Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles

November 17, 2008

Things piled in trucks

Filed under: What the...? — Kaddee @ 8:21 pm

Today’s commute had an unusual number of unusual items piled in trucks.

Things piled in trucks is not unusual in Egypt. The piles are often WELL BEYOND what most (read: Western) would consider prudent. Still, life goes on and most of it doesn’t fall out of the truck.

Today’s list of “Things Piled in Trucks” includes some of the usual:

  • Garbage – in bags, lashed to the truck, and piled more than 100% of the height of the truck itself!
  • Eggs – more flats of eggs than you can imagine or count. They FILL a pick-up truck and are piled well above the sides of the bed. All flats lashed down to the truck, going over some of the worst roads in Cairo (Giza). I’d be amazed if half of the eggs make it to their destination
  • Vegetables – onions, turnips, tomatoes, all literally overflowing the truck bed.
  • Furniture – entire households worth on ONE truck frequently with the residents and family.
  • People – workers on their way home from work. There are frequently so many men in the back of a truck that they are all standing up, holding onto each other, hoping that the guys at the front are actually holding on to the top of the cab. It is not unusual to see 15 to 20 men and boys in the back of a truck on the highway!

Today added a few new items:

  • Sheep – filling the bed of a pick-up AND tied to a platform on top of the cab of the truck – with a boy standing in the back, tending to the sheep. (I WISH I could have gotten a picture – it was unbelievable)
  • Sod – probably a hundred rolls of sod in the back of a flatbed. Being from Seattle this didn’t strike me as too odd, at first. Then I realized, Cairo is a DESERT! Sod isn’t farmed here, nor does it last very long here. Where the HECK is that sod from? going?
  • Aluminum stock pots – I know this doesn’t sound odd, but imagine, if you will, pots large enough to render down small children. Now imagine them stacked in the back of a pickup – 3 high by 3 wide by 4 deep! All careening down the ring road at relatively high speeds.

Welcome in Egypt.

November 12, 2008


Filed under: How it works,Uncategorized — Kaddee @ 2:25 pm

The much-touted US election has been blogged to death elsewhere, so I will add merely a little slice of Egypt to the mix.

All the hoopla and run-up to the election was felt here, but only for one candidate. As far as I can tell (and remember, I’m firmly ensconced in the proverbial Ivory Tower) there was “only one REAL candidate”, and it would be an “overwhelming, tsunami of popular vote” for said candidate.

Well, although that didn’t happen (even though otherwise statistically savvy academics are STILL claiming a landslide victory) the jubilation here was incredible.

In all that, I waited. And I waited. And I waited.

As a good democratic (not in the “Which party do you belong to” sense) citizen, I was prepared to exercise my right to express my opinion. I understand that in my state of residence, my vote is not really necessary, as the state ALWAYS goes one way.

Even so, I was patiently waiting to be a part of the process.

WELL NOW MY TIME HAS COME. My state and federal elections ballot was delivered to my desk today.

LOL – HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, who should I vote for?

November 10, 2008

“Let me buy you Paris”

Filed under: How it works,Uncategorized — Kaddee @ 6:46 pm

Well, only kinda – I have the joy to be able to give my darling part of the Christmas season in Paris.

This year, Eid el Adha (the BIG Eid) is the second week in December. This ROYALLY messes up class schedules, as we have a week off and then come back for 3 days before giving finals! Malesh!

We have already planned our Christmas/New Year’s trip, and have been trying to figure out what (if anything) we would do for Eid.

We were avoiding other Muslim countries, as the Eid is a time when EVERYTHING shuts down for the feast – so vacationers are frequently left with few options.

Gozi expressed interest in seeing Paris (funny since every time France is mentioned in his presence he exclaims, “F**k the French!!”). The tickets are unreasonable, but so are the French! Besides, Christmas season is Paris is supposed to be MAHVELOUS!

So off we go – for the start of the Christmas season in Paris. We have our flight and a hotel, what else could we need. It is Paris, after all.