Sunday, October 08, 2006


I'm boiling lemons for tea tonight, or maybe they should be called limes. Here they are limon, similar to the small greenish yellow limes in Mexico and they are the Egyptian cure for virtually everything. For cold or flu, you are supposed to squeeze some into a pot with water and then drop in the lemons themselves to boil with the juice. The oil from the skins adds to the potency of cure and with a drop of Jamesons it is a cold cure that will appeal to any Irish/Arab.

My guest left this morning for Jaipur, India, where she will spend a few months working with orphans. It was hard for her to go and I could see the tears in her eyes as she wheeled her cart into the airport. Sonia pointed out that she'd rarely traveled to some place where virtually everyone she met was welcoming to her. We talked on the way to the airport about the misconceptions that people have about Egypt...I have so many people emailing me to ask if it is "safe" to come to Egypt given "the way that Egyptians feel about Americans" for example. My response however is always the same. Egyptians have probably been welcoming tourists for about 5 thousand years and most of the reviews have been very good. I do know people who have had problems, but most of them would have had problems anywhere.

Before iftar I sat in my garden with my animals listening to the mosques leading up to the call to prayer for the iftar. The horses had been fed before the grooms went hoe for iftar so they were all busy eating in the paddocks. Hanuma our developmentally challenged baby gamoosa decided that it would be fun to chase the goats around their paddock. They can run so much faster than Hanuma that they are in absolutely no danger, but she jumped and bucked around them herding them into the shed with the sheep where they would no longer be threatening her dinner.

The terriers pattered around the land visiting the horses, while Morgana the Dane took up a position on top of a heap of sun-warmed sand by the grooms' quarters. Koheila ran up the hill for a quick tussle to establish the ownership of the and dogs play King of the Hill all the time...while Sabah the Sloughi puppy crawled up into my lap for a nap. Egrets and crows flew into the distance to roost in the trees along the canals and a small brown owl called from the electrical wire above the bird cage. As the call to prayer sounded, the entire world fell silent but for the calls of the birds.

I think that I can be happy living here.


Anonymous said...

I visited Cairo January 2001 and fell in love with it. I felt very safe and the people were so welcoming. I love reading your blog; it brings back fond memories. My friends were leary of me going to visit; I couldn't say enough how at home I felt. I was home sick for reminders of the west from time to time but I want to go back. One day.. until then I have your photos and words.

Cairogal said...

You always put it so poetically, Maryanne. Happy to see you posting again. Ramadan Kareem!

Mohamed Hossam el Din said...

Hello and Ramadan Mubarak!

You might recognize my name from previous posts, but due to the popularity of this site, I don't expect you to remember! :)

I am an Egyptian currently studying in the US. I hope to have my own farm when I return and to pursue a rural lifestyle, insha'a Allah. As you know by now, the Egyptian countryside is a very beautiful and serene place.

So, I was wondering, if it is possible, if you could please provide me with some information.

1. What is the process of buying land in Egypt?

2. How much is land in your area (Abu Sir) and surrounding areas?

3. Is it paid one time, in installments, and/or is a down payment placed? If so, what percentage of the amount roughly?

4. How large a piece of land were you able to get and at what price?

5. Is it relatively easy or hard?

6. Does being a US citizen help any?

7. How did you go about building?

8. How much are materials, and how much material/money was necessary for the size of dwelling you constructed?

9. Is mud brick (teen) still used in building among the fellaheen?

10. If so, how does this go about?

11. What is the rough price of animals? (I have heard that sheep are 800 le a head, but that was at the time of Eid al Adha, also heard donkeys are 500 le)

12. Did you install electricity? Is it necessary? (I am toying with the idea of making my farm not rely on any outside sources and be self-sufficient more or less, and sell the surplus and handicrafts as a source of income)

13. Do you need a building permit?

14. Do mud brick buildings need a permit?

15. Who do I contact to purchase land in Giza, Abu Sir and surrounding areas specifically?

16. How is your irrigation figured?

17. IS running water included, installed? i.e., is it in any building requirements?

18. If you know where to go to buy land in Egypt, as well as your agricultural suppliers, I'd be grateful for any address and names.

I apologize for all these questions, but I am very interested in knowing these things before I return to Egypt so I will know how to go about my idea and turn my dream into a reality. By the way, I really liked the post "Construction Village Style" and have printed it and saved it as a reference. Also, how is work on your home going about? Well, I trust.

Once again thank you so much for just taking the time to read my post. Any information would be extremely appreciated.

If you would like to email me, I may be reached at:

Sail boats said...

I would love to live there, atleast visit, I have never been out of the country of USA but would love to..


Anonymous said...

I am a young Australian and I have recently returned from Egypt and I feel that I am home sick for it already. I am seriously considering moving to egypt, a little nervous to make the final decision but your site is putting me at ease.

..RandomGal.. said...

Reading your blog reminds me of the blessing I'm in :) I live in a special happy place and I should be grateful I do, Have a happy ramdan and a happy day..

Mia said...

It was all truly amazingly beautiful. Thanks so much for everything Marianne. I was blessed to meet you.