Thursday, September 27, 2007

This week got thoroughly messed up - had planned on heading to Mohmodea to spend time with my family there - but on Monday as I was driving home from getting my g/f from work we were 'sitting' in traffic and the taxi behind me decided to hit me - not once - but three times. Looks as if the rear door will have to be replaced as well as the rear bumper - ARGH. There was a traffic cop nearby - he came over and motioned both of us to pull over - the taxi took off - thankfully I had gotten his licence number first thing. We then sat in the car and waited for my BIL to arrive - he finally showed up and we headed to the police station to file a report. Got to the police station - BIL went in and came out and then I accompanied him - only to find out that because I am a foreigner we had to go to another station. Of course time is marching on and it is now about 20 minutes before iftar. We got to the other station and explained what had happened and then I was asked if I could come back after 9 - after prayers you know - I must have look thunderstruck - because the officer found someone to take my report - during iftar - we did not make it home until around 7:30 - thank goodness I had made up the bulk of the meal the night before - had made beef stroganoff - just had to warm up the meat and cook the pasta and make a salad. Visit did not go off as planned. And because the security police are involved in the investigation I had to go back to the police station on Wednesday - so not much sense in heading out to visit the family. So yesterday saw me at the police station - BIL was to meet me there - by the time he showed up I was already done - had been told to come back in 2-3 days - as they had not yet found the driver. So have to go back on Saturday - called my SIL and said I would come out this morning - only to be informed that she is coming to town today until Saturday - so no visiting.

Not a lot going on around here - dh is still in Libya - no plans to return in the near future. I just sit here and wonder what in sam hill I am doing here. But my folks are coming soon - so need to get geared up for that - would love to get a freezer before they get here so I can have some storage space - but not sure if that will happen - after all it is Ramadan and things move even more slowly during Ramadan than usual and that is slow enough.

Am planning on heading to Cairo again this coming Tuesday - here is hoping I 'find' my friend - LOL.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Guess what - I am bored - so what am I doing - baking. Just made blueberry muffins (from dried blueberries I brought back from Canada) and poppyseed lemon muffins. Have also made up a batch of cream of mushroom soup - I added some left over chicken to it. I am going to make some tea biscuits - my 'famous' cheese, garlic, italian seasoned ones - and I have a bit of the stuffing left for spanakopita - so will use that up as well. Sharon will be joining me for iftar again - it is nice to have company - and at least this time it will be ready on time - I am hoping - will get up from here and get on the rest of the things - so all I have to do is pop the biscuits in the oven to bake them - and warm up the spanakopita. Must admit that I am thirsty more than I am hungry by the time Iftar roles around. I think I would be happy just having gallons of fluid to drink for the evening. Would be so nice if I were losing some weight - but I am sure my metabolism has gone to starvation mode - storing everything I eat - oh well. But there is just no way that I can go out and exercise with no drinking allowed. Have trouble enough not drinking without adding exercise to the equation - I sweat enough without exercise. It is so much fun - I sweep the floors - and sweat into the dust and dirt that I collect and make mudpies - LOL.

Aymn has lost 10 kg already and Ramadan is only a bit over a week old. That is too much too soon - not healthy - says he fills up on water and milk.

Today I got busy and washed up the wind chimes that have a light that is solar powered - I also charged the batteries - it was not staying lit up for very long. I need to do something with a couple of the 'reflecting' lights that I have in the garden - two of them do not light up long - so will have to recharge their batteries as well. I also want to get busy and fix up my clothes cupboard - the piece of wood that holds the clothes bar in place fell down - I have glued it up - now I am going to get out my drill - drill holes and use a few screws - then that sucker will not fall down again - I hope - I will also put a few screws on the other end - before it falls down.

I will be heading back to Mohmodea on Tuesday - and back home on Saturday. Then on the following Tuesday I will again attempt to make it to Cairo. Will make chocolate chip cookies to take along with me as a treat for the kids - and we will make carmel corn - my friend there says she has access to corn syrup - there is a factory in her town where she can get some - so will get a stock of it in - that means one less thing I have to bring back from Canada. It is very noticeable that there are more and more things available that were not available before - of course if I lived in Cairo it would likely be even better - but here in Alex there are not a lot of ex-pats - so not a lot of western goods.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The trip to Cairo was not successful - after meandering around for what seemed like forever and not getting to where I wanted to go - I ended up back at home yesterday afternoon - 8.5 hours after I left I was back home. Very frustrated and feeling very much like I do not really belong here. I will try again - not sure when - but needs to be before Oct. 10 - so will talk with Suzanne and see if I can switch my week to spend with them - go to Cairo again next week - even thought about going back today - but thought better of it. So will see if I can rearrange my travel to Mohmadea - and then head to Cairo again next week - hopefully will find my way to where I am going - maps would be a great idea - had a few suggestions about finding one online - so will see if I can do that - then at least I might have a vague idea of where I am going. Got on the ring road and went just about all the way around - ended up at the exit for the Alexandria Agricultural road and opted to head on back - rather than try to find my way around in rush hour traffic. Actually contemplated making a U-turn - but there was a major accident on the way back onto the ring road - and the traffic was backed up at least 2-3 km. - so just headed home.

