Sunday, March 23, 2008

As promised here are a couple of pictures of the beach in Ain Sokhna - see the chair - just waiting for you to come and join us. The water was so clear - tried to take a picture of my foot in the water - but it did not turn out very well - I think there were too many people in the water - not calm enough. But the water was so clear you could see the bottom - you could even see the little fish swimming around. The water is very shallow. To get out to where it was over one's head you had to walk out just about to that speckon the horizon - which is in fact a boat that belongs to the resort.

We saw a small dinghy load up with four people - a cooler and what looked like snorkelling equipment and head out to the boat - and then the boat took off - so I am assuming that if you wanted to go snorkelling they would take you. And here is a pic of me basking in the sun - love the hat and the shades - but I was very good - my face was slathered with sunscreen and then protected to the best of my ability.

Look at the kids and adults behind me - they were having a ball playing in the sand - this was taken on Thursday - when it was getting 'crowded' - before we left on Thursday the water was actually getting quite busy - not nearly as busy as it will be in the summer - but a lot busier than it had been.
Here is a picture of my friend Margaret's newest additions to the family. I stayed with Margaret and her husband Mustafa in Ain Sukhna. Peach faced love birds - sure are noisey little critters - kept waking me up early - but they will be a lot of 'company' to Margaret - who is currently not working. And I must admit Ain Sokhna is certainly very quiet when there are no holidayers. It is a very large complext and I think there may be only five or six permanent residents living there - so very very quiet.

Here is my hat full of shells. The first day we were at the beach (Monday) we collected lots of shells - the next three days were not nearly as productive - now I just need a place to 'display' them. Each day we went for a walk along the shore and looked for shells - was good exercise.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I am home - got back yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Had a great time - spent lots of time on the beach and in the water - water was 'invigorating'. Beach was pretty much deserted Monday thru Wednesday - but Thursday it got very crowded - a preview of what the summer will be like. Something that struck me was seeing people drinking alcohol at the beach - I live in a country that is basically Muslim - no alcohol - and sitting around the beach they are just chugging the booze - shakes my head - just seemed kinda strange - coming from Canada - where alcohol is 'legal' and yet not in a public place.

Came back to a heat wave. Temperature today was 33 C - tomorrow the high is forecast to be 35 C - Tuesday down to 25 C - back to normal. One thing I do miss is the change in the seasons - here there seem to be only two seasons - winter and summer - no spring - no fall. Last week I could leave the butter out on the counter and it was just the right consistency for spreading - now it is melting - seems to be no happy medium.

Prior to leaving for Ain Sokhna I was 'informed' by Aymn that he would like me to come and stay in Libya. Actually I told him that the next time he goes to Libya I want to go with him - I was figuring on a two week stay so I could visit my friends - and he said that was fine - but he would like me to stay for two months - GULP. Back to being a gypsy - living in a rented flat with someone else's furniture - no phone - no internet in the house - no washer - I know, I know I am soooo spoiled - but this came out of left field. I know he is not happy spending so much time in Libya on his own - but I never thought he would want me to live there. Needless to say my head is spinning and sleep is hard to come by. I just do not know what to do - but as someone commented - I could go and if I really do not like it I could come back to Egypt early. The real kink in the works is that I would not be able to take my car - so I would be without wheels - asked Aymn about taking the car - and he said no - because the young men in Libya target foreign cars to steal. SIGH. Where will I leave my car for two months - do not want to leave it parked on the street. What will happen to the garden - who will look after it for two months. All these things that need to be considered.

While in Sokhna my car got hit again - I was leaving the beach on Thursday - had parked so that I was facing the right direction - as they park on both sides of the street - and when it is crowded it leaves no room for turning around - and there were cars coming and parking - so I had stopped - some moron was backing up and did not see me - ARGH - and I did not look carefully at the damage - and upon closer inspection found out that the back door has been pranged again - I think I give up. I will just drive around with a dented car - does not seem to be much point in having a car that looks good - seems to be a target.

Will endeavour to download some pictures of the water and the beach. Wishing I was back there in the 'invigorating' water.

Must go - will keep you posted on where my life goes next.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Just a quick update - due to 'deaths' in the family my visit to Mohmadea was shorter than expected - I ended up coming back to Alex Thursday around noon. The silver lining in the cloud. I love my family - but their beds leave soooo much to be desired. I did not get a lot of sleep - I am a pampered westerner - they have a cotton mattress and pillow on the bed of honour that I am given - and even with all my padding I hurt - every time I move my hips, knees and neck groan in agony - so I was very 'grateful' to get home early.

Today I am busy doing laundry and cleaning my house in preparation to taking off again. My visit to Ain Sokhna will be shorter than I was planning on due to the prophet's birthday - a day that is celebrated here with a day off - which puzzles me as the 'religion' purportedly does not 'favour' celebrating birthdays - hmmmm - must admit it does confuse me - the mixture of culture and religion and trying to figure out which is which. I am soo looking forward to some sand and surf time - mmmmm. Taking some books to read on the beach - working on my tan - I know I know - I will be liberally covered with sunscreen - wearing a hat - keeping my face out of the sun. I will soon like these Arab girls who use products on their face to bleach their skin colour so they appear white - and then their hands and feet are nice and brown - only difference is that I will NOT be bleaching my face - no way no how.

