Tag Archive | expat

Egyptian Culture, Part 7: Eid al Adha Celebration

Butchering a Cow for Eid al Adha in Egypt by Aisha Abdelhamid

In Egypt, Eid celebrations mark the start of national week-long vacations. Most work grinds to a halt, many stores are shuttered, streets have far less traffic, and fireworks sporadically light up the night skies. More weddings are scheduled for the festive time of eid than any other time of the year, as well.

Every year during Eid al Adha in Egypt and all over the world, Muslims practice “Qurbani.” This is the ritual sacrifice of animals, in commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to obey God’s command. To non-muslims, it may seem strange to learn that this ritual is a rich and beautiful expression of God’s mercy. Can the ritual sacrifice of animals in the streets generate an environment of peace? Yet, this is exactly the case during the Muslim Eid al Adha. Whole communities become visibly enveloped in a unified outpouring of celebration and generosity.

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Photo Poem: Doing The Dishes

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Doing The Dishes

Imagine, next time you stand at your sink,
In your air conditioned home, with your hot water heater
Delivering comfort and ease to your fingers
As you complain about doing the dishes –
Imagine a life with no running water,
Windows always open to the weather,
Your big stack of dirty dishes waiting
For you to carry them down to the well.
Hurry, your neighbor is watering his field,
He won’t complain about sharing the water
As you get advantage from the gushing machine
To scrub your dirty dishes clean
As you laugh and joke with your neighbor.

© 2014 by Aisha Abdelhamid

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Aisha’s Egypt: The Olive & Pickle Vendor

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This is a busy shopping area of El Mahala, Egypt, next to the central bus station. El Mahala is a major shopping hub for all of Egypt, and actually the whole sprawling city is one big shopping extravaganza. Everywhere you turn, it is crowded and bustling with traffic, people and merchandise.

We found a great little restraunt in a chaotic corner off the bus station, and had a great lunch of pizza, pepsi, and ice cream sundaes for dessert. Those pictures didn’t come out, but happily I stopped to take a few photos from the door looking into the street overflowing with vendors and shoppers.

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Ep. 17, Joyride To Egypt: French Chocolate English

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Dancing the night away with Scheri and our new pet monkey seemed like the best way to avoid thinking about the next hurdle in my path to true love. The issue of bringing my children to Egypt was looming larger on the horizon. Clearly, Mr. Answer to my Prayers wasn’t thrilled to include them on the guest list, although he was far too diplomatic to come right out and say it.

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Photo Poem: Leaving The Market

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Leaving The Market

Unequally yoked, but equally tied to the fate of their farming owners

A horse and donkey step together, bonded as patient companions

Leaving the market with an empty cart, empty bellies and empty handed

A pair of waterbuffalos tied to the rear, starving and shuffling side by side

Their fates to the same horse and donkey are tied and the sky is as empty as their bellies

The road is as dusty and dry as their eyes, bleak as the future and bleak as behind

From where they are coming, to where they are going, there is far too much in common

© Aisha Abdelhamid 2014

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Aisha’s Egypt: Watermelon Pyramids

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Modern Egyptian pyramids are a lot more accessible than the old ones, and they taste much better, too!

Early mornings are a great time to see strange sights in Egypt. I’m happy to report that pyramid building is still in the DNA of the Egyptians, and the market is the best place to see this skill displayed. Summer is juicy sweet watermelon season, and all the vendors have stacked up huge numbers of them just like pyramids.

Mohamed and I love watermelons, don’t you? It’s hard to beat a crispy, sweet, cold bowl of watermelon in the evenings instead of cooking in the hot kitchen. When we get to the end of our supply in the garage, it means I get another trip to the city and more fun taking photographs. We just ran out a few days ago, so guess what –

Today we went to the market, bought a few more watermelons, and saw the pyramids, too!