The adventures of living in a country where one cannot read the road signs and unfortunately not all the signs are bilingual. I have a tough enough time trying to speak the language - let alone reading it. Big SIGH.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just a short note to let everyone know that I am on the road again.

Had a wonderful two days in Mohmodea - with Suzanne and her family - was so quiet and peaceful. Sitting on their balcony watching the Nile as I read from my scriptures. Yes, I am keeping my goal - so far - have managed to get ahead - plan was to read 10 pages a day from the Doctrine and Covenants - which would mean that I would complete it within Ramada - am on page 100 - any time I have I just sit and read and feel such peace - have missed that. Had planned on being in Mohmodea for only 1 day - but ended up staying for 2 - Sunday was the first day back at school - and it was little Mohammed's (aka Mr. Bounce) first day of school and Mom really wanted to be there for that - so we stayed. Arrived back in Alex Sunday afternoon - back to the noise and mayhem.

Monday was club - was great to be there - lots of women in attendance - everyone is back from their summer away from Alex. After club we went San Stefano - watched people eating lunch - after they finished eating we went to Metro and I picked up a few groceries - decided I wanted to try my hand at spanakopita - so bought some phyllo pastry, feta cheese and frozen spinach.

Yesterday I made up the spanakopita also made some samosas - had not made them in many years - invited Sharon over to share iftar with me - the spanakopitas turned out really well - if I may say so myself. Of course had lots of stuffing left over - such is life. Got iftar on the table a bit late - was delayed by Aymn - he came to life after 4 and wanted to chat - so chatted with him for a bit. Sounds as if he will be there for an indeterminate length of time - border is still closed - he had to pay to get into the country as a 'driver's assistant' - so is not too keen on leaving as he will have problems getting back into Libya.

Today I am off to Cairo - so I am - BIG GULP - going to try to find my way with no map - just some directions - sure wish I could get my hands on a good map of Cairo - but I doubt one exists. So wish me luck - will make sure I have plenty of gas so if I take many 'scenic routes' I will not run out of gas. Not sure how long I will be staying - will depend on how long my friend and her family can put up with me - LOL.

Then when I get back - I am planning on heading back to Mohmodea next Monday for 5 days minimum - a week maximum. Everyone wants me just to stay forever - but I am spoiled I like my own bed. So we shall see how things go.

Anyway - TTFN - let the adventures begin. Will keep you posted as I can.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today is the first day of Ramadan. During this time I am going to be working on my faith. I need to start saying my prayers regularly - starting with baby steps - my goal is to say one prayer a day, then work my way up. I want to read from my scriptures and study - I receive four lessons every week for the Sunday School lesson. I have been saving all of them for when I have time - well I am going to make time - would be nice if I could print them out - but as of yet my printer is not hooked up and even if it were I am sure there is no ink - so....

Aymn arrived back from Libya early Tuesday morning - I had the honour of getting up at 3 a.m. and driving to pick him up. He came back with one of his truck driver buddies. I was supposed to pick him up not all that far from the house - but the truck was having mechanical problems - gas filter was leaking - so I had to drive 1/2 way to Borg el Arab to find them. Then we had to drive through Agamy looking for a filter and all but one of the gas stores was closed - and it did not have the right one - so we drove back to the truck - unloaded the treasures that Aymn has brought back - he purchased a refrigeration unit and is bringing it back - to be sold - and he also brought a bunch of watermelons from Marsa Metrouh - I asked for 4 or 5 and got 11 - they are small ones - which is good. They are very tasty watermelons - best ones I have had since I left Libya. He spent most of our time together sleeping - said he would be heading back to Libya Wednesday evening - so went to spend time with the family - and surprise, surprise - he is not heading out until tonight sometime - ARGH. I gave him a lift with the watermelons that he was taking for his family - and he wanted me to drop him at the top of the street - not take him to the apartment building and I just disregarded this request and drove up to the building. Dropped him with his 10 watermelons and Sharon and I carried on to Carrefour - I had basically no meat in the house - so went to get some. Bought 2 kg of chicken breasts and 1 kg of 'steak'. Should be set for quite some time. I do not really think Aymn will be spending a lot of time with me during this Ramadan. He is planning on spending a lot of time in Libya - if he can get across the border - he went last week and spend five days trying to get across - they closed the border to Egyptians unless you were a truck driver delivering goods or are married to a Libyan. He figures he will 'pass' as a driver assistant and then he will likely just stay until he gets all of his business complete - so I figure he will just stay for as long as he can.

