Tag Archive | egypt

“The Siege of Acre, 1189-1191″ Saladin And The Crusades, from Lane-Poole, Part IV, Chapter XVII

Siege of Acre 1189-91 from medieval illustration

Siege of Acre 1189-91 from medieval illustration. (Wikicommons)

Excerpt from Chapter XVII: “……(T)he French…had put Acre under strict blockade. Saracen ships indeed still forced their way in to the relief of the garrison; one was smuggled in under a French disguise, but generally they had to run the gauntlet.

“One such adventure happened in September. Three Egyptian dromonds or ships of burthen opportunely arrived, when there was not enough food in the city to last another day. The Christian galleys were upon the new-comers in a moment. The beach was lined with the Moslem army, calling aloud upon God to save the ships.

“The Sultan himself stood there in an agony of suspense, watching the struggle, ‘like a parent robbed of his child.’ The battle raged, but fortunately for the garrison there was a fair wind, and at last the three ships sailed into the harbour safe and sound, amid the furious shouts of the enemy and the loud thanksgivings of the Faithful.”

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Birds of Egypt: “Abu Ghuttaas,” The Pied Kingfisher

A Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis), also known as "Abu Ghuttaas" ("father of those who dunk") sits on the wire hunting for fish in an irrigation canal fed from the Nile River in our rural village in Egypt

A Pied Kingfisher in our rural Egyptian village… (Please click image for more)

Another frequent visitor to our rural little corner of Egypt’s Nile delta is this handsome fellow nicknamed by the birdwatching locals, “Abu Ghuttaas,” loosely translated as “Father of those who dunk.” Ducking under water and coming back up quickly (as the ducks do) is referred to in my husband’s french chocolate tongue as “making ghuts.”

A Pied Kingfisher, this black and white beauty is properly known by his Latin name, Ceryle rudis, but the Ancient Egyptians reportedly called him “cnHb.t” or maybe it’s “cn-nHb.t.” Gutenberg doesn’t tell us how to say it, but is certain this translates into “the one turning around the neck (when hovering above water spying fish),” — I tried very hard to confirm this with the local Ancient Egyptians, but everyone around here insists he is just Abu Ghuttaas.

This particularly handsome bird up on that wire is a male, as he has two bands of black around his neck. Similar to his more strikingly colored cousin, Mr. Fairuz, (Turquoise) the Collared Kingfisher, Abu Ghuttaas loves to hang around our home, hunting for fish in the irrigation canal. All of Egypt’s delta region is watered by a wide network of irrigation canals fed by the Nile River, and we commonly see many little fish swimming around in the canal from our second floor windows.

Abu Ghuttaas favorite fishing canal on our corner in egypt

Abu Ghuttaas’ favorite fishing canal on our corner in Egypt

The electric wires coming to our home provide a perfect perch for many beautiful birds, and I always feel amazingly blessed and thankful to get such a perfect view from our windows. But I go way over the top of that when I get a good clear picture of a beautiful bird!! (or sheep, or donkey…lol)

Pied Kingfishers are not very picky eaters, hovering over water and diving straight down to capture fish, snails, bugs, it’s all good to Abu Ghuttaas. Eating on the wing, so to speak, they can continuously forage without needing to sit down to eat. Here’s a great photo by Karthik Easvur with all the stages of dunking, or “making ghuts,” superimposed on the image — it gives a great illustration of the amazing beauty of this handsome bird in action:

Pied Kingfisher's fishing manoeuvre, combined in a single image, c. Karthik Easvur (Wikicommons)

Pied Kingfisher’s fishing manoeuvre, combined in a single image, c. Karthik Easvur (Wikicommons)

On the other side of our corner, near our garage, are several “Toot” (Mulberry) trees. This must be a favorite hangout for the beautiful birds of Egypt, at least in our rural little corner, anyway — it was up in a nearby Toot tree that I was able to capture a couple of great shots of Cleopatra, the Green Bee-Eater, another favorite of mine. Here’s one more photo of Abu Ghuttaas, perched up in a Toot tree:

Abu Ghuttaas, a Pied Kingfisher, in a Toot (Mulberry) Tree

Abu Ghuttaas, a Pied Kingfisher, in a Toot (Mulberry) Tree… (Please click image for more)

 

You might like to learn more at Wikipedia about Abu Ghuttaas, the Pied Kingfisher, and here’s a YouTube video to watch, too:

Click here for the previous bird in this series: Abu Maghazil, The Spur-Winged Lapwing

 
;^)

Ep. 19, Joyride to Egypt: Did I Sleep?

