08/12/2008

only in Egypt you can see...

… a coffee shop employee putting a refrigerated water bottle in the microwave to get it to “room temperature”.

… an ambulance van with a regular house A/C sticking out of the rear door to cool down the vehicle.

… cleaners literarily flooding whole building staircases as regular way of “cleaning” them.

… policemen “borrowing” plastic crocodiles displayed in a hotel swimming pool to the occasion of an art event

… donkey carts on the highway

… trucks loaded to such extend that they tilt backwards, leaving the driver in his cabin hang high in the air.

... taxis deprived of all interior finishing, with eternally open windows and activating the horn by making a bare wire touch a random peace of metal in the car.

… expats drinking hot spice wine at 25 C during the traditional Christmas bazaar

…sheep standing on balconies, courtyards and being transported in or on taxis shortly before the great feast

… a combination of blinking lights, colourful garlands and a dozen of slaughtered cows hanging in front of the butchers to signal the approaching of the great feast.

… the UN Day Gala opened by pompous fire show accompanied by the Star Wars melody.

And to make it clear, while some people might interpret these things as complete nonsense and reason for not living in such an “unorganised and chaotic” city, these are exactly the things that I find, I admit not always amusing, but all in all charming. These are the things that make every day a little adventure and life more interesting… smile, you are in Egypt :)

00:21 Écrit par Natalie :) dans Algemeen | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |

07/12/2008

what can I say? ...second half of 2008...

Health wise my tonsils have not been very nice to me in the last year, constantly getting infected to an extend that doctors recommended to take them out. I was not thrilled, especially as I have managed to stay out of hospitals and ORs in the last 30 years of my life. I was determined to do the operation in Bremen and after various fights with my insurance I finally got the "green light" for August. When children get the operation they are fit again after 3 days, but the older you get the more painful it is and the longer the recovery takes. "Well, you are thirty" was a doctor's response to my wining question why the little kid operated on the same day than me was already singing and jumping around, while I was still screaming for morphine. It took one week hospital, followed by 10 days of close care by my mom who especially flew to Bremen (merci maman!) and then almost 3 weeks in bed until the doctors allowed me to take a plane back to Cairo. My lovely employers, with sustainability report saying they treat their employees very well and supposedly use western standards, decided that they would not accept the German doctor’s note (giving me 5 weeks sick leave) and only paid me 1,5 weeks. For the rest of the time, no salary for me… isn’t that nice?

I arrived back in Cairo beginning of October, in the middle of Ramadan. As I was still not 100% fit I did not fast either this year. Apart from that, the usual madness of people leaving work early, cars rushing through the streets, taxis not willing to take any customers and people getting into fights out of fear of not arriving at home in time for iftar (breaking the fast). And as always, fasting or not, I had a good time in this very special month of the year.

Shortly after the End of Ramadan I received the good news: A new job as Deputy Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum Cairo J yeay! So since the 23rd of November I, French-German, am happily spreading Austrian culture in Egypt – this is globalisation! The first ten days have already been full of exiting events, bananas, films …. but I will write about some more in detail a bit later.

Before starting to write today, I read through my old posts of this blog and I realised that I gradually changed environments and surroundings in the last 4 years I have been in Egypt. Especially in the last year I got to know again another of the many faces of Egypt, so you can expect new stories with new flavour in the future. The great thing about this city though, is that it gets never boring and still, every couple of day you see things here, which you would not even dream of seeing in Europe stay tuned for more!

23:30 Écrit par Natalie :) dans Algemeen | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |

what can I say? ...first half of 2008...

Once again a loooong time passed since my last blog entry. Actually quite scarry I did not manage to write since last February! It is true that my life calmed down a bit but that is no excuse ;-)

So again a quick overview of what has happened so far... actually not that much.

I was mainly busy working and travelling back and forth: Zamalek (the place I live in) -work- Zamalek. Depending on thraffic, this could mean up to 3,5 hours stuck in traffic per day. Time enough to doze off in the morning and have nice conversations with colleagues taking me back in their car.

April was marked by the visit of my dear LesAnciens. For the first time the annual Les Anciens meeting did not take place in Europe but in our wonderfully chaotic Cairo. We organised pre-events in Luxor&Asswan and in the White Desert and a relaxing post event in Dahab. The tradidional saturday European Night was hosted by Karina in her great living room, high up, with view on Nile and Pyramids. Once the furniture was moved, the DJ took his place and the bar was set up, the perfect party location was created. And as we did not only celebrate the Europen night but also my 30th Birthday (yes, I joined the club this year) we had plenty of reasons to dance til dawn ;-) It was lots of fun and great to have you all here!

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Summertime was linked to lots of travelling... In June I got to spend some days in Germany to the occasion of Michiel and Janina's wedding in Luebeck. Then I travelled to Barcelona for a conference in July and in August it was Janine's turn to get married to her Southafrican Donald in Bremen. All the best to the happy couples!

 

21:52 Écrit par Natalie :) dans Algemeen | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |