Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles


January 31, 2008

Donkey Shot?

Filed under: NSTIW,What the...? — Kaddee @ 10:14 am

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Lovely restaurant

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Your Pronunciation May Vary (YPMV)

December 10, 2007

Deja vu: all over again

Filed under: NSTIW — Kaddee @ 10:17 pm

Just went back thru my old entries to find a particular one.

Last year: September 18th
I blogged about a taxi driver who had a sob story about his five “bee bees” one of whom had breast cancer – he needed money.

Fast forward to yesterday – I’m on Mara’ashli going to school and I flag down a taxi. Before I can even tell the driver where I want to go, he starts yammering at me. I tell him “Shwaya Arabi” (just a little Arabic). He responds in broken Arabinglish – my “binti” (daughter). Biggest of 5. Only 17. Breast cancer.

No kidding – apparently this is a yearly statistical event – take the number of taxi drivers in Cairo, divide by the number of times I ride a taxi and multiply by days in a year and you’ve apparently got a likelihood of once every 15 months that I run into this particular guy!!!

This time I did not ride in his taxi. I waved him off and got in the next one. No wailing stories. No asking for loads of cash.

I am either turning into an unfeeling soul, or getting used to Cairo – city victorious.

October 23, 2007

More SNIC

Filed under: Learning Curve,NSTIW — Kaddee @ 3:37 pm
  • As I’m riding home in the cab, in HORRENDOUS traffic, I see a cabbie and his fare out of the cab and standing in the street. They are not fighting, arguing or negotiating. The fare is a nicely dressed man who is placidly watching the cabbie. The cabbie is waving a 50LE note at all the other cabbies going by. He’s attempting to get change.
  • Riding home in a taxi during rush hour (especially crazed because it is Ramadan, and everyone is trying to be somewhere for iftar) as we come up on a bicycle weaving thru the traffic. Nothing new or different, right? There is a man riding the bicycle. His wife is sitting side-saddle on the back fender/rack. Wedged between them is an infant in, what could only be described as, “church clothes”. (Ya know…like the christening layette thingy?)
  • So, I’m sitting in “Beano’s” (a Western style coffee shop near the University) with a friend chatting about everything, when both of us realize that the song that is playing on the store’s system sounds like a Christmas tune. How odd! It is only October. Then we listen more closely. It sounds like “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland”. Then we tune in to the lyrics……………………………It is the PARODY of that song. The tune we were listening to was “Walkin’ ‘Round in Women’s Underwear” No kidding, in English, in a coffee shop in Cairo, in October.
  • I was leaving the building where I live. As I walked out, I saw one of the University shuttle busses in the middle of the street. Seemed a bit strange. Then I realized that it was not moving in the “usual” way – driving, parking etc. Upon closer inspection, one of the building security guards was hanging out a window, yelling at about 6 guys behind the bus. Someone was in the driver’s seat. The guys behind the bus were pushing it to try to bump start the vehicle. I’ve bump started plenty of motorbikes and cars, but shuttlebusses…..? This was a first.
  • Loads of people have old JAWA motorcycles or scooters in Cairo. One must be certifiably insane to RIDE one in traffic, but that is a different story. I saw a new sight recently, which was a JAWA trike. Still old, beat-up, bald tires, belching smoke, but a TRIKE. The more interesting thing was that the rider was a veiled woman!!! In 14 months in Cairo, I have seen women driving cars, or as passengers on motorcycles/scooters (frequently with the whole family on the bike) but NEVER as the operator of a two-wheeled vehicle. Her veil was flapping voluminously behind her, her knuckles were white and she looked TERRIFIED. Can’t say I blame her.

September 22, 2007

SNIC – Situation Normal In Cairo

Filed under: NSTIW — Kaddee @ 1:10 am

So, the other day, I headed out in the morning as I always do. Walked to Abou el Feda Street to get a taxi to work. I had just reached the street when I saw a car approaching – black car, white accents, drivers window down. There are a million of them in Cairo. As usual, I hollered out my destination in the general direction of the open drivers window. He slowed down and pulled to the side of the street. Excellent! First taxi! I hopped in, told him where I needed to go and we were off.

About 3/4 of the way to the university, I woke up enough to look at the car. Nice car, interior is in good shape, I thought, “Maybe I should get this guy’s card so I can use him on other occasions.” As I was inspecting the car, I noticed (or rather DIDN’T notice) the meter. In Cairo, all taxis have to HAVE meters. No-one but the yellow cabs actually USE the meters, but to be a taxi, you must have one in the car (preferably attached, in some manner, to the car). This car did not have a meter that I could see from my vantage point. Mish mushkela – some cars have them in the glove box (although usually visible) or in the console between the two front seats (again, usually visible).

I was not worried. He pulled up to the place in front of the university that I asked him to, I got out of the car, and handed the usual fare thru the open passenger side window. He took it and started to pull away. That’s when I notice it. The car did not have the usual “CairoTaxi” or “GizaTaxi” painted on the door, nor did it have a taxi license plate!

Apparently I got a lift from a private car – and paid him!
LOL Only in Cairo.

