copy Excellent Adventures in Egypt

Enter here to share Joni's adventures living and working in Cairo courtesy of the U.S. Fulbright cultural exchange program. Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization. - Mahatma Ghandi

10/07/2004

After exhausting the downtown shopping possibilities, we continued on the tram to a mall near Gleam Beach to meet up with Nahla who had her eye on some very stylish boots. Nahla was successful in her quest, and we returned, triumphant, to the apartment with our respective shoes in hand. That afternoon, Eman's cousin Susu and her children Nihad and Mahmoud joined us for lunch. The young folks (ages 12 and 9 respectively) are studying English and were very shy about speaking with a native speaker - Mahmoud kept hiding if I came anywhere near. 9I know, I'm pretty scary anyway.) Mrs. Helmy cooked a delicious meal of Egyptian favorites: chicken cutlets and rice pilaf, with lots of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles and aish (flat bread). After lunch we retired to the sitting room to polich off huge amoutns of fruit: brown figs, fresh red dates, grapes, guava and an Inidan delicacy that looks like an orange tomato called kaw-kaw. I took a nap immeidately after stuffing myself full of food. In the evening, we strolled the corniche en famille, resting for a while on a bench overlooking an inlet under the beautiful new bridge, then strolling up the longest pier replete with courting couples whispering together on benches, men fishing off the breakwater and a lively soccer game going on at the end of the pier. Back at the flat, we polished off the ice cream cake - duty bound to finish it since we were headed back to Cairo next day. On Saturday morning the family quickly orgnaized themselves to shut up the flat for the season, and we were on the road by 9:30 am. We stopped at a tammiya place near the flat for brekfast sandwiches of fuul and felafel, then headed out to the main highway - shopping along the way, of course! The highway between Alexandria and Cairo could not be described as a "scenic drive" - unless you are fond of billboards. Leaving Alex, one travels through a vast industrial area: petroleum refineries, quarries and a variety of smaller industrial operations of every scale. Industrial air pollution is not well controlled, and there are increasing problems with groundwater quality. Unfortunately, all this industrial activity takes place in and around Lake Mariut, a large inland freshwater-wetland complex that provides rich habitat for migrating birds. Although Egypt has set aside some bird habitat areas in the Sinai, there are no protected areas at all along the Northern Coast - and plans for massive beach resort development. Once out of the industrial area, the scenery becomes agricultural: orchards of citrus and apple, vineyards, palms and bananas. Posted by Hello

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