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;^)

Photo Poem: The First Thing I Notice

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♥ Remembering my first thoughts when I received this photo on 9 June, 1999 ♥
♥ Dedicated to my wonderful, loving husband Mohamed ♥
♥ On our ♥
♥ HAPPY 15TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! ♥
♥ 29 July, 2014 ♥

Fifteen years is not a really long time,
Though sometimes it feels like forever –
Sometimes it feels like we have lived
Three lifetimes together
But I’ll gladly take 15 more –
I’m not ready to retire
Just because I’m breathing heavy
Doesn’t mean I’m tired!

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This is one of my favorite photos! It was taken by my awesome brother Jim’s awesome wife Corrine!
Visit their excellent travel blog for more awesome photos at:
Reflections Enroute

;^)

Ep. 16, Joyride To Egypt: Like A Runaway Train

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Runaway Train by dakann.deviantart (digitally altered - click for original)

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(Source: Getty Images)

“engine, engine, number 9, rolling down Chicago line, how many stations till he stops? 1,2,3,4,5,6,7…”
I awoke with this childhood refrain playing in my brain. It was a jumprope rhyme, a favorite of mine when my girlfriends and I were playing jumprope in the schoolyard. One girl on each end of the rope, one girl in the middle between them, jumping the rope as they cycled it in a large arc over her head, coming down and around again, faster and faster as they counted the number of times the girl in the middle successfully jumped the rope passing beneath her feet on its way up and around again in another revolution. The winner was the girl who could jump to the highest number before stopping or falling flat on her face.

Engine number 9 was out of control, barrelling down the track with no intention whatsoever of stopping. If it was a train wreck coming, so be it, I was utterly unable to abandon the Captain of my heart. I awoke bright and early, resolved to jump that rope as fast as it lands in front of my feet, and if I fall, well, it couldn’t be much worse than sprawling on the asphalt of the playground back in gradeschool, could it? I could still be the winner, couldn’t I?!!

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Ep.15, Joyride To Egypt: A Love Letter To Die For

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I heard a familiar soft jingling of coins in the distance behind me as I was just sitting down to my computer. I turned to look and, appearing in a whirlwind of fireworks and mist in the hallway entrance of my condo, that damn Genie appeared with Scheherazade at his side. He stepped lightly to take up his guardpost at the front door. Scheherazade was tiptoeing away from him, unaware that I was watching her as she blew him a kiss and winked, waving goodbye and giggling as she saluted him.

Unable to contain my aggravation, I jumped up from my desk and practically ran across my living room to catch her before she vanished. “Scheherazade!” I snapped angrily, “You have been gone for two days! You said you were only going out for the night! Where in the world have you been?” But giving her no opportunity to answer, I whirled away from her, giving her my back and turning my attention to that damn Genie. He stared at the ground, a totally false expression of contrition on his round, pudgy face. I knew it was false because I saw the corner of his mouth quivering as he tried mightily to refrain from laughing at me. “Disrespectful ingrate!” I cried at him, and yanked hard on his dangling black goatee to put an end to his mischievous expression. “Two days ago you promised to bring her back before dawn!” Rubbing his chin to soothe the smarting pain I had inflicted on him, he surrendered to his sense of humor and, black eyes twinkling, that damn Genie giggled and bowed deeply, saluting me with greatly exaggerated respect. “My Princess, we are early! It’s not yet dawn, oh Queen of the Western Casbah!”

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Egyptian Culture, Part 6: Water, Water, Everywhere

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Clay Water Jugs On A Wire Rack Attached To A Pole

In Egypt, and the Islamic world in general, water has a special importance due to the need to ritually cleanse with water prior to prayer. Praying five times a day makes the presence of water more than just a convenience, it becomes a necessity to ensure a steady, clean supply for the community. Before indoor plumbing became more common around the world, water was drawn from cisterns, wells and fountains. It was during the Ottoman Empire that drinking water fountains in Egypt became commonly installed for the public, usually as a charity offered by the wealthier citizens of the community. These public water fountains often formed the hub around which sprang up mosques, schools, libraries and hospitals.
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