Saturday, December 13, 2008

Merry Christmas from Cairo. Yesterday (Friday, Dec. 12) saw a group of ex-pats heading to Cairo to take in the Maadi Women's Bazaar (not the exact name - but you get the idea). The bazaar was held outdoors at the Maadi Degla Sporting Centre - had not realized it would be out of doors - but it was a wonderful day for it - nary a cloud in the sky and certainly no snow. Only drawback was that it was held on the football pitch (soccer fields) and was quite sandy - so got sand in my Birks while wandering around. Could have spent a lot of money - lots of artisans and craftspeople had a lot of neat things for sale. Would have loved to have bought more but the following are pictures of what I 'allowed' myself to purchase. First thing was the funky 'Santa' hat - just could not resist - Sharon insisted on taking a pic to show Maurine - so she would not feel that I only embarras her - must admit I had a lot of fun with it - caused a lot of upraised eyebrows - muslim woman wearing infidel apparel - OMG - had a lot of them thar infidels commenting on it. One woman told me I was so cute she would like to rent me - should have taken her up on her offer - maybe then I could have bought more treasures.

Dont'cha just love my new mug - it was so cute - could not resist. Would have loved two of them but could only really afford one - they were 25LE each - about $5.00 CDN.

And then there are the alabaster candle holders - the look so cool with the tea lights inside showing off the 'design'. Took the pictures on my dining room table - hence the reflection off the glass top. They were really expensive - 10LE each (about $2.00 CDN) - so I splurged and bought two.

I just love the different view depending on which side you look at. Really glad that I splurged. At the same booth they had a wonderful alabaster 'plate' - rounded oblong - would have looked great as a centerpiece but could not afford it. At another booth Mr. Mohammed - he is a frequent seller at AWA - had a really great table runner for Christmas - again too rich for my blood at the moment. If I could have I would have dropped a sizable bundle - lots of things caught my eye. Will have to make plans to go next year (if I am still here) and stock up on 'treasures' - so many things that could have been taken back to Canada as unique gifts. SIGH. Isn't it always the way - when one has the money there is no time for 'shopping' and when one has time there is no money - God's little joke on us.
Must admit that it was a long day - had to be at the meeting point by 8:00 a.m. - so woke up at 5 so I could get breakfast before I headed out. Opted to take a cab as I did not want to have to try to extricate my car and then drive on a Friday night after dark. The meeting point was a popular mall in the area of Smoha - and it was jam packed when we got back - so I was very glad I had been a chicken. We arrived in Cairo and of course got lost - bus driver did not know where we were going and map reading is a definite lost art in this part of the world. We made it to the venue a bit after 12 (noon) which was not bad - and we headed back out by 4:15 p.m. Arrived back in Alex around 9 - got home around 9:30 and crashed by 10:00 - I was one tired puppy - a lot of walking and sitting on a bus. Amazing how tiring travel can be. Must admit that I do not notice being so tired when I do the driving myself - but that is just me.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Today is the 2nd day of Eid - yesterday the streets ran red with blood - and I have the pictures to prove it. In the above pictures - if you look closely you can see them working on skinning a cow that has been slaughtered. Aymn was of course with his family. Margaret and Sharon spent the day with me. Margaret had been delivered the night before - she had not interest in being around while the animals were slaughtered by her husband and family - so she came here and brought her 'baby' a seven month old kitten named Tootoose - who is a very amiable and friendly kitty - who loved the opportunity to roam around a much larger abode and then to have the balcony as well - all with no leash - he was in heaven. We had a pleasant visit. Sunday evening our friend Penny came over and we enjoyed a warm drink and nice chat. Monday morning got up early - Margaret's kitty - Tootoose was intent on being up and about as soon as the noise started - at around 5:12 a.m. I managed to stay in bed until shortly after 7 then got up and made coffee for Margaret. We had a very leisurely morning - eventually made breakfast - Margaret does not like to wake up and eat - she has to wake up slowly. After breakfast I made more bread - this time with a bit of a difference. I remember making sun dried tomato bread in Canada and I decided to try to make it with the pocket break - sans the sun dried tomatoes - and they turned out quite nicely. I have included a picture of the pockets in the oven. I am always so pleased when they puff up - not that they taste any different - but ...

Weather has turned - yesterday was cloudy and cool - rained in the evening - enough that the streets are now cleaned up. Today was sunny - but not very warm. Aymn dropped over for a few hours - brought me my 'share' of the sheep that he slaughtered and butchered yesterday - thank goodness he did not do it here - although it would have been done on the balcony - but he had to do it in the bathroom in the tub - lucky person who got to clean up that mess and I will wager big money that it was not Aymn. Then he dragged me to mom's for a visit - would rather have stayed in - but he decided that I needed to get out of the house. Do not know when he will get it that I really do hate having to get dressed to go out - I usually just throw on my wrap dress - but he does not like it - why do you always wear the same thing -hmmm - because that is all I have and I like not having to change to go out and then change when I get back home - so nice just to throw on the dress over what I am wearing - one of our many differences - he is so worried about his looks and what people think - and I do not care - as long as I am decent and it is clean - who cares???? Answer to that is Aymn. Am hoping that after Eid I will be able to make a trip out to Mohmadeah and get the fabric made up - then I will have six wrap dresses - and he will like none of them - the fabric is bright and patterned - oh well - I will like them - and that is all that really matters to me. Aymn is heading back to Libya tomorrow - no idea when he will be back - told me that he will work at being here for Christmas - but will not hold my breath - he is really great at telling me what he thinks I want to here and then not following through - so I will not believe it until I see him - and will not bank on it at all. Will be a very quiet day - as I am unable to do much in the way of baking or cooking - money is too tight - cannot afford to purchase a turkey - they are sooooo expensive - and you can never find a decent sized chicken - biggest one might be 1.5 kg - not really worth stuffing. So will just work on forgetting that it is Christmas - treat it like any other day.

Did buy stamps - so will get to work on sending out Christmas cards - they will be late - but such is life. Have to 'find' my cards and get busy writing notes and addressing them. Will keep me busy for a few days likely. So much easier to just type up a Christmas letter - but no ink for my printer - so my handwriting will be sorely tested. My apologies in advance for my poor penmanship.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ta da - I rolled out of bed this morning - just a bit before seven and after eating two bananas (Egyptian bananas are not very large) I headed out for a walk - yes you read it right - I am endeavouring to get back on the workout schedule - walked for a total of 40 minutes - had a 10 minute break - sat and watched the sea - must admit my pace certainly slowed as I got closer to home - but hey I did it. Now I am going to work on getting some baking done for Christmas - not doing a whole lot - but want a few favourites around.

I think I may have briefly touched on my new bread making endeavour - pocket or pita bread. Now I have no problem making 'western' bread - but I do struggle with making pocket bread - Aymn very kindly brought me 50 kg of flour - so I have been playing around learning how to make it 'properly'. Must admit that the first few tries were not very successful. I brought back yeast from Canada - and it works really well. But still did not have a very great success rate with getting the pockets to puff up. Aymn asked a friend of his what the problem was - showed him a 'sample' of the bread I had made - this friend is a baker - and he gave me a couple of tips - so following those tips I made bread the other day - 25 pockets and out of 25 17 puffed up - YEAH. Of course the downer was that Aymn came along and criticized the ones that did not puff - I had done this wrong or that wrong and next time do not do this or do that - ARGH - managed to really take the wind out of my sails - so to speak - but I got over it - and am quite proud of my accomplishments - would have taken pictures by I did not have my camera at the time - next time I will take pics and post them. Must admit the bread I make is much better than the stuff Aymn made - it was tough as cardboard - at least mine is quite tender. The recipe is very easy - but the trick is to get it to puff up - and I am slowly getting it right. I feel quite tickled when I have a piece of bread and I can make pocket sandwiches now - WOO HOO. Such a life I lead.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My apologies. I have had computer issues and Aymn finally got around to fixing it - not sure how long it will last for - is not working properly yet - still cannot download anything - ARGH.

