it's getting hot here! It's nearly 2am and I'm sitting in the
study. The thermometer here tells me that it's 33 degrees C (that's
about 90 F!). It would be cooler with the windows open but I don't
want to let the mosquitoes in. In this kind of weather it is a
case of regular cold showers to keep cool.
the temperature being so high we're planning on going swimming
tomorrow at a hotel near the airport. We have friends that are
members of a club there so we can go in with them at a cost of
5 quid per adult- this is cheap compared to being full members
which would set us back by nearly 400 quid per year! There's a
lot of rich foreigners around here . . .
I went to a speaking engagement to small town outside Cairo. The
children from many different meeting places came together for
a conference- I guess about 150 altogether. I had two speaking
spots, both of which went really well. As usual many of the children
found me afterwards in order to shake my hand and say "Thank you"
(now you wouldn't get THAT happening in England, eh?).
had a different translator for each talk; it always amuses me
how different translators do their job. The first lady has translated
for me in the past. She knows what I'm going to say next, but
her English is far from perfect. If she doesn't understand what
is said she'll make it up as she goes along- now that I understand
more Arabic I have to listen to the translation really carefully
to see if she has got it right or not. If she hasn't I have to
repeat what I've said in a different way and hope that she eventually
understands. Since she is a children's speaker herself she will
sometimes go into her own explanation of what I've just said,
speaking for about 2 or 3 minutes without me saying anything.
Again I have to listen really carefully because she might say
something that I will use later on in the talk and I don't want
to repeat what SHE said.
second translator gave more of a clinical, word-by-word translation.
His English was nearly fluent and he entered into the spirit of
what I was saying. I liked both translators for their differing
styles and it reminds me of the differing translations of the
bible how each is appropriate for different reasons.
we went to a near-by house where there lived some friends of the
first lady who translated me. We just went for "5 or 10 minutes"-
in reality about 45 minutes. The flat was quite full with other
visitors, one of which instantly recognised me as the speaker
at a teacher's conference last year. Whilst we were chatting one
of the ladies who lived in the flat offered me something to eat.
My first reaction in such circumstances is to say "No"- I've had
too many bad experiences in similar circumstances in the past.
But it seemed that everyone was waiting for my reply and I felt
that for the sake of good manners I should accept. The food being
offered was fish, and after accepting the invitation to each she
went to the kitchen and returned with the fish that she was going
to prepare. I instantly recognised the type of fish it was. It
looked rather like a thin trout that had been smoked. I've seen
them many times before in hot and sweaty corner shops usually
covered in a blanket of flies. She asked me how I wanted it prepared.
I replied that in England we eat fish with chips but since this
one was smoked I'd have it in a sandwich.
or without lemon?" she asked.
with!" I replied. I thought that it might go some way in killing
any eggs that the flies would have laid on it. She graciously
cut off the head and the tail before mashing it and putting it
into a sandwich. The bread was similar to pitta bread but was
thicker and brown. Everyone was watching me to see my reaction
when I ate it- I guess that I managed to hide my true feelings
quite well. My first reaction was "Ouch!" The bones hadn't been
taken out of the fish before it was mashed so I had to crunch
through them. This fish had quite a high bone to meat ratio but
otherwise it tasted similar to a good old-fashioned kipper.
like it?" asked the hostess
I replied, blinking back the tears. This is the first time I've
had a kipper-flavoured needle sandwich- definitely something to
write home about!
nearly forgot to say- a couple of weeks ago there was an Earthquake
here in Cairo! Well OK, it was more like a tremor but the Earth
definitely DID move. Alison was taking Hannah to bed and I was
in the living room with Esther. Whilst sitting on the sofa I noticed
that not all was still- I felt that I moving slightly but there
was no rumble coming from outside. I leapt to my feet to get ready
to run out with Esther in case it got any worse but it stopped
after about only 3 or 4 seconds. Alison walked through from Hannah's
bedroom with a confused look - "Was that an Earthquake?"
yes, I think so"
let's hope that's as bad as they get!
girls seem to be coping OK with the heat- Esther is getting some
Prickly Heat but we have some powder to help with that. We'll
have to wait until mid-October before we start to feel comfortable
with the weather.
that's it for now,
news next week,
of Love from us all
Alison, Hannah and Esther
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