Monday, September 13, 2010

North Coast, Noise, and F-Bird's Birthday

The Grim Reaper has been hanging out in our neighborhood a lot lately, at least two times a week. The funerals here are something else, I had mentioned them in an earlier post but they deserve another plug. I was re-reading the Sonic Youth chapter in Michael Azerrad's Our Band Can Be Your Life and the funeral outside our window couldn't have been a more perfect soundtrack. It's 930ish at night and try to imagine a PA system like the one you might find in a rock club cranked to 10 with reverb while someone at the mic that more resembles a megaphone belting out verses from the Koran. This intense sound bounces off neighboring buildings and carries on for about 20 minutes and when you think the assault is over (by a five minute interlude of false silence), the next cadaver gets his 20 as well as the third one after that. This is in addition to the month of Ramadan which not only gets you the five standard calls to prayer but an hour plus long sermon each evening. This had been life in Alex since we've been back. Ramadan just ended a couple of days ago and everyone is starting to get back into their normal routines...alhamdulillah

At the end of Ramadan is the 3-day Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr which meant no students and no school. Ana and I wanted to rent a villa on the North Coast (the stretch along the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria to the seaport of Mersa Matrouh). Our friend Ji had mentioned that some of the teachers from the British School would be going to Etap (a very affordable resort 212 km from Alex) so we put the word out and what started as a trip for 5 people turned out to be 18 when all was said and done.

The View from our villa.

Jill-Milk, Baby El, Sandy Pants, and Huck Finn waiting for the Indian family down the street to get their Cricket match going.

The price of our villa included an unlimited supply of ants (note the trail of ants crawling across the living room wall). The ants loved everything we brought from food to plastic bags to humans. The flies were an added bonus. Egyptian brand of flies are slightly aggressive and like to explore your openings: ears, nose, and mouth.

Horseshoes were played... well as "who can stand on the horseshoe stake the longest...

...or the Karate Kid version.

The door for the flies.

Etap has public art...

The area next to the resort.

Make no mistake about it; the water was clear, warm, and beautiful.

The rusted umbrella poles have seen better days...though not quite the caliber of art compared to Seal With Ball.

Another boring ocean shot.

Sunsets were amazing; the light changed the color of the sea and landscape.

Mommy and Baby El.
Jose was happy with his Red Bull.

Etap's famous Beer Tree

Not your ordinary leaf blower. When you heard the sound from up the street you ran to shut all your doors and windows ASAP! Fear the wrath of the Fumigator.

I woke up early and went on a walk and encountered a couple of Bedouins. A couple had guns so I didn't stop to chat. There were plenty of shotgun shells on the desert floor. This shelter was next to the sea, there wasn't much in it.

No waves!

Ana and the sea.

Jose and Pickell's step pyramid built on Scary Carrie.

9 of 18

Last year during the Eid at the Red Sea F-Bird was born. Darth Seth and Kupcake Kristal had bought everyone ice cream and from a drumstick wrapper F-Bird was born. We sat and discussed F-Bird for nearly 2 hours (sober!) and thus his persona was born. F-Bird doesn't put up with BS; he will throw you down and painfully pick at your eyes until they bleed if you cross him in a bad way. In short he's problem solver. Scary Carrie crossed F-Bird... did Jessie James...

...Huck Finn received a stern warning...

...Jose and F-Bird are tight...

...We call Benny Boy "Popeye" these days... well as poor Jackie O... might have been Peso's birthday, but F-Bird was about to send her to the party with the gift of a bloody eye.

Everyone needs a 220 volt outlet in the shower. Taking orders now.