Last Thursday I was invited to celebrate Thanksgiving with my friend Rose and her husband Dan and and eclectic group of people. Food was terrific. I made buns - yes have started making break - I make pocket bread for Aymn and I made my favourite 'Fermipan' buns - Aymn would not eat them - but I certainly enjoyed them and there were not many left after supper on Thursday. I got very brave and drove the car - had not planned on it - because it was Thursday and in the evening - and I do hate driving at night here and on Thursday it is even worse - there are even more idiots on the road - hard to believe - but it is true. Made it home in one piece - thank God. Had a lot of fun - meeting new people - listening to the conversations that took place - sitting outside - enjoying the weather.

Now I am trying to stir myself to do some baking for Christmas - just do not seem to have the initiative to do it- mainly because I know I will be on my own - so not much fun. But will try to work up some enthusiasm.

Aymn will be heading to Libya on the 10th of December after spending Eid with his family. Must admit I do resent the fact that he always has to spend Eid with his family - but he makes no effort to spend any holidays with me - and he cannot figure why I get pissy.

He has had to attend court twice - only reason he came back to Egypt when he did was because he had a court date. This case is a holdover from an incident that occurred two years ago - when a young fellow cut him off and he took exception and it ended up with Aymn beating him up - young man pressed charges and Aymn was found guilty - fined 50 pounds and a month in jail - he appealed the jail time - lawyer lied about his being in Egypt - so he had to go again and again to give the injured party a chance to show up - he did not - so now Aymn figures that it is over. Never ceases to amaze me how they can justify lying and cheating. Just boggles this little western mind.

He has one more court date - this one on another incident. When he sold his car he did not insist that the new owner get new plates. And two or three months after the car was sold the new owner got into an accident and a fight - and they used the plates to track down the 'owner'. So Aymn had to get a copy of the sales receipt for the car and will present it to the judge next Sunday.

Not much else to report - life is pretty much the same. Must admit this business having my finances mucked up sure do put a crimp in my life. God willing things will improve. Just have to be patient.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I am very impressed with myself - I FINALLY got the house all cleaned up after being vacant for two months - and in the process I even managed to part with 'treasures' that I no longer use - this is a very impressive feat as I am known to be a bit of a pack rat. Must admit that having to dejunk when I left Canada certainly makes it easier to get rid of superfluous 'stuff' - leaves room for things that I need and use. Even cleaned the microwave and toaster oven - toaster oven looks like it is new. Actually need to clean the stove/oven - sigh - never ending this business of cleaning house - but at least the bulk of the cleaning is done and now I just have the 'normal' accumulation to deal with.

Today I went out and got a few things at the produce market - got some bananas, grapes, lettuce (thank goodness it is lettuce season - soon there will be lots of romaine lettuce and the head lettuce will be great as well), tomatoes and cucumbers - the latter two are staples in an Egyptian home - as they regularly have a salad with tomatoes and cucumbers. Even got busy and made a salad - so now there is salad in the fridge - no excuse not to eat it - I always have good intentions and then the thought of making a salad just does me in - it is such a chore - not really- but do find it tough to 'cook' for one person - hope to work on that aspect of being on my own - I know I need to eat better - but it is so easy not to.

Today after the produce market I took Sharon to the post office - she had received an 'official' notice that she had something to pick up - a handwritten note on a piece of recycled paper - think all it said was her name - of course it was all in Arabic - she uses my home address as her place does not have a street name - let alone an address.

Looked like it was going to rain in the morning - black clouds gathering on the sea and coming inland - we got a few drops - but nothing that amounted to anything - so I was a good suzy homemaker and watered the garden - managed to get rid of two ant colonies in the process - now I need to restock on the Raid - although I am tempted to go with the corn meal -although I have yet to find any of what I would call corn meal - what they call corn meal is very fine - almost like flour - but should give it a try - a lot less costly than the Raid.

Last night went with Suzanne and visited Mom - Gehan was also visiting so it was nice - got to kill two birds with one stone. Gehan will be getting ready to head to Mecca for Hajj - I think she leaves in a week to ten days - she is very blessed - earlier in the summer she headed to Mecca for Omrah - a mini hajj - same procedures/routine - but not as 'important' as doing Hajj. She entered the lottery and won - so she and her husband are able to go at a subsidized rate - both of them can go for what it would normally cost one to go. Would be nice to be able to go over for a visit before they leave - but I doubt that will happen as there is no way I will go on my own. You have to visit in the evening and I refuse to drive at night in this city - parking is a disaster and driving is bad enough during the day - but even worse at night. Very few people drive with their headlights on - so ....

Yesterday Sharon and I went to AWA - was kind of nice to go - but expensive - had to pay my membership - 50 LE as well as the weekly fee of 15 LE and then paid for my ticket to head to Cairo on the 14th of December to take in the Maadi Women's Guild 2008 Christmas Bazaar - looking forward to the break - but will not really be able to enjoy it as I will not have any money to spend - but such is life.

Anyhoo - that is my big news for the week - not much to report.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

This is my cuzzy Maurine - taken on October 25 - at her house - we are fonduing. Thanks for the fondue - was so yummy. Brings back many wonderful memories - and not because the pot and some of the dishes are mine - LOL - we joked that if I were to move back to Canada we would have to have joint custody of the the dishes.

This is a picture of Chris (Maurine's hubby) and Maurghan (their daughter) enjoying the fondue. Notice Chris's left arm - quite the contraption on it - he managed to trip over a tire at work and break his arm - and instead of a cast they put an outer device on it.

Have been back in Egypt for a little over a week - have yet to have the pleasure of my husband's company. From promising he would be here to pick me up at the airport - to having no idea when he will be around - why am I not too terribly surprised - upset - but not surprised.

Arrived safely bright and early Wednesday morning - the 29th of October. Was met by Aymn's best buddy Mohammed - thank God for him - he can be counted on. He brought me home and dropped me off.

Came into the house and was met by a plethora of very busy spiders and moths - have been busy killing moths as soon as I see them - my moth killing skill have come back and I am very good. The spiders are slowly but surely being brought down to a controllable number. Interesting the room where I 'left' my gecko has very few cobwebs and not many spiders have I seen - I think I need to get myself an army of geckos.

Wednesday I did a bit of unpacking then got a few hours of sleep - then phoned Sharon and we were off - made the mistake of driving down the corniche - what a zoo - had thought it would be down to a manageable 'roar' - but not so - seems the idiot's convention has lasted a lot longer than planned and some of them cannot find their way home - OMG. One of the benefits of everyone being eligible for a car loan - will be interesting to see what happens as the economy continues to nose dive. Must admit I certainly do miss the orderly driving in Canada. Made it to Fathalla and got a few groceries that I had to have.

