Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Down To The Nitty Gritty

Life in Egypt has its gritty side sometimes as we noticed yesterday. I was supposed to ride with my friend Cristina who arrived at about 9 am. We went out to feed the parrots and popped back into the house with the food bins. Open the door to go to the horses and....where did they go? We got hit with roughly half of the Libyan desert yesterday and high winds driving the dust into every crack and cranny imaginable.

No way we were riding in that stuff. When the sand hits, everyone heads indoors and/or stays as still as possible. The less sand in the lungs the better. The horses turned their butts to the wind and stood head down in the hot blast. My grooms hid out indoors with forays out to see that the bathtubs were full of fresh water (when the power was on and the hoses worked) and to give the herd meals. This was one of the worst storms I've seen here. Most of the day we had no electricity so we were sitting indoors in the dark. Good day for a nap.

Cristina and I decided to go over to a neighbour's place to visit and welcome him home. His wife is the Norwegian ambassador to Jordan so he bounces between their farm here and the embassy there. This is Mette's last posting so they are looking forward to retiring here...they have great windows and doors in their house, so even yesterday's blow didn't turn Pal off Egypt too much. I know where my next investment in the farm is going. We stayed for an hour or so chatting and admiring photos of wild flowers in Jordan, when Cristina suddenly remembered an open window in her home in Zamalek. Time to run!

I shot most of these photos from her car with my phone. The trees, tall eucalyptus and casuarina, were lashing all over the roads. I heard that there were a lot down along the canals. Cristina said that the drive into town was miserable, no visibility, blowing debris, and branches falling willy nilly. I headed indoors where I swept the living room three times during the day just to keep from tracking kilos of sand around the house. Even the dogs were willing to be indoors for most of the day.

When I went out to feed the parrots and other birds, they were all a sort of beige colour. I changed their water so that at least they had some fresh water and they all looked at me miserably, but no way I could bring all the parrots, ducks, chickens and turkeys in as well. They are all out there whistling and calling this morning so they survived the blow.

But today is sunny and bright. There will be time to wash the sand out of the grass and flowers, about one hundred loads of laundry to do, and I have five women from Maadi coming out to try riding this morning. I guess I'll keep the farm.

copyright 2007 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani