Monday, November 9, 2009

Only in Egypt

In my last post I had mentioned that Ana went to a pre-Halloween party wearing face paint looking like a calavera (skeleton) and received much local folk attention from doing so. I would wager that most Egyptians in our neighborhood are unaware of the holiday thus making me half tempted to paint my face to venture out and buy vegetables or a rotisserie chicken from down the street. I have shopped this idea around to a couple of other seasoned teachers and most feared that I might be chased with the infamous homemade nail in the 2” x 4” club or at the very least have people shout not-so-friendly Arabic phrases that involve goats, sheep, and/or donkeys at me. It might be a good social experiment in the future once I get a little more nerve to seek a Darwin Award, for now I’m keeping the idea on the backburner. 

Abdo getting hit in the face with a heavy wet sponge

The key is hidden inside


Don't try this at home

Our school had a Halloween Carnival under the moniker “Fall Festival” marking a 14-hour day at the office. Thankfully it was a teacher workday to get report cards completed which left the remainder of the afternoon and evening dedicated to getting people and the school grounds wet and messy. The top-billed events included a haunted house and several water themed booths such as a wet sponge in the face game, dropping water balloons on people’s heads from two flights up a fire escape, and sink the teacher/student game (a plank tied on to a giant inner tube that floated in the middle of a swimming pool where the participant paid for chances to throw large rubber balls at the person standing on the plank with objective of hitting them with the ball and making them fall into the pool). Other games include throwing rolls of toilet paper into a toilet from a distance, climbing a tree to ring a bell without falling off.

Scary family no. 1

Purple Ana

Our booth was physically on the tame side. Another teacher and I co-teach an advisory class and our students wanted our offer “shave the balloon” and “find the key.”  Shaving the balloon involved putting shaving cream on a balloon and kids using a razor to shave it. It was remarkable on how few balloons popped. Finding the key game was a little more intense, especially for those with texture issues and/or a weak stomach.  Basically I carved out four pumpkins and filled them with foodstuffs that started to decompose. Initially the games were unpopular, but as the night progressed, we had quite a few customer and a handful of returning ones, a few who I can see working in a field relating to biology or the local morgue. To my surprise there was fortune-telling booth comprised of reading cards and coffee grinds. This is religiously forbidden in Islam, which is known as 3aram (the 3 is pronounced ahh, making it ahh-rom). What can I say, who doesn’t love a sinner. The night ended with a high school dance in which I heard about a dozen people attended.

Teens with a bun in the oven was a popular costume this year

Not really Halloween related, but we saw this inside a coffee shop, not your regular Starbucks. 

On a side note, several of you have inquired about sending Ana and I care packages. Thank you for the thoughtfulness, but please don’t. First it will cost you a ton of money. Secondly, customs will open the package (and they like snacks as much as we do). Finally, we have to pay an outrageous import/customs fee for half-eaten box of Pop-Tarts. We have also sent out lots of letters and postcards, some people have received them while some remain MIA. Let us know if you haven’t received anything from us.


  1. jaajaj esa utlima foto es la onda si alguna vez tengo un bar pondre algo asi al lado de la cabeza de cocodrilo jejeej Saludos!

  2. yo recibí tu carta Ana! y lo del experimento social con la cara pintada de calavera sera interesante verlo :D Oye como esta eso de que les cobran para que puedan disfrutar de sus paquetes??? Les mandamos muchos saludos desde América de tus tias y primas!!!

  3. I have not received anything from you two!!
    Hey Bob (and Ana!) - Happy New Year!
    Better late than never. I am still in San Francisco - loving it a little more every day.
    Take care! --Nani