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Snippets for today

The hairdresser on the corner has a doll's head on a tall spike which was probably intended to hold a large candle. The hair is elaborately curled and waved, with a cascade of flowers tucked into its convolutions.

It looks like Ann Boleyn, after the beheading.

I hear a susurration of giggling from behind a guard box in Zamalek as I walked to the supermarket. There were a group of seven women sitting on the ground enjoying a joke among the mud and broken edges of the pavement. From the propped brooms behind them I gathered they were street sweepers. One comment was obviously ribald and aimed at the guard, as he looked at me and went bright red.

Outside many of the doors is a simple wooden chair. Many are occupied – always by men. In one place as I approached a dark man in dramatic black robes hitched his chair over his arm and moved down one shop front to join his neighbour. When I reached them they were reaching for a third chair and the smell of coffee was fragrant in the air. They smiled and greeted me, and as I responded in Arabic I was smiling. He asked why and mimed the smile when I didn't understand. I pointed out that he had three chairs and there were only two people. He asked "how could I ask another friend without another chair".

In the pharmacy window near my house is a brand of condoms called Camel Sensitive. My mind is still boggling.

Among the spices in the supermarket is Crutched Nutmeg.

What is it about the sights and sounds and people of a country that is not your own? I wouldn't dream of taking photographs of people in Australia – or not those I don't know. Here I am enchanted by the faces – especially the older ones. I have also found, to my amazement, that many women are letting me photograph them. With the digital camera I can even show them the photograph I have taken.

There was a furniture cart standing near a tiny market. The base was brightly painted in patchwork patterns – red, orange and green with black and white, but faded to a tint in the silvered wood. The horse was somewhere else. The cart was piled with new chairs – gold painted with stiffly padded seats and red and gold flocked upholstery. At the top the last one lay on its back with the padded back facing up. On top of it a skinny tabby cat had found a secure place in the sun. It had classical Egyptian features (well, Egyptian cat features) with a

long slim face and elongated head and beautiful green eyes.

It washed with long slow licks and barely flicked me a glance when I took its photograph.


Reader Comments (7)

Your blog is better than mine ;-)
... but then being better than mine is not hard - lol
(and if you look at the name of my blog - you will probably know instantly who I am ... LOL)
btw - good idea doing a blog instead of having to mess around running a yahoogroup.
I WILL be back to read more of this ... it is too interesting not to!

February 4, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteraykayem

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us - I would love to see your pictures as well. Can you put some of them on your blog for us?

February 5, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

We're working on the photos - there are a few technological hurdles between Jenny's house in Cairo and the Blogger server in the U.S.
Your patience will be rewarded.

February 5, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterKt

Thanks for the picture! Hope you can sort out your technical problems without too much hassle.

February 5, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

i love reading your blog. would love to hear your opinions on domestic things, as opposed to Australia.

February 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

susurration did send me googling. I love finding a word I am not familiar with. Am interested if you remember how that word came into your vocabulary.
Am so glad it is a proper blog......now that it contains a cat.
I was thinking of you earlier as I wrote that it was not only toddlers who lay on quilt shop floors as I admitted to my own perchant for so doing at odd times. Once in a shop in Sunbury during one of your lessons. I did give re-assurance that it had nothing to do with boredom.

February 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJane

'susurration - that was the word. What a delightful word. Must add it to my vocab. A rustling or murmur. Love it.

Liz Needle

February 9, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Needle

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