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.