September 21, 2007

MotoGP: Saturday

Filed under: NSTIW,Travel — Kaddee @ 3:36 pm

Saturday: 125 and 250 practice and 2nd qualifier, MotoGP qualifier

After the freezing rain of Friday, even the clear skies Saturday morning did not convince us. We packed up the cameras, lenses, fleeces AND rain shells. Hell, the VIP Village suite would be open, so we could leave whatever we didn’t need there!

We had breakfast in the suite, met a fellow racing fan/photo geek and exchanged comments on where to get good pictures. The VIP Village had a “planned” pitwalk just around lunch time, so we got all the gear together and went to find good vantage points.

In trying to find our way to a recommended spot, we took a wrong turn. We ended up at a security gate which led to the outer access ring road around the track. There were all sorts of signs about who had access, so we ASSumed we would be turned back, but “ya never know until ya try!” Jack and I bluffed our way onto the outer ring access road for the track! The security guy never even waited for us to reach the fence. He opened the gate and we went thru. Photographers access!!! Life can be soooooo good sometimes.

Photographers Access

We’d only planned for a short excursion to take photos during the practices, but with photographers access to the service roads, we spent the WHOLE morning shooting pictures. It was a really good thing that we both had 4GIG cards in the cameras! We both shot a TON of pics.

(more…)

August 26, 2007

Belgium Beer List – Summer 2007

Filed under: NSTIW — Kaddee @ 11:47 am

Here it is, as promised. Jack’s blog has most of the tasting notes to go along with the beers. If you are a beer snob, read ‘em and weep.
BRUSSELS
Delirium Cafe:

  • St. Idesbad Trippel (bottle)
  • Radenmacher Blond (tap)
  • Rulles Trippel (tap)
  • Rodenbach Grand Cru (bottle)

Poechenellekelder:

  • Val Dieu Triple (bottle)
  • Guillotine (bottle)

Bottle Shop – Room Beers:

  • St. Arnoldus Trippel (bottle)
  • Ellezelloise, La Bierre des Collines, Quintine Blonde (bottle)

BRUGGE
Cambrinus:

  • Bink Blond (bottle)
  • Bink Bruin (bottle)
  • Westvleteren 12 (bottle)
  • Abdis Blond (bottle)

Erasmus:

  • Abbaye de Rocs Bruin (tap)
  • Dupont Moinette Blond (tap)
  • Witkap Stimulo (bottle)
  • Witkap Triple (bottle)

‘t Brugs Beertje:

  • Saison Dupont (bottle)
  • Bruge Zot (tap)
  • XX Bitter (bottle) *Daisy said this was a “beautiful beer”
  • Arabier (bottle)

Terrastje Bruge:

  • Orval (bottle)
  • Lindemann’s Kriek (tap)
  • St. Bernadus Triple (bottle)
  • Bruges Triple (bottle)
  • Chimay Blue (bottle)

Vlissinghe 1515:

  • Triple Karmaliet (bottle)
  • Hommelbier (bottle)

Dickies:

  • La Chouffe (tap)
  • Ellezelloise, La Bierre des Collines, Hercule Stout (bottle)
  • Slaapmutske Tripel (bottle)
  • Saison Dupont (bottle)

‘t Brugs Beertje (2nd visit):

  • Cuvee de Trolls (bottle)
  • Malheur 10 (bottle)
  • Lindemann Faro (bottle)

GHENT
Unrecorded venue:

  • Petrus Gouden Triple (bottle)
  • Dilaarbijter Tripel Blond (bottle)
  • Tripel Karmeliet
  • Duvel

Aba-Jour: (Westvleteren out of stock!)

  • Augustijn Grand Cru (tap)
  • Villers Tripel (bottle)
  • Gentse Tripel (tap)
  • Pater Lieven Blond (bottle)

Waterhuis aan de Bierkant:

  • Malheur 6 (tap)
  • Gandavum house beer (tap)
  • La Trappe Blond Triple (tap)
  • Chimay Triple (tap)

Trappistenhuis: (Westvleteren out of stock!)

  • Oude Geuze Boon (bottle)
  • Bonne Esperance (bottle)
  • Achel Bruin (bottle)
  • Dikke Mathile (bottle)
  • Ter Dolen Blond (bottle)
  • Rochefort 6 (bottle)

Dulle Griet:

  • Dulle Griet Blond (tap)
  • Westmalle dubble (tap)

**Variation from Beer here, but must be recorded**
Glengarry: (Scottish Scotch bar)

  • Bruich Ladden – WMD II – 1991 “The Yellow Submarine” 14yo
  • Clynelish 14yo
  • Caol Ila – 1995 “Murray McDavid” – 10yo
  • Glenfarclas – 1965 – 12yo

ANTWERP
Cafe Trappisten, Westmalle:

  • Westmalle Dubbel (tap)
  • Half and Half – Dubbel and Tripel (tap)

MECHELEN
Den Akker:

  • Gouden Carolous Ambrio (tap)
  • Gouden Carolous Tripel (tap)
  • Gouden Carolous (tap)
  • Gouden Carolous Margrite (tap)

d’Afspraak:

  • La Chouffe (tap)
  • Postel Trippel (bottle)