Have been attempting to get my kitchen in some semblance of order - but it is tough when there are not nearly enough shelves in the cupboards - piling stuff just does not seem to work very well - would love to get more shelves in the cupboards - Aymn has said it can be done - but the big question is 'will' it get done - I doubt it. I have managed - with the help of a 'shelf' that I bought in Calgary got my spice cupboard in some semblance of order - of course would be great if there were more shelves - we shall see.

Even have managed to get the fridge dunged out - had to find room in the freezer for meat that I had purchased on Tuesday - had not much for meat in the house - besides canned tuna - also got the fridge nice and clean - must admit there were a few experiments that went awry - but all is good now - and hopefully I can keep things on the up and up.

Unfortunately Aymn's business has taken a serious nosedive along with the economy - he had 85% of his eggs in one basket - copper - and copper has dropped by just about 50% - so ..... he is madly scrambling in another direction - but the price of scrap metal has also plummeted - so he is madly running around trying to catch his tail - good luck on that one.
It is cauliflower season here - and I must admit the cauliflower tastes like nothing I have ever tasted before - it is 'buttery' - I bought a head of it and must get busy and make some soup. Also need to boil some eggs for pickled eggs - but for some strange reason my cooking desires have up and left me - but must push myself. Today on the list is to get the last two upper cupboards dunged out and tidied up. Then all I have left is the lower cabinets - not a big rush on them - but should get at them as well - clean out the cobwebs and whatever creatures have made their homes there.

Weather has been wonderful - warm and sunny - athough I must admit the humidity is taking a bit of getting used to - quite enjoyed the aridity (?) of Calgary - not much sweating going one - except when I was working out - but no snow. Garden - well the weeds are thriving - plants are holding their own. In one of the pots there are some volunteer sweet peas coming - so I guess I should get busy and plant some more seeds. Seems strange to be seeding in November - but such is life here in Egypt. Also want to try to grow some tiny tomatoes - they are so yummy - and do not take a lot of space - just a couple of pots.

I want to thank all my friends in Canada for their warm welcome - I had so much fun. These pictures were taken at my friend Tina's place - she bought me the hat - as you can tell I LOVE walking to the beat of my own drum - if Aymn had met me at the airport I would have worn one of my new 'hats' - but I restrained myself as Mohammed would not have been amused and he is a nice guy so would not want to embarras him - whereas Aymn deserves it - I am so mean.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ta da - went and got my hairs cut yesterday. Virginia, who currently resides up the hill from my parent's home, is a hairdresser and she is awesome. Feels so good to have a 'good' haircut - wish I could take her back to Egypt in my pocket - I am sure she would be kept very busy as she is a 'bona fide' hair dresser and very good at her profession.

Must admit I need to work on my technique for taking photos of myself - LOL. Not that I want to make this a practice as I do not really like having my picture taken - but sometimes it just needs to be done.

Aymn noticed right away - had chatted with him before I got the hair cut and then chatted with him again after the cut. He asked me if I had it coloured - told him no -could not afford it - besides I like it like this - what do you think???

Aymn will likely not be back in Egypt to meet me at the airport - business and all. Logically I do not mind - in fact I quite enjoy it when I arrive on my own - although I do like to have someone there to pick me up as I arrive out in the boonies at 2:30 a.m. or thereabouts - but it is nice to have some time to unwind before I have to 'deal' with everything else. But there is a little part that just niggles at me - he has no problem making it home for Eid for his family - just puts business on hold - he has yet to miss an Eid with them - but he cannot make the effort - put the business on hold for me - SIGH. Ah well - such is life.

I am certainly enjoying my time here in Canada - hard to go back - does not seem like I have had enough time to visit with people. Next time I come I am going to kidnap MDM and take her away for a few days so we can just spend time with each other. Never seem to be able to spend enough time with her. Also have not had enough time with Deb, did not seem to get to go out for lunch or wander around Costco with her - miss that - although now that the fog has dissipated we did manage one trip to Costco - and then got blown around afterwards - what a storm. Wanted to make it out to Pinawa to visit some old friends - but time and money were agin me. Next time. I had a great time in TO with my buddy there - next time will spend more time - so be warned. Also need to spend more time with the folks. Just seems to be lots more time is needed. But next time I will not be spending time with Miles and Shani - so that will give me more 'free' time. Sorry Tina, your invitation will be used, the accomodation and company are wonderful and the price of a reservation is cooking a few meals - small price to pay. Also missed spending time in my old church ward - but as luck would have it - just turned out that it was 'easier' (read less costly) to head to the nearest ward - rather than driving halfway across the city. Next time though. And of course there were lots of people that I did not even get to see - got to chat with some of them - next time I will be more together - this time was kind of messed up - too much to ponder and wonder about.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hard to believe that this time next week I will be enroute back to Egypt - where has the time gone. As the time draws closer to leave I get more anxious and less 'happy' about returning to Egypt. I am looking forward to being in my own place - my own bed - but that is about the extent of it. Not looking forward to dealing with issues that require attention - SIGH - but alas I can no longer bury my head in the sand - need to get back - bite the bullet and get things straightened out - in shaa allah (God willing).

I am in BC at my parent's place. Have been here for 10 days - unfortunately have been unwell for a great part of the time - SIGH. Came down with something last Monday - great way to spend Thanksgiving - was in bed most of the day - crawled out of bed to set the table - took some food and could barely eat a bite of much - so frustrating - had been so looking forward to chowing down on the wonderful turkey dinner that was prepared. Have gotten over the fever and the chills - but have a wonderful 'cough' - cough so long and hard I am sure my toenails are coming up - sure hope I can shake this before I take off.

Arrived here in BC on the 10th - had an uneventful trip - saw no wildlife on the road - and on Saturday went to Yahk to spend time with my friend Michele and her family who were there - spent the day outside sitting around a fire - haven't smelled that good in a lot of years - LOL. The cooks were busy - we were served chili, cream of potato/corn soup, and stewp - all of which were delicious - good food, good company = good times.

We took off for the States on the 16th - did not buy much - lack of funds and really not much caught my eye - did manage to pick up a couple pair of clip on sunglasses for my glasses - which is a good thing. We left dad in Sandpoint at Staples while mom and I continued on down to Couer d'Alene - wanted to stock up on some embroidery floss for my cross stitch - but the store we went down to no longer carries DMC floss ARGH - then we stopped in at Michaels - they had some - but not all - so will have to see what I can find back in Calgary - would like to get the colours I want so I can work on the projects - not that I do not have any projects that I could start in Egypt - but these onces caught my eye - like the other's didn't - I know I am soooo bad. Am determined to continue working on my cross stitch once I get back to Egypt - need to keep myself occupied and that is something I enjoy doing and it keeps my hands busy. We took so long that I figured dad would have been hired - but they were not quite quick enough. While he was hanging around he found himself a computer chair that he liked - so we brought that back.

Must admit it is 'interesting' going through the Border when you live in Egypt - get a lot of looks. Was not too surprised at the interest that was sparked when I went through to the States - but was a tad surprised when I was questioned when we came back to Canada - even with my Canadian passport - nothing terrible - just more questions than I am used to - such is life.

Weather here has been quite nice - have had one day of rain - yesterday (Monday) and for the most part it has been quite sunny and relatively warm - I am sure my Egyptian family would not agree that it is warm - but for Canada it has been very nice - no snow as of yet - there is snow at higher elevations - but nothing yet where we are. Although when I drove out here there were a few flakes in the higher elevations - nothing that stuck though.

