Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles

October 26, 2007

MotoGP: Sunday (Race Day)

Filed under: Being There,Travel — Kaddee @ 4:13 pm

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday – for most of the MotoGP calendar this is RACE DAY. So too in Brno. Once again, the day dawned clear and sunny, with only a trace of clouds (or was that just from Charity GP the night before??). We were up and out quickly to get on the bus for the track.

Same deal as yesterday, have breakfast, socialize with the other photographer friend we’ve made, make a plan for the day. (Little did I realize THEN that race day is more about watching than photographing. I’ve never been the one with a good camera at the track, I ALWAYS watch. This time is new. I’m learning) Unfortunately, the gods of organization were conspiring, and all of our “best laid plans” for the morning went out the window. On the positive side, there were happy surprises awaiting us. :)

We’d figured we would spend the morning (during warm-up) out on the service road, shooting. THEN we found out that the PitWalk was earlier than the previous day, so we really didn’t have time to go out on the service road AND do the PitWalk. Ok…watch warm-up, do the “paddock tour” (really just a “herded” walk thru the boring parts of the paddock, but occasionally you can see someone) and be ready for the PitWalk.

As we are signing up for the paddock tour, one of the VIP Village hostesses tells Jack to “pick out THIS gamepiece from the bowl”. (The VIP hospitality group gives away all kinds of stuff to people in the Village. Each morning when you enter you choose a little gamepiece and you might win something – ranging from a MotoGP cap to a Tissot watch). Jack did as he was told, and “won” a chance to watch the start of the 125 race from the Pit Wall! I was soooooo JEALOUS.

As we were trying to figure out what lenses he could bring down with him, the same hostess taps me and points to ANOTHER gamepiece. GUESS WHAT!!??

125 PitWall Passes
Yup, our whole day changed!

We went on the paddock tour. A HUGE group of people walk from one end of the paddock to the other, following a girl with a sign. Everyone is supposed to stay together and just look. *We* weren’t important enough (read: didn’t spend enough money on our tickets) to have paddock passes so we get marched thru to gawk.

Jack and I had our cameras, although we didn’t really expect to see anyone. As luck would have it, we did see Randy dePuniet going by on a scooter!
Randy DePuniet
Also, as luck would have it, Jack and I “got lost” in the paddock as we went looking for photo ops. OOOPPPPS! We went wandering off, between some of the trucks, towards the backdoors of the pits. Next thing we knew…the “tour” was gone. Drat!

We spent some time between the trailers and the garage doors, hoping to see *someone* to take pics of. There was not a lot going on – the riders were in their garages, waiting to head out onto the track. The one person I did get a picture of was Marco Melandri, who was injured and subsequently not riding.
Marco Melandri (injured)

When we left the paddock, to do the pitwalk, get lunch and get ready for the 125 race, a VERY germanic DORNA security guy gave us a bunch of hassle about separating from the tour, but eventually deigned to “allowed” us to leave. He tried to make us feel like he was doing us a favor by letting us OUT, since our tour had already left. Yeah! Sure.

The pitwalk was much the same as the previous day with babes and bikes and open garages. I took almost no photos. We had lunch and met up with the DORNA guy who was going to be our “host” on the pitwall for the start of the 125 race!

THIS was exciting. We got back down onto pit lane as the MotoGP warm-up was finishing up. We walked in front of the garages, as riders were coming in and going out for last minute setup adjustments! The photos from pitlane during MotoGP warmup are here, but below is (IMNSHO) my best shot of the weekend.


After MotoGP warm-up, we got to see what we’d gone to pitlane to see – the start of the 125 race! We were at the beginning of the pit wall, not far from the start/finish line. We could see everything! The pics of the grid are not bad, but we were (literally) so close to the racers that the actual race pictures are blurry! I learned a bit from my pictures the previous day, so hopefully these are better! :)

The rest of the day was primarily spent as a spectator. I took a few shots during the 250 and GP race, but nothing really worth posting. I simply ENJOYED the races. What a concept!

October 23, 2007


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.

October 7, 2007

KNITTING: Feel free to skip if you are not a knitter

Filed under: Being There — Kaddee @ 5:43 pm

I really enjoy knitting (and now, crochet, since I’ve “retaught” myself how). I find either to be very relaxing as well as producing cool things (although, in reality the outcome is not the reason I do it – see 20 year old yarn post).

I did not bring yarn with me. I figured that, people HERE knit and crochet, especially crochet, I should be able to find some decent yarn here.


I’ve been searching for yarn for a couple of projects (baby blanket for my maid, slipper socks to felt for me, scarf for Jack) and have only found crappy Chinese acrylic (it is crappy because it is acrylic, not because it is Chinese), super fine crochet thread and rope. No kidding, rope!

A friend left us a bunch of stuff when she moved. It included some yarn! I’m desperate for some needlecraft project to keep me sane, so I figured I’d try out some of the yarn that was left, even though I don’t particularly like it.

IT IS HORRIBLE!!!! It is a double strand, with “confetti” on one strand. It is a hideous color and it feels terrible! I’m soooooo frustrated!

Yucky Yarn

So much for relaxing while knitting!!! Can’t crochet with this stuff, knitting with it is like wrestling with an ornery prickly squid. Guess no knitting until I find somewhere to get yarn.

Maybe during Eid…