It feels like everyone is thinking about what was going on a year ago, at least a little bit. I especially remember the growing feeling of dread, and also that I needed to see everything in Cairo that I possibly could in case it was too late soon. I went to the last major area I hadn't seen (al-Abagiyyah) on the 27th of February. Exactly a year ago we went to the Northern Cemetery, on a really sunny day when the men's dome, the darker one, at Farag ibn Barquq was filled with light.
04 March 2021
03 March 2021
There's a new Lulu that opened near where a friend of mine lives, so another friend and I went out to visit here and Lulu today. This other friend used to live in Riyadh, so she gets why you would do something like that. It's not a cheap uber ride to get there, for Cairo at least, but then you stop and think about how few cities there are that you can get a 45-minute ride and only pay $6.
I still love Lulu, although it's not the same in Egypt since it's not catering to as diverse a group as in Riyadh.
02 March 2021
Ben Ezra Synagogue is open again! It reopened yesterday, apparently, for the first time since it closed last March for corona. It was nice to be there again. There were other changes too in Coptic Cairo. I think the last time I was there was a couple of months ago. They've made a nicer entrance into the Hanging Church and moved the pictures of the patriarchs to a larger space, along with the stuff that was for sale. It works nicely. They're slowly moving along with the building at Coptic Mar Girgus, although I still don't know what it will be. And there's a new entrance to the Pot of Basil church and they have icons there now. It's quite nice.
01 March 2021
28 February 2021
27 February 2021
25 February 2021
23 February 2021
I adjusted the A/C a few months ago to "dry," since humidity is a bigger problem here than cold weather. But the last couple of days have tested that since we're having our coolest weather of the season now. I was beginning to worry at the beginning of February that we were going to pretty much miss winter, so I'm glad to get several days where we need blankets in the house, at least if you're sitting still.
It's supposed to rain this afternoon. Rain forecasts in Cairo are always a big mystery because they can either be a complete dud, lovely, or a disaster. The first two options are far more likely.
22 February 2021
It is so interesting and disturbing to watch what is going on in Texas. There's plenty to say, but now the news about people's crazy high electric bills, if they were lucky enough to keep their electricity, just adds more to the crazy. But really, if you sign up for fluctuating pricing, this is what you get. There are reasons to have regulated pricing because sometimes electricity is really expensive. And there are reasons to not cut yourself off from other states' electricity grids because sometimes you need help generating enough people to keep people's homes from freezing. And now power companies are passing on the costs of not being regulated in the form of broken pipes and other property damage that they don't have to pay for, even though most of the damage wouldn't have happened if there had been enough power to go around.
It looks like the power companies are going to get away with all of this and get paid for it too, even if it's through federal relief dollars. So next time this happens, it won't be any better unless the state of Texas decides to do some things that disagree with what apparently are the most important Texas values. If they had simply required that natural gas wells be insulated when they were built, most of this wouldn't have happened. But that would have been the government requiring businesses to pay more money, something that is anathema to many people.
21 February 2021
Today's Harry Potter tangent was learning about a new instrument, the theremin. The book mentioned musical saws, which my son hadn't heard of before, and when their sound was compared to a theremin when we were looking for musical saw videos, we had to find out what a theremin is. That could have ended up on a detour through Soviet bugging techniques, but we didn't have time for that.
18 February 2021
The air stayed nice yesterday, at least through the morning when it was below 50. I loved going on another long walk where I could enjoy breathing. It started to go back up in the early afternoon, but only for about half an hour and only to 150, and then it went back below 100. It's also cool and breezy still. This winter hasn't been very chilly, so it's nice to get something before it really ends.
Also, we tried ordering glasses online for the first time and it worked. Oldest ds had already ordered glasses from the same place or I doubt I would have tried it. It was so much easier to do it this way, and a little less than getting them here in Egypt. I should see if I can find my prescription written down somewhere and order a pair for me because my glasses are a little tired.