Below is a picture taken from my parent's back yard - looking north up the mountain - trying to get that burst of colour - I love the fall colours - miss them a lot.

Above is a picture that I took at the border - it was such a calm day - I could not resist - the water looks like a mirror.

This is me with my new hat - gotta love it - dontcha??? Bought it while Maurine and I were at Banff - first time we went I was tempted - but discretion won out - but then I did not buy the hat at Niagara Falls - so this time I just could not resist - must admit I luvvvvved the look on Maurine's face as we walked down the street in Banff - wish I had taken a pic. Luv ya cuzzy.

Here is Maureen and Maurine - Maurine is trying not to get poked in the eye with the antlers - we had sooo much fun.

We were unable to find a moose crossing sign - we saw a few elk crossing signs - but did not stop at them - found this one - and opted to go for it - gotta love the wildlife you find in Alberta - LOL.

Here we are in Yahk - enjoying the weather. I shall be kind and not name any names.

And here is the fire - looking nice and toasty warm. Can you tell that the people are chilly - arms all crossed trying to keep warm.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Wow - where has the time gone - anyone see a theme running through my trip back to Canada.

I am now living with a very good friend - Tina and her hubby Sav - she has opened her home to me at anytime - and I have taken her up on it. Not sure if she thinks it is such a good idea now - LOL. Although I do try to make myself somewhat useful - if I am around I cook supper - as both are out working - she has asked me if I really need to go back to Egypt - she will hire me as her cook - LOL. Not a bad idea. There is a bedroom in the basement where I hang my hat - and right next door is a bathroom with a wonderful 2 person jacuzzi tub - needless to say I am really enjoying being able to soak on a regular basis - nothing like it to relax a stressed out soul.

Due to 'circumstances' it has been decided that I will not be staying with Miles and Shani again. My visiting and staying with them is too much of a burden on Miles as he is very protective of 'his' space. After all I decided to move to Egypt and he never understood it to mean that I would be 'living' with him again - so.... enough said.

Weather here has been wonderful - considering it is October. Last Thursday a temperature record was broken - it had been set in a very long time ago - it was a beautiful day - things have cooled down a bit - there is definitely a 'bite' in the air now - certainly feels like fall. Must admit I do miss the seasons - Egypt seems to have two - summer and winter - the transition is so short that it is usually missed. Sort of like passing through a small town in Saskatchewan - blink and you have missed it. Miss the smells that the seasons bring - nothing like it. When I drive to Creston - I will roll down the window when I get to the vicinity and I will smell apples on the wind - in spring you smell the blossoms - and as you drive through the mountains the smell of evergreen is fantastic - definitely miss these things.

Last night I was 'dragged' to a candle party - if I lived here I could see myself spending a lot of money - thank goodness I do not have room to take the treasures home. I must admit it was fun smelling all the scents that they have - has anyone noticed how nice they perceive the sea to smell - supposed to be a soothing scent - well let me tell you no beach or sea has ever smelled that sweet - although I am sure the 'true' scent would not be a big seller.

Thursday evening I was 'dragged' to a jewellery party - left my wallet at home - only thing I was tempted by was a man's silver ring - could have stood in for a wedding band for Aymn - but I am not 100% sure of his ring size - just know his finger is very large - and I was not sure it would arrive in time - saved by the bell. There were a lot of very nice things - very pretty - mostly done in silver though - and I do not have a lot of silver anymore - gold seems to be the way to go in Egypt and I am not complaining. Although the young girls seem to wear a lot of silver - not nearly as expensive as gold - so they can have fun mixing and matching and not be completely broke.

I spent Friday with Maurine - we went to Mountain Equipment Coop - more commonly referred to as MEC - I went looking for a backpack that I could use in Egypt for carrying my gym stuff to the gym and also use for 'day trips'. I am tired of buying backpacks that fall apart in a heartbeat. Miles bought a backpack 8 years ago when he went up north to work - he took it on his mission - he still has it - looks a bit worse for wear - but has not fallen apart yet. I always assumed that their bags were pricey - but I was wrong - I got a really nice 14L pod bag for only $24.00 - but of course found other things I just had to have. Have been looking for a water bottle that has a straw in it - as I do not like tipping up the water bottle to drink when I am driving - found a 1 L one there - environmentally friendly, non toxic - for $14.00 - also have been keeping my eye open for a travel clock that has a light so that I can see the time at night - found a Timex with Indiglo - for $21.00 - pricier than I would have liked - but I have not seen any - so ..... I also purchased a Canadian flag decal to put on my backpack - must be patriotic. I also found a 'bag' for Aymn - last year I bought him a leather purse for keeping his essential papers in - and it is falling apart - stitching is coming apart - figured this one might last better - hope he uses it - if not I will - no problems there. Maurine bought me a medium sized travel bag for my makeup - actually transferred everything into it this morning and threw out the one I had been using - is very nice - has a hook on it so you can hang it up - lots of places to put things.

Went back to MEC yesterday (Saturday) with Tina - she liked the idea of the pod bag - so she bought herself one and of course found treasures that she had to have - prior to entering the store she had no intention of purchasing a membership - but she ended up getting one - lots of really neat things for camping and since she and Sav have a really nice trailer - she saw lots of treasures that would be oh so useful. I ended up buying myself a tiny pocket knife and a little light to attach to my key ring - always useful to have one when you end up doing the stairs and the lights go out. I had one - and dad 'fixed' it for me - but the piece that attached it to the key ring broke - so I could never find it in my bag - and then it just all fell apart. Will get it out of my bag and put it in my bedside table - or somewhere else for when the power fails - which it does quite regularly.

I am going to be spending tomorrow with Maurine again - never seem to have enough time with her - this business of her having to work for a living is a real kill joy - and she has taken on another job - so she is even busier - SIGH. Maybe next time I come we can arrange to 'holiday' for a few days together. We have so much fun together. We may be taking off for Banff again - I was informed that she does not want to stay in Calgary - I am up for it.

Have not been taking many pictures this trip - not sure why - but I rarely remember to take my camera with me when I go out. Should pack up my backpack and just start taking it with me when I go out. What a concept.

Friday (Oct. 10) I head out to BC to spend two weeks with my parents - looking forward to a wonderful turkey dinner for Thanksgiving - will have to hold me over for Christmas as well - because I will not be cooking a turkey again in Egypt - LOL. Christmas this year will be nothing special - oh well - such is life. Maurine has expressed a wish that I would be here for Christmas - nice idea - but not sure I am ready for the snow and cold - LOL. And must admit that I am looking forward to being 'home' in my own bed, I love visiting but it gets to me after a while - miss having my own place. Am looking forward to spending time with my parents - hope to get a trip to the States - will see how it goes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Time is sure flying - but I am having fun - that is good.

I am in TO visiting my buddy - we have been having a lot of fun. Monday we headed to Niagara Falls - have never been there - we got a bit of a late start and then took the 'scenic' route - so we did not arrive very early - all the 'attractions' - the Maid of the Mist (boat ride) and the observation deck were already closed by the time we got there - but it was wonderful to see the Falls - talk about awesome - makes one feel very insignificant in this world. We had a lot of fun - took lots of pictures - if the computer cooperates I will upload a few of them. We are thinking that next time we will spend a night - so much to do and see - would not want to go there during the high holiday season - I can imagine it would be a real zoo - would feel like I was in Egypt - and I do not appreciate the crowds.