I need to make a quick trip to my MIL to drop off the scissors that she gave Aymn to be sharpened - needless to say they are still as dull as dishwater. If I knew where to get them sharpened I would - but I do not have a clue - and according to Aymn Mom does know where to go and get them sharpened - guess there is a place not far from her apartment.

Anyhow - not much else to report. Life here is as usual - have not had too many I HATE EGYPT days - must admit having my driver's license makes me much happier when I am out and about driving - did not driving illegally - always anxious when I see police check points - and they are always out there. It is like Christmas in Canada - with all the Checkpoints - all the time here in Egypt. I have yet to travel to Cairo without encountering at least two checkpoints - and when we came back from Mohmadeah yesterday there was a checkpoint - no idea what they were checking because I got flagged through.

So TTFN - think of me basking on the beach and floating around in the beautiful blue water.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Woo hoo - I am finally legal - after only three days of running around I have my Egyptian driver's license - it is good for 10 years - thank God. We ended up having to go to the big boss - because one of the requirements to get a license here is proof of literacy - graduation paper from somewhere - unfortunately not something I carry around with me. So we went to the head officer in charge of all the traffic police in Alexandria - and he waived the necessity to prove that I was literate - phoned the officer who refused me the day before and told him that foreigners do not need to prove literacy - that is only for Egyptians - WHEW.

Aymn was in town - he left back for Libya last Friday - the 7th - we were very busy running around doing things finding things for his business in Libya - nice for him that I have a car that will carry a lot of stuff - or he would have been forking over a lot of money renting trucks to transport his treasures. We were in Cairo looking for things - gotta love that - not really. I ended up with a splitting headache. And on the way home - in the dark - with Aymn driving - he ran over a tire tread - the whole tire - laid over the entire lane we were in - and it flipped up and tore off the new bumper - I had had the car back from the shop for 3 days - WAAAAAA. Thank God no one was injured - just shook up - but I now have to take the car back and get it fixed - GRRRRR.

Weather here is getting really nice - today it was sunny and warm - great beach day - but alas I was too busy to get to enjoy that.

Tomorrow I am heading to Mohmodeah for a few days to visit with Suzanne (SIL) and her family - will be back Thursday or Friday - dependent on what Aymn's eldest son is going to do - he has made noises that he will come out on Thursday - and I will not stay then. Saturday I am heading to Ain el Sokhna with Margaret and her hubby - will be there for five or six days - going to pack my swim gear and looking forward to spending some time on the beach - swimming, reading, cross stitching - just relaxing.

Not a lot more to report - life is pretty much the same. Although I was able to connect with a couple of 'women' that I went to school with in Pinawa - that was great. They had a reunion last year - in honour of the class turning 50 - and of course I missed it - hope to be kept in the loop for any other reunions and plan on being around for the next one.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I am here - I am well - sort of - in a bit of mental turmoil - but such is my life. My 'best buddy' took off to Canada - she had the chance to leave so she packed herself and her five kids and headed west - she is now back home getting her life in order. Gave me pause for thought - what DO I WANT????? I know that I do not really want what I have here in Egypt - as I said to my husband if I wanted to be single I would prefer to be single in Canada - where at least I am not a fish out of water. My husband is spending 90% of his time in Libya - has to provide a future for himself and his family - only drawback is that I am not included in the list of providing a future for - that is up to me.

I took my car in to be fixed - at last. Insurance company was not happy - I am required to inform them within 72 hours of an accident - I had Aymn peruse the paperwork that I was given when I got the insurance - of course it is all in Arabic - and I cannot read it - go figure - so he read it and nowhere does it stipulate that the accident needed to be reported within 72 hours - so he phoned the company - fellow said come in and talk to his manager - and because they did not give me the terms and conditions they agreed to fix the car - YEAH. Then we ran into another snafu - my International Driver's Licence expired on January 4 - so here I am driving without a license - no insurance - BUT the accident happened in September so I was covered - WHEW. Took the car in to Toyota - and they had my 'baby' for 11 days - OMG - I am sure dependent on my baby - got the car back on Feb. 23 - could have picked it up on the 22nd - but was not keen about waiting around for the insurance guy to come and take pics of the thing before I could take it - so went early Saturday morning with my SIL - Suzanne - and picked it up. Looks soooo good. Almost like new - had both bumpers replaced, the back hatch replaced and the front windshield replaced (had a crack in it). Nothing is easy here - went to pay with my credit card - did not have enough cash - and I had to pay first and then I will get reimbursed by the insurance company (if I had taken the car to one of the insurance companies 'garage of choice' they would have paid for it right away - but I insisted on taking it to Toyotal - waned to make sure I got original Toyota parts) - and was informed that I could not use the credit card - ARGH - so I got on my cell phone and phoned Canada - asked why I could not use it - after of course answering 50 questions - woman asked me if the charge was around 1600 dollars - I said yes - she asked if it was for a car rental - I said no - I was getting my car repaired - hmmmm - when are you coming back to Canada - will be coming back in July or August (MAYBE) for a visit - are you LIVING in Egypt??? - yes I am - how long have you been living there? - since Dec. 2005 - okay will make a note on your file - try the charge again - it worked. Fellow who was taking my money commented - Canada 2008 Egypt 1998 - I agreed - my SIL was insulted. YEAH - had wheels back - big sigh of relief. As I am leaving the compound I am told to take the salvage to the insurance company - pardon me - there sit the two bumpers and I am expected to take them to the insurance company - I think not - told them if the insurance company wants them then they can come and pick them up - no way am I going to cart them around. I can just see myself in downtown carrying the two bumpers into the office building and up the two flights of stairs and dropping them on the reception desk - hmmmm - tempting - but no thanks. Sunday I had to drive to the downtown area - not my favourite place to drive - but there is a parkade (of sorts) next door to the office of the insurance company - so parked there - walked over and gave them the receipt proving I had paid for the car. Need to call the company tomorrow to start the dance about where my cheque is - need it so I can transfer the money to Canada to pay the bill.

