Oh where to begin. I guess at the beginning would be a good place. Just about two weeks ago I drove to Ain el Sokhna - drove from Alex to Cairo on my own - met with my friend Margaret and her hubby at Carrefour - then we did a bit of shopping - then I followed them through Cairo and onto the Sokhna highway - very nice highway. Had a bit of trouble keeping up with my guide - not really surprising considering the traffic in Cairo - glad I do not live there. But am confident that I will soon be driving to shop and visit. So beware any of you who live in Cairo - here I come.
Had a wonderful five days in Ain el Sokhna - stayed at the Ramada hotel there - 2 bedroom suite, 2 bathrooms, 4 air conditioners and hop skip and a jump from the beach. Spent a lot of time literally hanging around in the water with Margaret. Bonus of being so 'fluffy' - I am buoyant like a cork - just bob around - no effort required. We saw dolphins twice - they were being quite lazy - just swimming by - no jumping and showing off - what beautiful creatures. The water was fantastic - warm - and soooo clean - well until the 2nd last day - one of the ships going by had added some undesirable oil into the water - was very nasty actually. Margaret and Mustafa got the goop on their feet - what a mess - I was wearing my water shoes so they have goop on the soles - but my feet stayed clean. Margaret got adventurous and bought a mask and snorkel - unfortunately she had trouble with the mask - one side kept filling up with water. I tried it and had more success - must admit it was really great being able to see the fish and the coral - talk about a wondrous sight. I went and bought myself a pair - they were not very expensive -good thing - as my set ended up buried at the bottom of the sea - I was swimming back to shore and had tucked the gear under my shirt and they came out and sank like a proverbial stone. But I had enough fun with them that I am seriously going to look for a dive shop and get a good face mask and snorkel - looking forward to having more fun looking beneath the surface and seeing lots more beautiful things. Unfortunately the first day we were out Margaret overdid it and got sunburned - I was very fortunate and did not get a burn - used lots of sun screen - do need to find a dermatologist here though - have a patch on my nose that needs to be looked at again - had had some cancer removed prior to coming here in 2003 - and the patch is back - so do need to get it looked after - since skin cancer runs in my family and I have had that patch removed as well as 2 moles that were diagnosed as pre-cancerous - if I were really good I would no longer go out in the sun - but sorry I like being in the water way to much to give it up completely - but at least I am now using sunscreen and being a bit more careful. So after the first day we opted to go early in the morning and then head back to the room until 2 or 3 in the afternoon and then we stayed out until between 6 and 7 - then back to the room to change and get ready for supper. Must admit it was very nice having someone come in every day and clean up after us - make the beds, etc., and going out for meals was a very nice treat as well - the food was nothing fantastic but it was food and I did not have to cook it or clean up after it.
We left on Thursday at noon - we met Mustafa at the port where he works - and headed to Cairo. I had planned on just going on my own - but I was not 100% sure of my way - so I opted to spend some time with Margaret at Carrefour in Maadi while she waited for Mustafa to sign the paperwork for the new car they were purchasing. Mustafa promised it would be no more than an hour - well unfortunately it was over 3 hours later before we headed out again - right into Cairo rush hour - and of course the road to Alex was extremely busy - but now that I have done it once I can do it on my own - and will do so - as it looks as if Margaret will be moving to Sokhna in the next five or six months.
Arrived home Thursday evening - and then Friday Aymn asked if I would travel to Marsa Matrouh to meet with him for at least four days - so I left Sunday at noon on my way to Marsa Matrouh. I oooohed and aaaaahed over the colour of the sea on my way to Marsa Matrouh - it is beautiful - have not seen those colours in real life ever. It is fantastic. The road was good - not a lot of traffic on it - but I bet on Thursday it is busier. Arrived in Marsa Matrouh - around 3 - Aymn had been calling me all the way - he called me at around 2 - asked me where I was -said I was at the 100 km mark from Marsa Matrouh - he asked me what was taking so long - I figured I was doing quite well - had travelled over 200 km in 2 hours - not bad - but he said he would catch a bus and meet with me half way - he called me about 15 minutes later - asked me where I was - said I was about 50 km from Matrouh - he was shocked - told me to keep my eyes open for a bus that was going the opposite direction - he was sitting beside the driver and would have the driver flash the headlights at me when he saw me - so about 25 km outside of Marsa Matrouh I met up with the bus. Arrived in Marsa Matrouh and Aymn received a phone call from Libya that set him off - he is having trouble with an ex- partner - and of course that meant he needed to head back to Libya sooner than expected - we had not quite two days before he left for Libya and I came back to Alex - he wanted me to hang around Matrouh and wait for him - but I know his schedule is much to elastic for my liking - did not want to be stuck in a rented apartment for God only knows how long - so I came back after leaving him at the bus depot. Of course he had not bothered to get an apartment before I arrived - so we spent time finding a place to stay, we ended up renting a nice apartment - 3 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, sala for 110 LE a night - wish is about 22 CAN a night - and the place was located in the boonies - so it was very quiet - at least the first night was - 2nd night was noisier - the resort located near had a concert going on - lasted until after 2 a.m. - when Aymn got back in. He had to leave at 11:30 p.m. to meet a truck driver and take delivery of the copper and he did not get back in until after 2 - think it was around 2:30 a.m. I opted to stay in and sleep. We went to a beach for a couple of hours on Monday - and I forgot my camera - figured I would have a couple more days to take pictures - but then he dropped the bomb that he was heading back to Libya. Did manage to get a few photos before we left town on Tuesday.
The car did really well - until the last 150 km into Alex. Not sure what is wrong - but when I turn left it sounds as if something is rubbing on the right hand side by the tire - also the a/c is making a lot of gurgling noises and is depositing water in the car - not a good thing. So will have to take it in and have it looked after before I do any more big trips.
On August 25th I took delivery of my new chairs - now I need to rearrange the furniture and find room for them - sigh - such troubles I have. Today went out and bought some 'covers' for the chairs - bought some towels and face cloths to put on the arms and the headrest and back of the chair to protect the fabric. The fabric is 'faux suede' so I want it protected from sweat and oil from the skin.
While I was out today I picked up my two new dresses - sure do wish Omar the tent maker had an ounce of imagination - the one dress I ordered has dark blue and cream fabric - and the colour of the stitching is lost in the royal blue fabric - the fabric was supposed to be a lighter blue - but they did not have any - so I ordered the royal blue - and did not even think about the thread colour - oh well -live and learn.
Not a lot more to report. Have not really had an opportunity to have a good chat with Aymn - not sure I will live long enough for that to happen - because of course he is always 'busy' with other things, the business, the kids, Amel, but never seems to find time for me - he asked me what his talents were - told him that he has the talent of burying his head in the sand - and after explaining what I meant - I clarified that I did not think this was a positive talent - not sure if he 'got' it - but will persevere - so he might understand that Amel is not the only one that has had to deal with many 'new and different' things. Asked him why he did not come to me when it was my turn - he said he was angry with me - thought I had intentionally hurt him and his kids - obviously he does not know me as well as he thinks he does. But I have decided that I am going to continue going to the family events - if Amel and the kids opt to stay home - that is their loss - I have no problem seeing them in a social setting - and if they cannot deal with me in a social setting - their loss. At least that is how I am feeling right now - time will tell.
Will try to upload a couple of pictures at a later date - do not feel like fighting with this computer right now.