Weather here has been pretty good - although as per usual the weekend was wet - although we did some walking in the rain as it was in the mid teens - so not too bad for walking in the rain - Sunday night there were big winds (we did not experience them where we are) - big enough to topple trees and of course they fell on cars - so people were not happy - they are attributing the winds to the last huffs and puffs of Hurricane Ike. Gas prices increased 15 cents overnight - talk about gouging the public. Must admit this just gets my back up - they are so fast to hike the price when there is the slightest increase in the price of oil - but when oil prices fall - it takes forever for the price at the pumps to reflect the decrease.

Thursday will see me heading back to Calgary - where I will be hanging my hat for a couple more weeks before I head out to Creston to spend the last leg of my holiday with my parents. Will actually meet up with my folks on the 21st of Sept. as my dad has an eye appointment on the 22nd - so will be good to see them. Figured I would spend Thanksgiving with them - as I will be in the country - and since I am using their car - best plan was to save the visit until just before I departed so I would not have to pay to drive out there twice - with the price of gas as high as it is. Must admit I do not look forward to the bus trip back to Calgary - I am thoroughly spoiled - but such is life.

A wonderful shot of the falls - awesome.

Dig the hat - I do believe I will have started a new fashion trend - on the green 'ribbon' it says 'Let's Party'.

Me and Safa with the falls behind us.

The two of us in front of one of the gardens.

Me with the falls behind me - notice the rainbow over my right shoulder.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Here it is Sunday, August 31 - tomorrow is the first day of Ramadan - Ramadan Kareem to all my muslim friends.

This is the last long weekend of the summer - and as per usual it has been cool and wet. Friday was a nice day - Saturday we had some sun - then it started to rain in the evening and is still cloudy - not sure if it is raining at the moment - but when you go out it smells like earthworms - and wet. Miles is very happy for the rain - he has been working very hard on the grass - he had just put some more seed down so is tickled green with the cool damp weather - great for new grass.

I spent most of Thursday and Friday with my sister Marian, and some of her brood. My eldest niece has recently moved back to Calgary and had a baby at the end of July - so it was quite a gathering - my youngest nephew was with my sister - he has decided - after living for 2.5 years with his father in Nanaimo,BC - to move back with his mom. Friday my niece dragged us on a 'short' walk to the Farmer's Market - only to get there after they were closed - so then we walked a 'bit' further to an ice cream shop - mmmmmm - very good ice cream - we then had to walk 12 blocks home. Unfortunately I was wearing my sandals so my right foot is giving me grief.

Thursday evening I drove out to Okotoks and spent the evening with a good friend of mine - left much to late - did not get home until around 11:30 - 4:30 a.m. came much to early - after working out at the gym on Friday I hit the hay for a few more hours of sleep.

I have been going to the gym every day - meet up with my workout buddies at 6 a.m. and exercise and then on my way home by 7:30 - unless I go out to Tim Horton's for hot chocolate and a donut - only done that once - LOL.

I have been busy with visiting friends - although I must admit the list gets shorter every time I come back - but such is life. I have also been busy shopping for my list of must haves to take back to Egypt when I head back.

I am hoping to spend some time with Maurine this coming week - she has been busy working - and her husband broke his arm and wrist last Wednesday - when I spoke with her last night he was still in the hospital - she is quite concerned - as five months ago she fell and injured herself the same way - different arm though - and she was only in the hospital one day - so she is wondering what is up with the extended hospital stay. And as I am persona non grata with her husband it may be tough to see much of her while he is home recuperating - but I am sure we will figure something out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I have landed in Calgary and am enjoying the cooler weather - today the high was 15 - feels like winter - LOL - just kidding- actually no, I am not - it is the same temp here as it is in Alex in the winter - only difference is that there is heat in the homes. Today has been rainy, with sunny patches. Made a quick trip to Wal-Mart and Safeway - quick because Miles was with me - and unless you are shopping for him - you best be hustling. Oh well - soon enough I will get out on my own and wander through Wal-Mart.

The flights were uneventful - slept most of the way to Frankfurt - and I am not sure why they insist on waking me up to eat on the trip to Calgary - do I look like I need to eat - just let me sleep. Only fly in the ointment was that the video system did not work very well - they finally got things worked out about 3 hours before we landed in Calgary - so we got vouchers - should see what I will get - an upgrade to business class next time I travel - not likely - but sure would be a treat - I look at the seats in business class and wish I had lots of money - that is the way to travel on long trips.

Not sure what my plans are as of yet. Had planned on heading to Ontario before the start of Ramadan - but on checking seat prices found that there is a seat sale starting in September - so may just end up heading out then. Maybe I will head up to Edmonton next week - still not sure - need to make some phone calls and check an email - a friend of mine is travelling - want to make sure she is back in town before I head that way.

Talked with Mom last night and she is feeling better now than she has felt in many months - thank God. I am very grateful for all the prayers that were said on our behalf.

Not much more to report right now - hope I can get some sleep tonight - my legs have been cramping - kept me awake for a bit last night - am heading to the gym tomorrow morning - to visit and work out.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Where has the time gone. Thought I was 'ready' to travel - must admit that while I enjoy having Aymn here it is a bit of a hindrance to getting things ready - closing up the place for over two months - while still having to feed someone is a bit of a pain. If it were just me I would not be eating much - it is still too danged hot here - looking forward to the cooler clime of Canada.

Update on Mom - she is home - after being airlifted to Calgary on the 11th and spending five days at the Foothills Hospital - she was released on Friday the 15th after having an MRI that showed no damage to the heart. Everyone headed back to Creston on Saturday - my dad, mom, sister and sister's youngest son. So things are getting back to normal.

24 hours from now I will be on my way to Canada - looking forward to the break. Need time to do some serious soul searching. Will try to keep everyone posted.

Thanks for the support over the last week - must admit it has been a tough one - do not like being so far away from family during a crisis.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers. Just heard from my sweet daughter (in-law) that Dad is going to Calgary and they are looking after him. Although dad has refused their offer of a bed for his stay - he is just as hard headed as his grandson - or is it the other way around - but Miles will be taking him to the doctor - big relief - not sure if I will be getting a talking to about my executive decision - but I don't really care - it is a big relief to know that dad is being looked after. Of course I am very sensible and not at all hard headed - skipped me (can you see the tongue in cheek????).

I am assuming that mom is doing all right - at least good enough for dad to leave her for three days - I do not know if she is still in hospital - but I would bet yes. I am sure hoping that I can get some sleep tonight - not only is my car running on fumes - but so am I.

