Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Years Revolutions

We are almost to the end of January 2013, and my resolution to be more actively blogging is about to be another repeat of last year. I titled this "Revolutions" because a friend of mine who is the editor of the Maadi Messenger wrote an article that described the year after year failure to keep resolutions, and in it she called those things we set as goals "Revolutions"...they come back year after year!  

Another reason I titled this as I did is because we are two days post-anniversary of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Demonstrations marked the anniversary in cities across the nation of Egypt. 

Disillusionment and frustration at a declining economy, unfulfilled promises and a government that is increasing in power has led to the feeling on the street that the Egyptian people are no better off under Morsi than they were under Mubarak. People are crying out for "Bread, Freedom and Social Justice" as they did two years ago. 

Two years post-revolution there are shortages of diesel to fuel trucks that transport the nation's produce from the farms to the cities. As we travel the highways it is not unusual to see trucks backed up for several kilometers waiting to get into gas stations. After waiting for hours, they arrive at empty pumps.   Food prices have risen accordingly. Some of those items  are no longer subsidized placing a hardship on families.

Business is more difficult to conduct as educated and experienced workers leave the country for higher wages.  Less experienced employees  are reticent to make decisions that might go wrong and place the blame for failure on them.  The government entities are extremely slow to provide necessary certificates and permissions necessary for business to proceed. Companies are not being paid on time, if at all.  Some foreign businesses have been cutting back their personnel. 

Fewer expats means less work available for the African refugee, Philippine, and Egyptian domestic labor forces that work in our homes and gardens and drive for us.  

I am sure there are many, many other changes I could write about, but these are the ones I see most often.

I am grateful  to be able to live and work and play in Egypt in spite of all the uncertainty we experience. Who doesn't experience uncertainty?    
 I am going to finish this blog with a photo I took last fall. One that I have saved especially for January. We went with some friends to one of our favorite places: Soma Bay. It is located on the Red Sea on the Egypt side, not the Sinai side. It is a resort made up of hotels, a golf course, and extremely awesome coral reefs for diving and snorkeling.  I wrote this on the sandy beach one morning when Sam and I were out walking. Unfortunately, my computer was in the Big A store being migrated to a new machine and I completely missed getting to put this up on my blog!  THAT was how I was going to start the New Year off right, keeping my "revolution" to be a better blogger! I figure it is better to be late than never! Enjoy!

Happy New Year!

Monday, March 19, 2012

International Festival, Cairo American School

Sam and I had a fun day Saturday.  We discovered that the hydrangeas have hit town and as our outdoor space is mostly shade, I couldn't wait to buy a couple to brighten the tropicals already in our garden.  Right now the flowers are b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. !  The weather is still cool so everything is looking at its peak!

Some of the flower shops along the railroad track would give Under the Sun in Tulsa, Ok a run for their money! ( I once worked at Under the Sun, a plant nursery and gift shop. We really did have some of the most beautiful plants in town.)  We found the hydrangeas in so many colors. I bought three: a light pink, a blue and a hot pink .  The geraniums were also pretty and cheap in price so I bought three knowing full well that once these blooms are gone, that I will have to give them to one of my friends with a sunny spot in their garden.  The cat that traverses the back wall and hides behind the lattice waiting to come into our garden and snatch a meat trimming off Sam's grill had uprooted one of my begonias to do his business.  Now that little spot is speckled with scattered pot shards to deter kitty from any more "deposits!"  While I was potting the flowers we just bought,  I did a shuffle and repot to some of my tropicals who were looking a little tired and lonely. Everything looks so pretty back there now!

After purchasing the plants we went to CAC (Cairo American College-the American school here) for some lunch at their international festival.  Since our church and workplace is multi-national, some of our friends were working their home-country booths. We had been invited to come sample food from Poland, South America, Canada, and South Africa.  An around-the-world food sampling sounded like a good lunch to us! We entered the CAC grounds passing through a throng of security and a couple of gates. Once inside, the scenery changes to a lovely-though-under-construction campus with green grass, blooming flower borders, and nice leafy trees!  Beautiful Arabesque Applique Tents lined the open soccer field;  their vibrant blues, yellows, greens and reds lending to the festive atmosphere. 

Music was playing on a stage to the far right, wonderful smells wafted across the field from booths with signs and decorations identifying the country within, and children ran freely and noisily from one place and one friend to another.  To make a long story....or a short story even shorter---we wound up eating lunch AND staying all afternoon to hear and see the entertainment from students, adults, and professionals portraying song, dance, mime, and other talents from their home countries. The costumes were fabulous and the music, so different from one place to another was enchanting.

Here's a little run down on what we ate: bbq wings from Canada, polish sausage from Poland, empanadas from South America, tostados from Mexico, donuts from Cameroon, samosas from India,  
dried beef called biltong from South Africa, cakes from singapore, chocolate cake from Switzerland...and that's just what I REMEMBER~  It was a lovely time. We came for lunch and stayed all day.