Friday, February 26, 2010

Winds Blow. Life Continues

The Hamseen continues to blow today. And although it is a national holiday (Moulid el Nabi), crews appeared in the field beside our flat before 6am. By the time I ventured out onto the dusty balcony, they had cut a large swathe through the field.

Donkeys and carts stand by on the road to carry the cane to the train, about .5 km away. A tractor and wagon have not yet arrived.

From a distance all the activity seems a bit chaotic, but this photo shows that the operation is quite organized. Here a fellow strips the cane and piles the crop in the center. On either side are the green leaves that will be taken home and woven into baskets, and at the bottom is the chaff that will be burned to nourish the land.

10PM Update: We have all had quite a social day. First, a hoopoe (locally called a Hodhod) came to visit and kept Cat entertained for about an hour.

They had quite a conversation. The Hoopoe is considered a messenger of God because he told King Solomon about the Eden ruled by a woman (Sheba) and where the people did not worship God. For me, to see a hoopoe is a sure sign of good luck for the day.

We joined Egyptian friends from Cairo in a visit to the Hassan Fathy Village, located near us. Hassan Fathy was an architect who tried to restore the art of mudbrick architecture in order to build houses for the poor in the 1950s. He was a visionary -- unfortunately his vision was not appreciated until recently. And it is ironic that his vision is now used to create hotels and villas for the elite. The mud brick and the domes keep the rooms cool. The pots laid in a line along the roof are nesting roosts for pigeons -- a delicacy enjoyed by many (but not by me).

In the evening we joined our friends for dinner at Al Moudira Hotel. The hotel's architecture and decor are spectacular.

This is one of the rooms. One could sleep quite well here, me thinks.

1 comment:

Upupa Epops said...

Just discovered the photo of the hoopoe and the cat, which resonates in particular because we have cats (my wife's totem animal) and are enchanted by hoopoes (my totem bird). Our old house was called Catspaw Cottage; we now live in Hoopoe Haven. This is the first time I've seen them in dialogue like this!