Again thanks for the prayers - we certainly are in need of them.
For those of you who are not yet aware - I was scheduled to fly out of Alex to Calgary on August 6 - but Mr. Aymn was not yet back - so he asked that I change my flight plans - so am now scheduled to head out on August 20 - he is still not back - promising to be back today (August 11). I am now really, really regretting changing my plans - when I was going to the travel agency to change them I was really having to force myself - I was NOT a happy camper. I now know why. Yesterday morning (Sunday) I got a phone call from my dad - my mom is in the hospital - she had a heart attack Saturday morning - I need to be in Canada. If I had not changed my plans I would have been in Creston on Saturday morning and my dad would not be having to deal with this on his own - ARGHHHH. Today I am going to phone the agency and see if by chance there is a seat available on Wednesday's flight - I feel as if I am being torn in two - now I know there is enough of me for two - but for some strange reason there is no 'tear here' line on me. Asked Dad if he needed me to come earlier - am waiting for his email. He is heading to Calgary on Monday (maybe) as he has a doctor's appointment for his eye - he needs someone to drive him to and from the appointment - not really to - but certainly from as he will be getting an injection in one of his eyes and he cannot drive right afterwards. He said he would call Shawna - but she has just had a baby - so I spoke out of turn and offered Miles' services - as he is not working - at least not outside the home - he is the resident manager of the complex they live in - but I figured he would likely be able to help dad out - made an executive decision - now waiting to get blasted from Miles. Needless to say I am stressed - did not get much sleep last night - am supposed to be heading out this morning for a gathering at the pool - but my mind is just not into it today - but will drag myself out anyway - will be better than sitting here waiting. I do hate the waiting.

Please say a prayer for my mom - we need all the 'help' we can get.

Weather here has been hot and humid - did I mention the humidity -just saps me. I think about doing anything and the sweat starts to run down my face, arms, torso and legs - such a pretty sight.

Looks like my flat may be used while I am out of the country. My friend Margaret may stay for a few days and last night I found out that my youngest SIL is coming to Egypt for a month - and Suzanne (SIL) told me that they would be renting a place - Mom (MIL) wants them to stay with her - but if they do that than his mother will have her knickers in a knot because she thinks they should stay with her. I know that money is tight for them - so I suggested that they could stay at my place. Suzanne asked me if I was sure - I said why not - she is family - only seems right. As Suzanne was leaving she told me that she was going to move out of the country so that when she comes to visit she can stay at my place - told her she could stay anytime she wanted. Would be nice if I could meet Shereen (youngest SIL) - I have spent five minutes with her a couple of days after I arrived in Egypt - she was getting ready to move to Qatar. This will be her first visit back - hope they take me up on the offer of my place - would save them money and it is big enough that she could entertain the families here as well. She could use my new dining room table - I have yet to use it.

Had a dream this morning that Aymn called me and told me he would be going home to his family because it would only be fair. So I am waiting for a phone call - wondering what is going on -must admit this frustrates me no end. Hopefully it will just have been a dream - but if it pans out to happen - then I will really do my utmost to get out of here sooner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

As promised - as soon as I received my dining room set I said I would take pictures and put them on the blog. It was delivered today - the first picture is of the whole set - I still would like another piece - would like a side board - will see if we have space - must admit I had gotten used to having an empty space when you walked into the apartment - now it is looking quite congested - SIGH. The hutch has only two shelves in it - I have requested another 3 - as the things I want to keep in it are not that tall - would rather have three more shelves - and if I need I can ditch one of them - nice to finally have place to displaythe few knick knacks that I brought with me from Canada - and of course I have collected a few since arriving here in Egypt.

The second photo is of the table - I specifically told Aymn I did not want a chunk of glass covering it - but of course the carpenter knows better what I like than I do. The whole set is a bit more 'ornate' than I would have liked - I look at all the fancy work and I see dust collectors - but again - what do I know. I also requested that the wood be stained a very light colour if at all - would rather have just had it natural - but again - what do I know. I just find that with having the ceramic tile so dark - it makes for a very dark area. Ah well - all in all I am quite pleased.

Was quite the production to get the table up to the apartment - they had to bring it up over the balcony as it would not fit into the elevator and the stairwell was much too narrow for it to fit - there are a few scuff marks - but apparently someone will be coming to fix at these - we will see.

All of the other pieces were brought up the stairs - someone refused to allow them to use the elevator - although the only things that would fit into the elevator would have been the chairs and the shelves for the cabinet.

So, there you have it friends and family - I am finally in possession of a dining room set.

Next is an entertainment centre and some bookcases - would love to get my books out of boxes and out so I could see them. Hopefully this decade.

Friday, July 04, 2008

My computer is working - for the moment - have been having computer issues for a couple of weeks - grrrr. And of course Aymn is in Libya - where else.

I have not been posting because I have been struggling - with a lot of things - need some time to myself - at home (and this is not home) where I can get some perspective. Right now I am hating being in Egypt. I am heading back to Canada on August 6 - when I booked my ticket there was a seat available on June 25 - but I had committed to being here until Aymn came back from Libya - grrr - wish I could just break my word - seems to be the norm around here - but I kept it - so am 'stuck' here for another monh. I will be in Canada for a little over two months - of course that will depend on decisions that I make while at home.

I celebrated my birthday on June 2 - my dining room furniture was to be delivered- needless to say it is still not here - not holding my breath for it to appear before I head back to Canada - and Aymn got shirty when he told me it would be delivered for my birthday and I shot back 'What year?' - go figure.

I have completed the chemotherapy on my face - had to apply some fancy cream which halted the burn of the chemo - and my face is looking much better - still a bit pink where the chemo burned away the skin - but not too bad.

Summer has started here - meaning it is very busy - traffic is even crazier than usual because we now have lots of 'tourists' here and they are even worse drivers - mainly because they do not know where they are going - so it is even more of a challenge. I really hate driving now - there are lots more vehicles and a lot more pedestrians darting across the street - would be interesting to know if anyone keeps track of the pedestrian fatalities in this country.

Aymn spends most of his time in Libya - I keep track - and since the beginning of December - on average - I see him for 3 days a month - not exactly what I signed up for - so......

Not a lot is going on in my life - I spend most of my time at home - alone - so not much to report - I do not do a lot that requires reporting.

Looking forward to my sanity break in Canada - spending time with friends and family.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It has been a 'busy' time for me - getting up early five days a week to head to the gym - I opt out of Friday and Saturday - mainly because parking is nigh on impossible - and besides my body needs time to recuperate. Not quite sure why I get up so danged early - but I do - it is nice to be back home by 7:30 and have the dreaded workout done and over with - I find if I go later - my day is a complete wash - because by the time I truly cool down, eat, shower and get moving it is nearly noon - and then the day is done - guess it can be said that I am truly a morning person - not a great thing here in this country where I would guess that 95% of the population are nocturnal - I think because of the weather - everybody snoozes in the afternoon and when the sun sets is when life starts to happen - and for me when the sun sets it is time for me to get ready for bed. Aymn has a tough time adjusting to this when he is with me - he is very used to the snooze and late nights and when he is here there is no time for a snooze and early nights are the norm. Poor baby.

My face is looking a right mess. This chemotherapy cream is burning like crazy - last Tuesday went to see the dermatologist and he asked if it was burning - I said yes - and he said come back in a month. By that time I feel as if I will have craters on my face - my nose is quite tender as is the spot on my upper lip - they look nasty as well - the spot on my temple is quite tender as well- but at least it is hidden by my scarf - so no one but me sees it. People think I have a cold sore on my upper lip - and of course people here think nothing of asking.

My membership at the gym is good until May 21 - not sure what I will do after that - think I will just renew it for another month - then when Aymn is in town go to look at Gold's Gym - see what they have for equipment - Miles is bound and determined that I need to be using a rowing machine - I think he wants me dead - last time I was in Canada I tried the rower - just about died after 2 minutes - used to be able to do 20 with not much problem - tells me how out of shape I am.

