we’ve been trying to pull off the first ever course on blogging in Egypt. There is a lot of concern because bloggers have been the ones who exposed police brutality, sexual harassment and bloggers have given people a voice that is denied in state controlled press. The news moves forward on blogs. At … Continue reading Arab Spring, April 6, 2008, A blogging course.