Apologies all around for being slow to update my blog. My main website (denaharris.com) and all linked sites (lessonsinstalking.com, kissmykittybutt.com, spotlightpublishing.com) are still being held hostage by Google. I've uploaded clean files to the sites but Google can take weeks to revisit and reindex them as "clean" sites. To prevent this sort of the thing in the future, I'm moving all my sites from Netfirms (no help at ALL, thank you very much) to Squarespace.com, which is where this blog is hosted. I might lose some traffic as the pages are reindexed, but it will be worth it to prevent future blow-outs. The "new" site will look just like my old one and still be at www.denaharris.com, but hopefully hackers won't be able to get in. I'll let everyone know when the moved site is available.
All of which is a long way of saying... I've been busy. Although not, perhaps, as busy as Blair, who has taken it upon himself to label ALL 700+ PHOTOS from Egypt. God bless him... that's a whole lotta computer time. But as he points out, a month from now we're not going to remember what's what, so may as well do it while memory is fresh. Once the labeling is complete (maybe this weekend) we'll post all photos online and let you indulge at will.
- Traffic in Cairo is INSANE. Makes the Italians look like little-old-lady drivers. My friend Heike who lives in Cairo and who took us out to dinner describes the Egyptian driving style as "Fill the gap." If there's a space, they take it, w/out checking to see what's coming. Lanes don't exist. A painted 3-line road can easily carry 5-7 crooked "rows" of traffic.
- Love Cairo to visit, wouldn't want to live there. It's like NY on speed - 19 million people, cramped, dirty, busy. But as a tourist, great energy to play with.
- McDonald's delivers in Egypt. You heard me.
- Egypt feels like a foreign country. In Europe, it's a different language, but things aren't terribly different. In Egypt, we saw camels next to fruit stands next to apartment buildings. People rode donkeys and pulled carts in the street. Peasants worked the fields (with donkeys and camels nearby.)
- Egypt Air leaves a lot to be desired.
- The call to prayer echos over the cities in megaphones several times a day. It's quite charming.
- Egyptians drive with their headlights off at night, as a courtesy to not blind oncoming drivers. Only time headlights are used (maybe) is if a driver is on an unlit road.
- The whole grain phenomena has yet to hit Egypt. I'm detoxing my body from an overabundance of white race, pasta, bread, etc. (Very good food though. We had no problems.)
- Recycling has also yet to catch on. Between Blair and myself, we probably went through 6 bottled waters a day - all of which were thrown out with the regular trash. Now multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of bottles being used by tourists alone and multiply each bottle by a 450-year decomposition rate and figure out the damages.
- The average Egyptian loves Obama. Even if they spoke no English, "Obama good!" and "Obama #1" were shouted as us when they discovered we were Americans.
- Vendors in the tourist areas are AGGRESSIVE. I've never been to Mexico but several in my group who had said this was 10x worse. They came running when the bus approached and would walk with you, trying to shove goods into your hand or place them on your head (hats/scarves) or get you to come into the store. Everything was negotiated and the idea of "just looking" isn't known. If you glance at something, they've pulled it off the shelf and are handing it to you. We got adept at ignoring the vendors but it was exhausting to walk the gamet. (That being said, I understand this is their living and it's a rather cut-throat business.)
- There are no more crocodiles or hippos in or around the Nile.