Miles called me on Mother's Day - it was a real treat. Was great to talk with him - we talked mainly about my workout routine - he is big into working out - when they were here for Christmas he was giving me suggestions as to things I could do. He told me he would rather me work out longer on the elliptical trainer than on the treadmill - of course the elliptical is a 'better' work out - he fears the treadmill will be too hard on my knees. So I have changed up my routine a bit - more time on the elliptical trainer and less on the treadmill.

Tomorrow (14th) I have to call Miles - it is his birthday - he will be 26 - where has the time gone?? I am sure it was just a few months ago - ok maybe a year ago - that I brought him home from the hospital - and here he is all growed up - married - YIKES. And I look in the mirror and wonder who the old woman is that is looking back at me - how did this happen?? Must admit I am very impressed with how well Miles has turned out - he is not perfect - by any stretch of the imagination - but he is a good man - hard to get my head wrapped around calling him a man - to me he is still a kid - but he sure did take exception to my calling him a kid - or referring to him and Shani as 'the kids' when they were here for Christmas - partly because he does not see himself as a kid - wonder why - and partly because Shani is not my kid - he has yet to learn that yes she is - he has a lot to learn - in shaa allah he will learn. Last year I was in Calgary to help him celebrate his 25th b'day - and my 50th - and I spent my 50th b'day at McMahon Stadium watching him play football - in the rain - does it never end???? I had figured that when he graduated from high school that I would no longer be required to attend football games or rugby matches - thank goodness he has given up on rugby - but he still LOVES football.

I do not have a lot more to report - going to the gym, burning my face off bit by bit and just generally trying to keep myself sane - that is about it for me.

The garden is looking good - a little on the 'wild' side - really needs weeding - but I cannot go out in the sun and besides weeding is not one of my favourite ways to spend my time.

I need to confine myself to the computer and download pictures from my camera and then upload some pics on to the blog - maybe in the next few days I can do that.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Two posts in a week - wow - I am so impressed - LOL. Today I got up and went to the gym - will be taking the next 3 days off - need to give my heel a chance to heal - got a blister and of course it is a 'bloody' mess every time I work out - plus tomorrow is a holiday and parking is a zoo on holidays - so I will take the coward's way out and stay put - leaving my car parked nice and close to my house in a relatively 'safe' place. Tomorrow is Labour Day here - not much goes on - except no work. Then of course Friday and Saturday are the weekend. Had planned on working out every day - but my heel really needs a chance to recuperate and I think so does my body. Will get back to it on Sunday - go figure - here I am nice and retired and I am still getting up at before 6 a.m. to get out to the gym - should have my head examined - except I am a morning person - that has not changed and I do not like sleeping late - 8:00 has wasted half the day. One good thing - at least when I get home from the gym the rush is not on to get fed, showered and dressed and out the door to work - big sigh of relief.

Yesterday (Tuesday) saw me out and about - went and got my glasses - so nice to be able to see clearly again - the lenses of my old glasses were soooo scratched that I was looking through a mist all the time. Now of course comes getting used to new glasses, new prescription, etc. - went from plastic lenses to glass lenses - in the hopes of preventing so much scratching - so they are also a bit heavier than the old ones - so the nose is going to have to adjust to the new 'weight' on it. Got the glasses in the early evening - then I was out the door at 8:00 to meet up with Sharon to go to the dermatologist - yes finally found one and got an appointment made - a friend of Sharon's took us. The fee for the exam was 25 LE - less than 5.00 CDN - and I have Bowen's disease - three spots on my face - pre-cancerous lesions - 145 LE later - I now have to wear sunblock on any exposed skin - and have a chemotherapy cream to apply to the lesions - lots of fun - had to go to a 'famous' pharmacy - they prepared the cream - as it is not available here - they do not make it because only 'white' people suffer from Bowen's disease - so no need to produce it. Took an hour to make it - thank goodness they deliver - although the delivery guy got thoroughly lost - took him 1.5 hours to find the place - should have taken him 20 minutes to drive - but ... then he was most unhappy with me because I only tipped him 1 LE - he figured he deserved more because it took him so long and he got lost numerous times - like NO - if you had gotten here in good time the tip would have been bigger - he did not get the cream to me until after midnight - way past my bedtime. So now I am banned from the sun - that is a hardship - wearing sunblock - not sunscreen - am really hoping it does not cause me any problems - a lot of the sunscreens irritate my eyes - we will see - and I am going to be seeing the doctor every week for a month and then once a month - he gave me a full body 'scan' - naked eye variety - and thank goodness the only patches are on my face - but he wants to keep an eye on things - wonderful - and of course there is no way you can drive (no parking) and his office hours are in the evening from 8 - 10:30 p.m. - YUCK. Oh well - such is life here in Egypt - helps to keep me out of the sun - told me I can only go out after 6 at night. The sunblock was 92 LE for 40 gm - OUCH - and the chemo cream was 53 LE for 40 gm - am wondering how long I will be using the chemo cream - I am to only use a match head sized dollop on each site - so I have enough for quite a while - whereas the sunblock will not last long if I am to use it twice a day - even when I do not go outside - now this I think I will be changing - I will certainly use the sunblock if I am going to go outside - but I do not see the point in using it indoors. The price to be paid for wanting to be brown - will forever more be lily white - SIGH. Oh well - better to be white than dead - I guess.

Not much else to report - yesterday morning we had a 'freak' rainstorm - very out of character for this time of the year - but it means I did not have to water the garden - will do it tonight - after 6.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It has been a long time - have been quite busy but not seeming to do much - but I must update.

Aymn was in town for 10 days - it was a good visit. My dining room set will be ready by June 2 - just in tme for my b'day - hmmm - will not hold my breath - but will see what happens. The carpenter and Aymn have altered my design request - because they know my style better than I do - oh well - will live with whatever I get - sure hope it is not tooooo ornate. Egyptians like things very ornate and fancy - and that is just not me. Aymn has assured me that he knows my taste - uh huh - and it will be wonderful. Time will tell.

While he was in town we went on a wild goose chase. He saw an ad for villas for only 199,000 - which is a very good price. He contacted the people and they told him it was only 80 km past the bridge that goes under the Suez Canal - hmmm - must be Egyptian km - because it was a lot farther than that. We started out nice and early - figured it would take about 3-4 hours to get there and then the same back - I had not counted on Mr. Man wanting to stop at a couple more developments to have a look see - the first one we stopped at is about 80 km this side of Cairo - villas starting at 750,000 and most of them are just for weekend use - there are no facilities for schools or shopping - and it is in the desert - hmmm - not likely. Then he just HAD to stop at another development - just in the planning stages - the apartments are going for 4,000 LE a square metre - GULP - we looked at the 'mock' flats - the smallest one was 100 m2 - kind of small - and again in the middle of the desert - although I do believe they had plans for schools and shopping and business centre. Asked Aymn how much the villas were - he did not even ask - if the flats were 4,000/m2 - Lord only knows how much the villas were. And of course each of these stops was for only 10 minutes - gotta love those Egyptian 10 minutes - 1.5 hours minimum. We finally found our way to the place we were going - stopped and had something to eat at the nearest town - and was told that it was 40 km past the town - and the town was at least 80 km past the tunnel - hmmmm. So we drove on to look - Aymn was ready to give up - we had passed quite a few resorts and he was sure we were running out of resorts. The road we were on would have taken us to Sharm el Sheikh if we had continued - I think we were only about 200 km from Sharm by the time we finally 'found' the resort we were looking for. OMG - there were two structures under construction - one of them had about 1/3 of the outer walls built the other one about 1/2 the outer walls were done - there were two 'grunts' there - they were working on the bulldozer - Aymn talked with them - turns out that they had just been released from jail - had spent 8 days behind bars because of the 'false' advertising - not very fair as they were not the ones putting the ad in the paper - I mean it was very misleading - 2/3 of a page with all kinds of 'pictures' of the resort - guess someone took exception to the wild goose chase - no sense of adventure. We started heading back to Alex - about 5.5 hours away - gag - had been in the car quite long enough - but... Aymn called Mustafa to tell him what had happened and he and Margaret invited us to spend the night with them in Ain Sokhna - only about a 2 hour drive - so we took them up on their offer - would have preferred my own bed - but by this time I was glad to get out of the car. Aymn does not trust my navigating skills - got to Suez and insisted on stopping and asking people for directions - and guess what - they gave him the same directions that I had - harumph. Then I had the fun of directing him through Cairo - must admit it is certainly much easier just to drive it then to direct someone - but we made it through with not much problem - we missed 'rush hour' traffic past the pyramids in Giza - whew - Aymn would have blown a gasket. He wanted to get on the ring road - which is not truly a ring it is more like a U - and we were on the opposite end of the city - if we had taken the ring road and bypassed Giza we would have had to travel 3/4 of the ring road - but all is well - we made it home in one piece.

My car has to go back to be repaired - Aymn parked the car one night - and some moron rear ended it - now the bumper is wired on on both sides - SIGH. Not in a big rush to get it done - will only have to be redone - ARGH. Thank goodness I renewed my insurance - car insurance is not compulsory here. And of course it came up for renewal while Aymn was in Libya - and he was sure that I could have gotten a better rate if I had gone to another company - I am not so sure - the insurance companies are all 'western' companies here in Egypt - so I have a funny feeling they likely check - just like in the west - he wanted me to wait until he arrived back - and he had no real idea when he was going to come back - asked me just to wait - it would only mean driving for a few days without insurance - not like I would get into an accident in a few days - I told him that I 'expect' to get into an accident every time I take the car out - that is just the way it is here.

Just for Safa - I washed my 'purse' - looks much better - finally got around to sewing on all the letters and washed it - hope you appreciate it - LOL.

Prior to Aymn's return I headed to 6th of October - a suburb of Cairo - and spent 2 days with my friend Jean. We met up on the Tuesday and headed into Maadi - we were on an adventure - I did not know how to get there -she did - but she had no idea where things were - I had a map - so off we went. Maadi is an area of Cairo where a lot of foreigners hang their hats - we went for coffee at the CSA - very nice place - think if I lived closer I would join and partake of some of their amenities - they have a gym, a pool, a library, a 2nd hand shop, they have classes and tours regularly as well. But it is quite a drive. After that we found Kimo's - a shop that is known for having lots of western treasures - food wise that is. Bought some asparagus - and some square baskets - YEAH. I am sure I could find them cheaper - but I now have something to store my shoes in - until I get a proper shoe cupboard - instead of having them lined up on the floor at the front entry. Not sure what I will use the 2nd one for - maybe for sewing - or just for stashing my treasures that surround my 'nest' - when company comes - put everything in the basket and voila - looks neat and tidy. We found a bookstore - called the Bookspot - it is owned by foreigners - lots and lots of English books - I thought it was quite pricey considering the books are 2nd hand - but if you are unable to find anything - it is better than nothing. We stopped at a restaurant called Lucille's - it is 'world' famous - the woman was married to an Egyptian - divorced - but opted to stay - she is from TX - and makes very good burgers. All in all we had a good day - and did not even get lost once - well took a bit of a scenic tour on the way home - but nothing that was too bad. My hope is to make it into Cairo on a semi regular basis and 'investigate' another area each time - so I know my way around better. Would like to find my way to the airport and a few other places - such a life of adventure I lead - LOL.

While Aymn was in town we bought more plants - lots of geraniums - they do very well here - and they bloom all year - so nice to have them in the garden in the winter - just a splash of colour. Tomorrow night - Sunday - the owner of the nursery where we get our plants is coming over to make arrangements for a gardener - we met a really great young man the first time we were there this season - his name is Mohammed - go figure - and his English is excellent. I really want someone to come and look after the garden - weed it - move things around so it looks better - Aymn planted tall plants in the front - short plants in the back - etc. - and I just want some advice and help getting things done. In one of the beds we have 25 rose bushes - they are horrid - they are sprawling all over the place - they need help. The sweet peas I grew from seeds that I collected from the plants we had last year are doing well - although we had a hot spell and that did not do them any good - some of the 'tall' sweet peas seeded themselves from last year and they are growing up among the plants that are planted against the wall - no idea what kind of plant they are. The hibiscus and bougainvillea are not doing well - so I want someone to 'fix' things - as well as weed - I can water - not that it is my favourite task - but I can do it. But will be nice to have someone who knows what they are doing looking after the plants. Aymn 'knows' everything and refuses to listen to me. He decided to fertilize - after he had watered - and of course the wind came up - and voila none of the fertilizer was to be found - told him not to spread the fertilizer until the garden was going to be watered - he did not 'hear' me. That happens a lot. I have included a picture of a couple of flowers in the garden.

While Aymn was in Libya he managed to just about sever his left thumb and put a 3 inch gash in his right forearm. Mr. Bright Boy was working with a circular saw - cutting metal - and he opted to use a blade that was too large for the saw - and of course no safety shield on it - and it slipped - he ended up with 5 stitches in his arm and 8 or 9 stitches in his thumb - not sure he will ever get use of his thumb back - it was a real mess. His hand was so swollen they had to cut his wedding ring off. While he was here he did get the stitches out - mom and dad you will appreciate this - we went to the hospital to get them out - the doc took most of them out - but left 4 in his thumb - saying it needed a few more days of healing - and Aymn actually took out the remaining 4 by himself - I just about passed out.

I have headed to the gym. Aymn and I went and checked out the gym at the Renaissance hotel - located not far from home - and he paid for a month's membership. The place is nothing fancy - but it is clean - and it is open 24 hours a day - so I can go as early in the morning as I want. They have two treadmills, an elliptical cross trainer, a bike, some free weights, and a weight 'machine'. The view is great - the hotel is located right on the corniche and the gym is on the 3rd floor - so you look out on to the sea - and there are great big windows that open - so I open the windows and get the breeze - the first two days I did not open the windows - left puddles on the equipment - 3rd day - asked if the windows could be opened - was told no problem - so now I open them as soon as I get there - not leaving nearly as big a puddle. Aymn has agreed to pay for a gym membership wherever I choose. There is a Gold's Gym located at the 'club' we belong too - only drawback is that it is a 20 minute drive - the one I am at now is only a 5 minute drive - if that - but will see how things are at the end of my month. Another consideration for staying at the hotel is that it is a month to month membership - so when I am out of the country I do nto have to pay - whereas Gold's is a yearly membership - not sure there is any discount if you do not use it - not likely. It feels good to be back at the gym - never thought I would feel that way - but I sure do feel better when I am working out. My goal is to get in better shape - Aymn is pushing to get me a scale so I can weigh myself - have told him no thanks - scales and I do not get along - if I lose weight great - I just want to be able to carry me around better. I have included two pictures of the view that I see when I am working out - so much more 'interesting' than the view at Spa Lady in Calgary - although the company is nowhere near as good - I am usually on my own.