17 February 2021
The air quality was amazing all day yesterday. I don’t think it ever got above 100, and it was below 50 for a lot of the day. It was also rainy and breezy and it smelled wonderful outside. I had to go out during the rain to see a friend who’s leaving in a day or two, and then I stopped to buy tofu and walk the long way home along canal street. Also, I found this sculpture of a boy riding a bike with a tray of aish on his head, which is perfectly Egypt.
16 February 2021
I'm remembering right now how many friends I have in Texas, even though I've never been there myself, because they're all posting about how cold it is there today. And it certainly is cold for Texas, and I suppose that's all that really matters. It's supposed to be cold for Cairo tomorrow, but everyone in Texas would love to see our temperatures right now, probably.
15 February 2021
I was feeling a little antsy to move the other day, which was weird because I don't want to move at all. But I think that I've always used moving as a way to get away from things I don't like (and honestly, it always works, because you usually do get away from the problem, or it moving changes the circumstances of the problem so much that it become a different problem), and I'm tired of corona. But moving really wouldn't help with that. It would just make it worse, because adding a pandemic to a move isn't a good idea, and you can't get away from corona. Even the people and countries who pretend it isn't there can't avoid its consequences.
I really am tired of corona though. Aren't we all.
14 February 2021
You'll often see little four-legged creatures running around Cairo that are not rats. They're cuter, and they don't have icky long tails, just cute long tails. I've wondered what they are, maybe something like a ferret, but I finally remembered to look them up today after talking to another friend about them and they're weasels. Everyone agrees they're much better than rats. I really don't know why, although they clearly are. I can't imagine they're actually cleaner than rats and they're all over Cairo, but somehow, I love to see them. I wouldn't want to find one in my house, but I've also had rats and a kitten and mice get stuck in my house in different countries, and I don't really want any uninvited critters in here.
Apparently weasels are also a thing in Beijing. I didn't know before today that any of them were urban, but there you go.
11 February 2021
I liked this. I am not particularly philosophical, but Fiona Givens reads this and I would listen to her read anything, especially a book with lots of good ideas. I especially liked that it connected with so many older Christian ideas, especially Catholic and Orthodox. It nicely explains a theology that I already believe but couldn't have said as well.
10 February 2021
I got some book recommendations from end of 2020 lists and am slowly working through them. I love using Overdrive now because they make it really easy to control when your holds show up. I listened to this one, a much shorter book than last time. It's not at all a happy book, but it's beautifully done. My only complaint is the way the phone transcripts at the end were read. They were read without any emotion, which makes sense for transcript used in court, but it just didn't feel right. But that was a very minor complaint.
09 February 2021
We haven't talked about Cairo air quality in a while. We're hovering right around 300 this morning, a very normal reading for this time of year. Sometimes I wish we'd bought an elliptical when we first moved here since that's one of the few types of exercise I don't mind much that's inside.
08 February 2021
I have a lot of friends moving from Cairo this summer. I am not, but all of their talk about moving makes me feel like it's coming soon, especially since we've lived in Cairo now for longer than we've lived anywhere else in 23 years. It's been a long time since we moved and it feels weird to not be planning another one yet.
Also, poetry and the National Anthem signed at the Super Bowl? I guess they're branching out. And I love the idea of poetry becoming a thing again.
07 February 2021
One thing that I always like about living overseas is that there are so many chances to feel lucky or proud of yourself. There also are many, many more ways to make a fool of yourself, but let's focus on the good parts today. Yesterday's bit of luck came while I was sitting in Orange renewing our various phone and internet things (another piece of luck? I've managed to get all three lines renewed on the same day each month so I only have to go once, and yesterday there wasn't even a line) when someone poked their head inside asking about change. I thought it was someone asking for change, which is not unusual, but no, he was asking if they needed change because he had a huge stack of small bills. The Orange employees changed some money and I did too. So satisfying.