Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life in Egypt during November

November has been a busy month...today we are waiting and watching to see if there will be a Revolution v. 2.0-as usual protests are expected. President Morsi has granted himself more powers thus polarizing Egypt even further. Not everyone is a fan of the Muslim Brotherhood and many people have lost confidence in them. I personally think people have unrealistic expectations as there are no quick fixes for decades of problems. 

Is it called Halloween or fall festival? Many years ago a former board member thought that Halloween was a bit too pagan for his beliefs and changed the title to a more Christian friendly one. My grade 8 advisory class did a wedding booth. I married Pee Wee Herman that evening. 
Slightly politically incorrect. An Egyptian will tell you he is an Arab not African because Africans are black. 
Black swan/white swan
There were plenty of Spidermans
Every child's dream costume-prisoner with tattoos. 
Watch out Glenn Danzig
The senior's haunted house included stolen toys and equipment from kindergarten.
Ideal students
Business casual
Eaten by book
My kids in their natural environment.
The Brits invited us to their annual Nov. 5th/Guy Fawkes Day/Guy Fawkes Night. Everyone has a score card to rate the Guy Fawkes figures that are going to be burned. Participants make the figures often with explosive materials inside. Here is a little history on the event.  Guy Fawkes Night is an annual commemoration observed on 5 November, primarily in Great Britain. Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure.
The showing
Into the fire you go.
What remained
This one had some sparks
About to burst
Our official Halloween party was a week late. I was bacon and Ana was an egg.
Goodness in a glass.
We haven't spent time in Cairo in a couple of years. We need to do this more often.
Protesters on their way to Tahir Square
Egypt's beloved singer Oum Kalthoum has a museum tucked away on Rhoda Island. 
Her most famous song/concept album. You are my life.
On the Nile
Your new hospital
We walked over to Tahir Square to see what was going on...the smell of tear gas and the commotion down the street was enough to make us reconsider. 
We meet a fellow teacher and his friend who wanted to ride on a falouk.
You can go fancy with neon lights and blaring music or soft with sails
We did the soft with sails.
Brewing with Pickell

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vienna is more than just a sausage

We went to Austria to see kangaroos and didn't find a single one, so we had to settle on stuff like museums, food, wine, Viennale (international film festival), amusement parks, snow, and the like. A word to the wise, Vienna has many bank holidays so we felt a little slighted that many places were closed...check in advance before you go. We traveled with our friends MJ, Jill and El and stayed in a flat just a ten-minute walk outside the mix. Our neighborhood was very local so we avoided the tourist prices inside the city's center.   
Freddie Mercury plane, you know it was going to be a good trip.
There are always two sides to an argument.
El with her new friend at Stadpark
We'll have none of that here!
You poop you pay.
Speaks for itself.
Now this is a meal.
Belvedere grounds
Ana pointed out that I walked past Michael Caine on the way to the gallery. He was hiding under a baseball hat. I have a knack for missing famous people. A boy and his pet rat is your consolation prize.

Submit a caption and get something cool in the mail.
Karlsplatz area
The local watering hole near our flat. Had a 50's rock and roll theme with LPs and 45 rpm records scattered on the walls. When Ana and I walked in the first night, everything sort of came to a halt, as in "you ain't from around here" then everyone went back to their business.  
The man on the right had a little too much to drink and decided to sit at our table. We encounter this scenario often. The first thing that usually comes out of the drunk's mouth is an I hate America monologue with a solid "but I like you" ending.    
We tried to visit the Naschmarkt but it was pouring rain and dodging umbrellas wasn't much fun so we settled on this and glass of vino from the Burgenland region. 
You gotta like the scene of kids playing between the legs of a giant naked man cutout while mom watches. A clear sign that we're no longer in the Middle East.  
We had just passed a family eating pomegranates like an apple. I should have taken a photo of them instead.
Hal Hartley was in town for the Vienna Film festival (Viennale) showing his latest release Meanwhile
Dinner for two
Poor MJ was sick for the entire trip and even went to the hospital. So all y'all who think European healthcare is some free socialist deal, lets see how you feel paying 150 euros for 10-minute talk with the doctor.   
Back at the bar for a nightcap and a new friend who didn't think America sucks. We chatted about punk rock, art, and he taught me about the history of the bar/social club.
A local drink served by a cigarette smoking moustache wearing bartender...the way it should be.  
Dig the label.
Breakfast of champions.
Uriana film house. We saw the film Wadjda-(Taken from the Viennale website) Wadjda is a 11-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn’t be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. But Wadjda’s mother won’t allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue.
“I’m so proud to have shot the first full-length feature ever filmed entirely inside the Kingdom. I hope the film offers a unique insight into my own country and speaks of universal themes of hope and perseverance that people of all cultures can relate to.” (Haifaa Al Mansour)  
Chestnuts in the wild.
I bet if playgrounds in America had a giant spinning globe then we'd know the difference between Austria and Australia. 
Vienna Prater is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. 
Famous ferris wheel
It takes two people to make an accident-Daisy Buchanan (Great Gastby)
Break Dance Fool. 
We did pay to ride through the haunted house. It was the outside paintings that sold us. 
Some dudes get all the chicks.
Just a little bit of stereotyping.
Just a lot of stereotyping.
The real reason for our trip.
It snowed on our last day.
We may have rode the Freddy Mercury plane to Vienna but we flew the Freddy Krueger one back to Cairo.