Stillen Genieter:

  • Westvleteren 6 (bottle) **at cellar temp**
  • Westvleteren 8 (bottle) **at cellar temp**
  • Westvleteren 12 (bottle) **at cellar temp**
  • Cuvee de Bouillon (bottle)

BRUSSELS (2nd visit)
Mort Subite:

  • Mort Subite White (tap)
  • Mort Subite Faro (tap)
  • Chimay White (bottle)
  • Orval (bottle)

t’ Spinnekopke: (out of first choice beers, so…)

  • Achel Blond (bottle)
  • Ellezelloise, La Bierre des Collines, Quintine Ambree (bottle)

Bier Circus:

  • Dupont Biolegere (bottle)
  • La Binchoise Blond (bottle)
  • La Moneuse Blond (bottle)

Delirium Cafe: (2nd visit)

  • Saxo Blond (bottle)
  • Villers Tripel (bottle)

May 22, 2007

Random

Filed under: NSTIW — Kaddee @ 10:58 am

So…last week was my birthday. It was “a big one”. I adore celebrating my birthday, and Jack humors me about it, although he feels that one should give that up around age 12. I was feeling a bit melancholy in the week before my birthday. I couldn’t figure out why. I really was not concerned about attaining another decade – the numbers are not a big deal to me. So why the funk?

Then I figured it out. Usually, there is a build-up before my birthday. Cards and packages begin arriving at the house. Anticipation builds. I get very excited and giddy about the whole thing – yes…it IS all about me around my birthday! This year, living in Cairo, there wasn’t the mounting excitement. There was a party being planned for me and another friend (birthday on Sunday), but somehow it wasn’t the same. It was gearing up to be just another Saturday.

Then, an incredible thing happened. I was in my office, prepping for my class when a package arrived from CANADA!! No kidding. This was the first (non-work-related) package that I’d received since arriving last August! I was ecstatic! A small package with some beloved chololates from a good friend, and suddenly it was my birthday!

The birthday weekend turned out to be FANTASTIC! Lovely steak dinner with my honey on Thursday night, incredible party until 3am with loads of friends, food and wine on Friday night, and a mellow, relaxed birthday day on Saturday – complete with e-cards and ANOTHER package delivery!

Life is soo good.

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We’ve all travelled. We’ve all experienced travel-related gastro-intestinal distress. What do you do when it afflicts you at home (yes, home is Cairo) for weeks at a time? I’ve been trying to eat “well” – bland(ish) breads and cereals, simple fruits and veggies (washed), loads of juices and water. And still my gut is in rebellion. Jack suggests seeing a physician, I prefer to attempt to wait it out. Either way, for someone who has always maintained a “cast iron stomach” this really sucks!

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Yes, I’ve been quite neglectful of this site. It is the end of the semester. TMSAISTI.

I have Jordan pictures to post, more unacceptable behavior at work (that I did NOT get sucked into – thank you Flash and others for your advice and long-distance support), and other miscelleny. I give my finals next week, and then am looking forward to some time to relax and bother all the Cairo Chronicles readers with posts. Thanks for understanding.

May 1, 2007

Beautiful migrants

Filed under: Being There,NSTIW — Kaddee @ 8:51 am

Jack and I were sitting in a (not-yet-ready-for-primetime) new roof-top terrace in Zamalek last evening, when we saw a bird that we’d never seen in Cairo before.

Bee Eaters

Not my photo. From Wikipedia.com.

When I got home, I had to look up what it was. It is an European Bee-eater. It uses the Nile Valley as a flyway for migration. It is a common visitor in the Springtime!  How delightful!

April 17, 2007

Good to know

Filed under: NSTIW — Kaddee @ 11:04 pm

This morning, after 8 months of “commuting” in Cairo by taxi, my driver actually dropped the meter flag when I got into the car. This has never happened before. I didn’t realize the meters even worked. There are “standard fares” that one pays from point A to point B. The only taxis that USE their meters are the Yellow cabs that locals refuse to use.

So today, my cab actually ran the meter as he took me from home to school. We went the usual route, and I paid the standard fare when I got out. The most interesting thing was to find out what the “metered fare” would be.

The standard fare from Zamalek to the University is 5LE. The metered fare was 1.80LE.

NO KIDDING

Khamiseen

Filed under: Being There,NSTIW — Kaddee @ 3:15 am

April 17 2006

We are having our first real khamiseen (sand storm) in Cairo since I’ve been here. The wind is whipping. The sky is an odd orange color, like Creamsicles. The sand in the air is thick enough to make breathing difficult, and seeing nearly impossible. It is not the “white-out” effect I had expected, I can see for a block or so, but the sand abrades your skin and eyes. The temperature is up, the wind is up, the sand is up – I’m hiding in my office.

In my office, even with the windows closed and the blinds drawn, everything is covered with a layer of fine, sandy grit. It’ll take another few days to get it off of everything. The students and Egyptian faculty seem to be taking it in stride, but I’m fascinated and horrified, simultaneously. There was a “sand-drift” in the foyer of my building that had formed in the hour that I was lecturing on the first floor. It is incredible!!