30 March, 2014

Palm leaf furniture

We seem to go for return visits these days,
and visiting with this man, 
his business and his family,
is definitely one of my favorite destinations.

With arms held wide open,
he welcomes us like family.

And before long
we are nestled around him as he works
and give us an insight
to a piece of fabulous handwork
that can only be achieved by
someone who has practiced as he has,
for a long time...

Egyptian tea is served
with a little sugar and mint leaves
from the garden.

On our way here
we picked up bread and tamia
from the local marked.
It could not have tasted better
if it was served on silver plates!

The sun just came out,
we are having a perfect day
in the most relaxing and peaceful setting.
Away from the busy city traffic....

Not far from us is the archaeological site of Memphis.
founded in 3100 BC.  

Not a lot can be seen on the site itself,
but we have the feeling of that the world
around us has not changed
for hundreds of years.

Not my first ferry trip

across the Nile,
and probably not my last.

Every time I experience something new.

The ferry goes back and forth all day,
bringing the farmers to town in the morning,
and back again at the end of the day.

The line to get on it,
on each side of the river,
gives us an indication of
how important it is for the locals.

The first ferry left us on the river bank,
as it was all ready full.

As we wait, we are in good company,
others have to wait as well.
The guy to the right was just about to jump,
but changed his mind
as the distance from the ferry to the bank grew larger.
To bad,
it could have made a great picture...

As we weren't in a hurry,
we didn't mind waiting for the corresponding ferry
starting from the opposite bank.
The air was very dusty this day,
as it can be this time of the year.
Sand everywhere so close to the desert. 

As the next ferry approach
my camera captures
a couple of near by boats.

A little bit of sunshine
is peaking through the dust,
and gives us hope for a nice rest of the day.

This ferry is not the best kept boat I have seen,
and would possibly have failed a control elsewhere,
but it doesn't seam to have any problems running.
Not sure if the small boat above is a life boat,
or if it by any chance would float at all.
I'll say probably not,
but in lac of another,
this was the only one on board.

A handful of passengers are eager to get off,
moving out on the ramp
as we get close to the other side.

This little passenger was hitching a free ride.

Whats next for us this day is another story...

24 March, 2014

Norwegian artist Britt Boutros-Ghali

whom I got to meet and visit with,
welcomed us 
in her atelier and showroom.

I was very exited to meet this woman,
a Norwegian girl from Sortland in Vesterålen.
She is the first Norwegian I have met here in Cairo
since I arrived almost 2 years ago now.
Britt has made Cairo her home,
having been here for 40 years!

This quiet and serene work space,
located inside two houseboats
and tied to the bank of the Nile,

is tucked away from traffic and daily life
on the streets above.

From her windows she has a view to the river,
and can see across to downtown Cairo.
A pleasant view,
maybe not the same
as the view of the mountains
up north in Norway,
but pleasing to the eye.
A relaxed environment
on the lazy waves of riverboats passing by.

Here she spends several hours a day
painting and creating her master pieces.

Her color combinations are vibrant,
the contrasts are great.

I thought her paintings had a happy tone,

but I could also sense a more serious side

as Egypt has some struggles these days.

Her pieces travels all over the world,

and once a year she has a large exhibition 
at the Picasso Museum here in Cairo.  

She is showing us women,
very colorful,
very intense,

their eyes following you around the room...

Thanking for having us Britt!
Visit her Facebook side here.

En nydelig dag i Cairo,
fint vårvær og besøk til en norsk kunstner!
Kunne ikke vært mye bedre!

06 March, 2014

The Bent Pyramid

From Memphis to Dashur
is a short drive.

We visited the Bent Pyramid.

It is very special
because its angel is change
about 45 meters up.

Unlike any of the other pyramids.

It also still has some of the smooth sides intact.

Can you see me?

01 February, 2014

In memory of my mother on her birthday....

It's 2014, 
and this morning I woke up
thinking of my mother.

She was born February 1st 1914.
Today she would have been 100 years old.
These cold winter months, 
one hundred years ago,
my beautiful mormor (grandma)

was pregnant with my mother,
and I am trying to imagine the scenery.... 

The still growing family lived on a farm,
right beneath the mountains,
in the south of Norway.
Their house was a wooden cottage
with a room in each end,
My grandparents in one,
and my grandfathers parents in the other one.
A breezeway with a kitchen
parted the two rooms,
and the kitchen had dirt floor.
Upstairs were two bedroom,
beds with straw mattresses,
several kids in each bed.
The family already had three children,
my mother would be number four,
and there would be five more to come.

My grandparents worked hard
from early mornings to late evenings,

and at night my grandfather
would sit by the fire
and carve wooden shoes
for the family,
but also enough to sell at the market every fall.
My grandma spun, wove, sewed and knitted,
and kept the family well dressed.
She was known
to waste no time,
so when she walked between the houses
or out in the fields,
she would knit as she walked,
keeping the ball of yarn in the pocket of her apron.

They had no electricity,
water was heated for baths and cleaning,
but clothes were often washed and rinsed in the creek,
also in the winter.
This winter, 100 years ago,
was very cold and they had a lot of snow.
The story is
that after taking my mother to church
for her baptism later that winter,
the carriage/sled tipped over
as their horse climbed the hills
up to the farm.
My grandmother dropped the baby,
- my mother,
who was properly wrapped up in a blanket.
The baby rolled about 50 meters
down to the creek,
where she came to a stop, unharmed.
After that she was nick named
the princess of the snow.

Mother, I wish you where still here with us!
Thank you for teaching me to use my hands,
to never give up,
and to love the nature with all its beauty
by climbing the mountain winter and summer.
Although you told me many many stories about
the life up in the valley,
I would have loved to have learned more...

Happy Birthday, mor, where ever you are!

07 December, 2013

I love Egypt!

Here is a lot to see and experience in and around Cairo.
Today we took the ferry across the Nile
to Memphis.

Not exactly like my Norwegian experience
 with ferries, but amazing!

The ferry is over 60 years old.
It takes people, cars
and whatever else your are riding.

The captain,

so sweet, so friendly.
Wondered if I wanted to steer the boat,
I thanked him no....

Life boat,
made me feel very safe...

Other boats passing bye..

Well over on the other side,
normal traffic,

a man balancing his two cups of tea,

stopped for a minute to say hello.. 

Chickens for sale,

or maybe fruit.

The oranges are fabulously and sweet
at this time of the year.

Are you still here?
I am knitting...

Memphis is the very first capitol of Egypt,
these are areas forbidden to build on
because of the treasures under the ground,
still not dug out. 

The surrounding buildings
are made in the same manners
as for many hundred years ago.

One gets the feeling
that time has been frozen.

We stopped at a local artist.

Mr. Saad is demonstrating his skills.
This kind of work
he has done
since he was 10 years old!

He makes furniture,
boxes, dove and chicken cages
 out of palm leaves.

Fast working hands,

 lots of experience.

I was a little worried about his feet,

 but everything was done with precession.

We shopped...

then finalized the deal
with a cup of Egyptian tea.

Then off to the Bent Pyramid in Dahshur.