After hitting the insurance company I went out to Carrefour - needed a couple of things - having wheels is so nice - and it hit me that I had promised to take my MIL to get her pension cheque - ARGH - oh well - too late now. When I got home I phoned Suzanne and apologized - told her to call mom and I would take her on Tuesday - felt like a real heel. I had completely forgotten that on Friday I had said I would take her on Sunday. Aymn arrived back in town on Monday -went to his family - Tuesday morning he came over to see me - and was not thrilled that I had plans to take mom to her pension - but after sulking and not getting me to change my mind - he came along - and it was a good thing he did - he finally got things sorted out - Mom had not received her pension for over a year - Aymn found out why - she owed them money - she had been receiving money for her youngest daughter - well said daughter got married and Mom did not inform them for about a year - so .... In shaa allah she will start receiving her pension next month - will be delivered to the post office near Mom's - so I no longer have to take her to the pension office.

Wednesday saw Aymn and I heading to Cairo - me dreading it - he had 'business' to attend to - which of course meant I spent 95% of the day cooped up in the car as we drove all over Cairo - and he picked up his buddy Mohammed - now do not get me wrong - I really like Mohammed - he is a great guy - but his voice gives me a headache - he is very loud and the pitch is like fingers on a chalkboard. So I am popping pills trying to keep the headache at bay - combination of Cairo pollution and the noise - enough to give me a migraine. And did we drive - we ended up at 10th of Ramadan - where my buddy used to live - then back through Cairo to drop Mohammed off - then we headed home. Stopped at Dandy Mall - pee break for me - and quick drop in to Carrefour - had planned on eating but my headache was just going to migraine mode - so eating was not at all appealing - and of course Aymn figured he could wait until we got home - it was after 8 by this time - tough to be so danged cheap. I popped 3 more pills and thank goodness the migraine did not end up being full blown.

About 1/2 way home Aymn drove over a tire tread - biggest hunk of rubber I have ever seen - and of course he was going very fast and could not avoid it - thank god we were not hurt - I was just shaken - but the car was not so fortunate - my brand new back bumper was half off - WAAAAAAAA. Oh well - such is life in Egypt - I now know why I refuse to drive after dark on the highways.

Thursday we invited Mom over for supper - Aymn had purchased some goat meat and he was going to roast it - I made a birthday cake - his birthday is Feb. 18 and of course he was not around - but figured it would be a nice surprise. Well Mom backed out at the 11th hour - Aymn phoned to say he was on his way - and she said that Mr. Mossad had arrived unannounced and she had fed him and he was still there visiting - ARGH. Oh well - so Aymn roasted the meat - I cooked some rice - I had cut up a bunch of veggies and had made a 'ranch' dip - so we ate that - except the goat was so TOUGH I could not eat it - so I ate lots of veggies. Then before we could have dessert Aymn got a phone call and he was off and running - would be back in an hour - work he had left to be done at a workshop was done - got a call after an hour - they were not even finished the work yet - would be another half hour - how do you spell pissed off - well that was me - he left before 7 and did not get back until after 10:30 - by which time I was in bed - just steamed. No birthday cake - good think I like the cake - mmmm - just what I need - but hey.

On the way to Cairo we stopped and bought some tangerines - they also had red grapefruit for sale - so we bought some - and I am now eating one - it is soooo good. I have never had a really fresh grapefruit - almost worth the trip to get some more - LOL. They were very expensive - 2 egyptian pounds per kilo - that is about 40 cents canadian. Should have got more than 2 kg of them.

That is my life - sorry for the lapse in updates. Will try to do better.

Oh and I did break down and share the cake with Aymn - he had a piece yesterday morning before he headed home - not sure he will get any more - but -he did at least get one piece.