20th of July was our wedding anniversary so Alison and I went
out to a place called "Chillies" which is about a 10 minute taxi
ride away. There was a nice selection of grills and burgers and
various pasta dishes. We had a starter dish of "Volcano onions"
(a BIG dish full- wish we took a doggy bag) and for the main course
I had an 8 oz steak and Alison had a chicken and pasta dish. We
were both well stuffed at the end but really satisfied. I had
some coke with several free re-fills. The price worked out to
be about 15 quid- back in England it would be at least double
the price so there are certain advantages to living here!
Arabic teacher looked after Hannah and Esther while we were out,
although there wasn't any problem because they were both in bed.
When we arrived back we watched a video and drank some champagne
which British Airways gave us as a gift when we flew to Cairo.
All in all a very satisfying day.
past week has been quite busy because I've had quite a few meetings.
On Saturday my calendar showed an engagement in the evening at
6:30. The lady who booked the meeting said that someone would
get in touch about transportation to the event. The event was
a children's holiday club in a meeting place some distance from
our house- I was pleased that I wouldn't have the hassle of getting
in and out of crowded buses and metros with the sketchboard; for
me this is a nightmare scenario.
had another meeting in the morning and when this was finished
I prepared and painted up the 3 talks ready for the evening, one
for each different age group. By 3pm I was a bit concerned that
I still hadn't received a phone call about the travel arrangements.
The lady who originally arranged the meeting was out of the country
and I had no other contact number, so I had to sit and wait. By
5pm I decided that there must have been some mix-up with the date
and that it wasn't going to be that day, so I lay down for a rest
and proptly went to sleep.
awoke at 7pm and started to arrange what else I'd do in the evening
but at 7:15 I received a phone call from the meeting housing asking
why I hadn't arrived! I explained that I had been waiting for
a call to for the travel arrangements then the lady on the other
end was full of apologies. The children were still expecting me
though so she asked me to leave straight away. I asked how, she
said "taxi". I explained that there were several problems with
this, first it would take a long time because of the traffic at
this time in Cairo, and secondly the taxi drivers always try to
get lost when there is a foreigner in the back so that they can
claim more money, and since I didn't know where it was I couldn't
do anything to stop it! We agreed that I'd try anyway. We arrived
at the right area surprisingly quickly- 30 minutes was good timing
for a saturday evening but then as expected the taxi driver didn't
know exactly were to go so he stopped to ask someone. In this
culture asking for directions is a game of chance- you'll be given
directions whether the person knows or not since no-one wants
to loose face by saying "I don't know".
first person we asked pointed us in one direction and later the
taxi driver asked someone else who said "Errr, try that place
down there on the corner"- I was shocked to find it was the right
place! In an area of 2 million people we managed to get to the
right place by asking two people- this is unheard of! I think
the taxi driver was disappointed that we didn't drive around for
much longer so that he could claim more money. Someone came out
to greet me and told me to go inside while he paid the taxi (Egyptians
always pay less than foreigners so I wasn't going to complain!)
There was enough time left for 2 meetings which went really well,
lots of children were attending for the first time.
the journey back was uneventful- I was taken by someone going
in the right direction from the meeting place. I arrived back
at 11pm and I was both mentally and physically drained but satisfied
with what we achieved.
had a welcome phone call the next morning by a friend of ours
who invited us to go with his family to a swimming pool in a 4
star hotel near the airport. He has membership there and can take
us as guests and we just have to pay the equivalent of 10 pounds
sterling for entrance. Like all pools in Cairo it is outdoors,
with sunbeds and plenty of shade, a poolside bar and refreshments
menu . . .
I had to leave early because of another meeting but Alison, Hannah
and Esther were able to stay throughout the afternoon. I was told
afterwareds that Hannah really didn't want to leave and caused
a bit of a fuss, but I think that she was just expressing on the
outside what I was feeling on the inside! The meeting which I
left to attend was in the poor area that I visited last month,
after coming from the hotel swimming pool the difference in lifestyle
was even more stark. At the meeting I was asked to talk about
the wise and foolish builders. This isn't easy in an area like
this because firstly, the area is built in the desert so everyone
here build their houses on the sand; and secondly, there's hardly
any rain or strong winds to threaten the houses. Hmmm. I had to
explain it in terms of building a house in England where the sand
is beside the sea and there is lots of wind and plenty of rain
. . .
have some guests here who are part of our company who have joined
for 3 weeks. They've attended my meetings and have also gone out
with other members of the team. Last night I was asked to do a
"request" meeting for Egypt. I find this very difficult so I decided
to take all 10 of them to the city centre where we submitted our
requests outside the main government buildings, mosques, hotels,
museums etc. . . The four hours that we had went by very quickly
and I think that everyone enjoyed the guided tour too!
not so many meetings this week so I hope to have a more relaxing
time, but we'll see!
is continuing to develop really well. She's been taking solids
for a few weeks now and seems to enjoy them, and yes, the contents
of the nappies has changed accordingly too. She now recognises
the bottle and is well on the way to holding it herself. She still
enjoys hearing me play the harmonica (must be the ONLY person
who enjoys listening to me!) At least I'm getting plenty of practise.
next time, Toodle Pip,
Alison, Hannah and Esther
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