I cannot understand why he lies to his family. He went to visit Mom and told her he had just arrived in Egypt - LIE. He then went on and on about how upset he is with Suzanne and Gehan because they 'took' me to the engagement party - not true - I did not go with either one of them - met up with Gehan and was with Mom and Suzanne's kids - but not Suzanne. And told Mom that he never said I could go to the party - another lie - I asked him twice and he said fine - then changed his mind because Amel and kids were going - and told me he was not going - so I went - caused major problems for no reason that I can see - but he has lumped me with Amel and does not believe that I can be civil to her and the kids in a social gathering - oh well - their loss. I just do not GET it - why this is such a big deal. Oh well - not my problem - at least I don't think it is. I did nothing wrong and I have just as much right to attend family gatherings as Amel and the kids do, but of course Amel does not see it that way - she is still hoping that I am going to disappear. So sorry to have to disappoint her.

Today I went and paid the telephone bill - the last international bill I will have for a very long time. They cut the service because I missed a payment and to get it reinstated Aymn has to go to the telephone company downtown and get it reinstated and he does not appear to be in any hurry to do this for me so I am unable to make international calls. And the computer program I was using is no longer functioning since I got the computer fixed - ARGH.

Tonight I will be heading to Mom's to break the fast with the family. Then I think tomorrow I am heading out to Mohmodea with Suzanne and family and spending a day or so out there. She
'needs' me to spend some time with her - and since I am going to be on my own - why not.

Then I am planning a trip to Cairo to visit Safa and her girls for a few days next week. Will try to get into the habit of travelling to Cairo and environs at least once a month. There is better shopping - a lot more ex pats so more foreign goodies. And it is only 2.5 hours away - not a really big deal. Because I am a Canadian and have wheels - hence I will travel - LOL.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I AM SO SORRY!!!! I forgot to mention that my friend Safa and I got together last month - not that I forgot - but I did forget to mention it in my blog entry. I had met Safa on line quite awhile ago. We are both transplanted Canadians - she lives in Cairo (well 10th of Ramadan actually) and has 5 wonderful children - 4 beautiful girls and one very adorable little boy - who was born in May while I was in Canada - he is a real Michelin man - so cute. She and her second eldest daughter came over to my place for a visit on the Friday - we had a wonderful chat - albeit much to short. Then on Sunday night she called and told me that they were heading back to Cairo on Monday - so I walked over to the place they were staying at and visited until 2 in the morning - I did not have a hubby phoning to ask where I was and how long I was staying for. I had the honour of meeting the rest of her girls - as well as her sister in law and her five girls - and her brother in law and last but not least Safa's husband. It was a very brief visit with her hubby - came in around midnight with the older girls and promptly went to watch TV - euphemism for falling asleep on the couch. But it was really great to finally meet her in person - we had chatted together online and on the phone - and now I am going to work up my courage and go and visit her at her place - her husband is heading back to Canada - so I will sneak in while he is out of town - I am soooo bad. I have not yet decided when I will go - but I really do want to go spend some time with Safa and her wonderful family. Not sure Ramadan is a great time to travel - but .... since when do I worry about doing things the 'right' way.

Am I forgiven now Safa????????
VOILA!!!! After two days and many rest periods I have managed to get my house cleaned. Spent yesterday working in the kitchen - went through the cupboard - what passes for a cupboard here - only complaint I have is that there are no shelves - so stuff just gets piled up and lost - that I keep my spices in. Took me a good 2.5 hours to work my way through it - find out what I have - pitched a fair bit of stuff - grieves me to have to do that - but the onion salt was a solid block - infested with moths - don't ask me - I do not know how it happened. A couple of my other salt spices were also hard - so I pitched them - have learned a valuable lesson - Tupperware spice containers do not keep out the humidity. So now will have to 'save' any spice jars or little jars I get, they do seem to do the trick. Had two bags of goodies on the countertop - one I had purchased and the other was a donation from Sharon. Finally got it together and went through both of them and put the 'treasures' away. Was able to consolidate some of the things - always a bonus. Also did a load of laundry.

Today I got up and had some watermelon - then got busy and finished clearing off one of the countertops and the table - would be so nice to have book shelves to put things in - but so far I have not been fortunate enough to get Aymn to get them made - I think I am going to have to bit the bullet and find a carpenter on my own - will ask some of the ladies that I know - and get the book cases and a TV stand made - would be nice to have the chest of drawers that the TV resides on back in the spare bedroom. Would also like to get busy and get a chest of drawers for my bedroom - don't know if I can find one to match - may end up getting it made as well. Need to spend some time searching for that money tree as well. After I finished clearing off the table and the counter top I did up the dishes from yesterday then put them all away and proceeded to dirty more - made a salad for breakfast - made enough for lunch as well - and had mushrooms, onions and an egg as well as salad for dessert - I know salad for breakfast sounds weird - but I have gotten used to having it - as Aymn always wants a salad for every meal - and it is even good for me. Then I also got ambitious and made some tuna salad so I can have salad and tuna salad for lunch. Also got busy and washed up some grapes and put them in the fridge - mid afternoon snack. I cut up the last piece of the watermelons that I brought back from Marsa Matrouh - best watermelons I have had since I arrived in Egypt. They do not force them to grow - just plant them and then water them when necessary - they were sooooo sweet - yum. I am hoping I can continue with eating better. Even managed to remember to take my pills - multivitamin, iron and calcium. After doing up the breakfast dishes I washed the kitchen floor and then swept the rest of the floors - okay I admit - I did not sweep the spare bedroom or the computer room - maybe tomorrow.

Talked for a short bit with Suzanne - she is in town for a week - getting uniforms made for her two youngest for school. She will be here for a week or so. Planning on spending iftar on the first day of Ramadan with Mom - I will tag along - sure hope Mom's elevator is working - do not really relish the thought of climbing 10 flights of stairs - but I can do it - have had to do it before - must admit it just enforces the knowledge of how out of shape I am. Asked Suzanne if she could find a plumber for me - the drainage in the bathroom is not draining as it should - when I was clothes I have a flood and also when I shower - so it needs to be worked on - as well the toilet is leaking - have been after Aymn for a couple of months to get it done - but .... so will ask Suzanne for help. Also asked her to find someone to come and cut down the glass for the windows. Needs to be done before winter hits - and I am afraid it is coming - sooner rather than later. Will be nice to get those two jobs out of the job jar - not that I have one - but I should.

This past Thursday I took Mom to see about her pension - Aymn had arranged for me to do it on Wednesday but I already had plans - he did not tell her that the plans had changed. I felt like a real schmuck when he called her and she was sitting waiting for me to come and take her - ARGH. So took her on Thursday - had to wait for an hour - no big deal - sat in the car with the a/c going - dragged Sharon along for company - so we sat and visited. Mom was very grateful - felt bad because she had to take the stairs as her elevator was not working - had suggested to Aymn that we wait until the elevator was working - but if she did not look after it by a certain date the money would have been sent back to Cairo - so off we went. I am hoping that Aymn will arrange to have the pension deposited to Mom's bank account and then she will not have to make any more of these trips - would be so much easier for her.

Wednesday - Sharon, Aymn and I went to Carrefour to buy a freezer. They did not have a big enough one - I want one with at least five drawers. The freezers here are like upright ones in the west - but instead of just having shelves there are drawers - I am hoping I will not 'lose' as many things as I did in the chest freezer I had in Canada. They said they will get a new shipment next Wednesday so I will go then - and they have free delivery - so on Thursday I will have a freezer. Then I am going to get a couple cases of mangoes and freeze it so I can have mango smoothies in the winter. YUM. Only challenge I will have will be to find unsweetened juices - but I think for mango I can just add some water.

Aymn headed to Libya Wednesday night - arrived at the border early Thursday morning to find the border was closed to all Egyptian foot traffic - in other words the only Egyptians allowed into the country are the truck drivers that are delivering goods to Libya for Ramadan - and I guess if an Egyptian is married to a Libyan then they can enter. So he is hanging around the border hoping this will be resolved shortly.

I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening weeding one of the flower beds. It was a real mess - the quack grass was choking out the plants - so I had much fun weeding. I find it frustrating that I had no input into the planning of the garden - if I had I would have insisted that the beds be no deeper than I could easily reach across. I do not have much of a head for heights - and getting up into the bed to weed was not my favourite thing to do - but it is done. Now there are just two more to do - they are not nearly as bad - but will need to get on them or they will end up just as bad. I am very stiff and sore from all the clambering about - bending over, crawling on my hands and knees and pulling the danged weeds out. My muscles are complaining. I either need to do this on a regular basis or never. I am leaning towards never, but ....

And that is how I have spent my last week or so.

Tomorrow (the 8th) Miles will be playing football in the final AFL championship. Wishing I could be there - but I cannot - I think he is just as glad that I am not as I think I still embarrass him - although since they are playing at McMahon Stadium in Calgary I do not think he would be able to hear my yelling and cheering on the field. They are playing against a team from Edmonton. Hope all goes well. He is still working at Green Drop - waiting for his end of season bonus - he is their top producer - not sure what his plans are for after the season. Time will tell.

And on that note I shall say TTFN.