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July Dawned Softly in the Eastern Sky

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“Out, Out, Out, Out, OUT!!!!” I screamed at that damn monkey in my hot tub. In the darkness of my little patio I watched his eyes grow wide with surprise, and I wondered suddenly if any of my neighbors had heard me yelling. A quiet, gated condominium community nestled in a tiny scrap of forested wetlands fortunately preserved by eco-visionary legislature, my neighbors and I were grateful beneficiaries of the 1990’s federal wetland protection acts.

Monkeys are probably covered in one of those eco-protection laws governing what goes on in my neighborhood. But this monkey was clearly in the cross-hairs of Scheri’s smoking wand of rose-scented incense, glowing softly from its stand in the flower planter beside the hot tub.
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Aisha’s Egypt: The Potter’s Wheel

Egyptian potter with vase on wheel

The Potter’s Wheel
 
Spinning like the Potter’s wheel
Ancient days and ancient ways
Traverse this earth in cycles
 
Spinning into foggy dawn
Recycling into sunset
In boring revolution
 
Time without evolution
Spinning like the Potter’s wheel
Until the potter is gone
 
Swallowed by oblivion
Ancient days and ancient ways
Unnoticed until missing
 
Like faithful dedication
Enduring pain with patience
Or aging gracefully
 
Spinning like the Potter’s wheel
Finally the ancient ways
Spin into eternity
 
 
© 2015 Aisha Abdelhamid
Dedicated to the Potter’s wife, whose husband is now passed away –
May God have mercy on him, his family, and us all.

 
 
A few more photos of the Potter’s workshop, kiln, and pottery for sale:

pottery kiln and workshop and pottery for sale-small
 
 
pottery for sale on table
 
 
potter with vase on wheel-small
 
 
;^)

Aisha’s Egypt: Where Old Ways Stay the Same

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Where Old Ways Stay The Same
 
Where old ways stay the same
There’s usually a good reason
Ways don’t tend to disappear
When shown appreciation
 
Love, good manners, and kind regard
Tend to wither with neglect
Seasons change and pass with time
Transitioning unchecked
 
Until no longer remembered
Until unneeded anymore
Until with unfamiliar face
Love slowly closes the door
 
 
© 2015 Aisha Abdelhamid
;^)

“The Battle of Acre, 1189″ Saladin And The Crusades, from Lane-Poole, Part IV, Chapter XVI

Excerpt from Chapter XVI: “…When the fall of Jerusalem became known in Europe, a universal cry of dismay was heard in every court and camp and village… …To recover what was lost became the passionate desire of each pious knight, the ambition of every adventurer.

“The Pope issued a trumpet-call for a new Crusade, which should wash out every sin. Richard of England, then Count of Poitou, was the first to take up the Cross. The Kings of England and France made up their quarrel and received the sacred badge from the Archbishop of Tyre. Baldwin of Canterbury preached the Crusade, in which he was later to die before Acre, and a “Saladin Tax,” a tithe of every man’s wealth, was collected throughout the length and breadth of the land. …”

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Aisha’s Egypt: Duck Market Day

Aisha's Egypt: Duck Market Day

Duck Market Day
 
Carrying her duck perched high on her head
She’s walking her duck to the market
 
He pokes out his head to get a good look
Observing his fate, sitting patiently
 
He calmly enjoys the view from on high
While the ducks back home view his privileged life
 
As the lucky duck who gets to travel
Escaping the farm with the farmer’s wife
 
How smugly he smiles and proudly displays
His best behavior while riding her head
 
Ignorance is bliss even for a duck
Travelling the world in an orange basket
 
Carried on the head of a farmer’s wife
As she walks her duck to the market
 
This moment of fun will soon be over
Life changes like that, and soon life’s over
 
Someone will eat him for dinner tonight
He won’t return home with the farmer’s wife
 
Even lucky ducks living privileged lives
Travelling the world while riding high
 
May escape the farm with the farmer’s wife
But won’t escape fate when it’s dinnertime
 
 
© 2015 by Aisha Abdelhamid
 
;^)