Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some Of My Moose Cousins

One of my cousins sent me this video of our family playing. I thought that you might like it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Visiting Places In Maadi

The other day Maryanne decided to take me to Maadi again to visit a place she calls CSA. Pretty silly name for a place if you ask me. Later I found out that CSA is short for Community Services Association and it's a nice place after all. They have all sorts of classes for people who want to learn to speak languages, or learn to cook or paint. I didn't see any classes in Moose in the languages though.

The people there were really friendly. There was even a little teeny dog who comes to work with her person at the front desk while I was there. We talked a while and the dog told me about the coffee shop where they sell all sorts of sandwiches and treats. I liked that part. All moose like treats, but I haven't been able to find any blueberries here at all. That is sort of sad. They are a moose's favourite treat.

One very cool thing at CSA was the library. It had a lot of fun looking books to read there. I don't know how to read but Maryanne will read to me sometimes. I like books with adventures in them. Cowboy stories are pretty good, but I don't understand any of this space stuff and traveling in rocket ships. I don't think any moose has done that yet. I'm probably the first moose in Egypt. We moose aren't really big on travel. I think that's partly because of our antlers. They don't fit in very many places.

One lady told us to go upstairs to see the exercise rooms because there was a dance class for children up there. We climbed up to see what was up there and it was pretty interesting. One big room had mirrors and a lady was playing in there with a group of children who were running and dancing and jumping with music. It looked like a lot of fun and I wanted to join but Maryanne says that you have to sign up for the class.

Outside of the big room was another exercise place for big people. It had a bunch of running places and some bicycles that people use for getting tired. They seem to think that this is a good idea. I'm not so sure about it myself. Just looking at those things made me feel tired. But it's pretty neat that there is a place like CSA in Maadi for the people who live there. Libraries, treats, and even times when they sell all sorts of neat stuff....Maryanne says that she'll take me to one of those bizarre days some time.

After we'd had fun at CSA for a while I found out why we had come into Maadi. Maryanne had an appointment with her friend Kye, who is a Kyropractor. I didn't know what a Kyropractor is either but Kye offered to show me. She had me lie down on a nice bed and she gave me a massage with this buzzy thing. She said that when I get as old as Maryanne (and Maryanne is OLD!) my back will like having her do something she calls an adjustment on it. I don't know about the adjustment, but Kye can use the buzzy thing on my back anytime she wants.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Da Moose Goes Shopping

Maryanne really likes hanging around on the farm but every once in a while she decides to go into town to do some shopping. The other day she decided that we would go into Maddi to shop and she took me along. The first place we went was a fruit and vegetable store to pick up some of the less common fruits and vegetables, like the ones that don't grow on the farm. Fruit here is really good. In Canada it's so cold in the winter that the fruits and vegetables don't grow, but they have to be brought in by trucks. We were looking at pears, peaches, plums, melons, kiwi fruit, pineapples, apples, and some funny fruit Maryanne called harankash. She said that the pineapples, apples, and kiwis are imported from other places, but most of the rest are grown here.

Inside the store, Maryanne bought some lettuce and some sweet red and yellow peppers because the weather at the farm has been too hot for them. The eggplants and chinese cabbages are big...some of the eggplants are white rather than purple. Maryanne says that the Egyptian women like the white ones to stuff with rice and cook them. They also sell sweet potatoes, zucchini, and big bags of garlic. Nice veggies. We moose are big veggie appreciators.

After doing the fruit and vegetable shopping, we went to a mall in Maadi where Maryanne was looking for some shoes before she went to New York for a couple of weeks to see her kids. We looked at a bunch of shoe stores and in the Nike store I got to try on some sandals, but we didn't buy them. The mall is called Maadi Grand Mall, and it's pretty big, but it's not as big as the big mall in Edmonton in Canada. Still, they had lots of places to buy clothes, some book stores, and a lot of shoe stores. Some of the clothing stores had some odd things in them, like the clothes for women were very different from things I'd seen in Canada.

Many of the women wear scarves that cover their hair. But they still like to wear bright colours and pretty things, so they make their scarves and their shirts or dresses match. But a lot of other people wear the same sorts of things that people wear in Canada too. Most of the kids I see wear jeans and tshirts just like everywhere else in the world.

Maryanne isn't too crazy about shopping and we'd been walking around for kind of along time, so she said that we should have a nice lunch. We looked around the mall to see what we could have. There's a place called Arzak that makes really good fuul and ta'ameya, sort of bean sandwiches that are pretty yummy. There's a coffee shop called Costa Coffee where you can get sandwiches and some pretty good cake or pie or cheesecake. I liked that idea, but she wanted real food. Huh! So we ended up going to a place called Makany. It's a small restaurant with a garden near the coffee place and its name means "my place" Maryanne says. They have good sandwiches and some salads and some cakes too, but Maryanne decided to have sushi. I'd never seen sushi before but it was pretty to look at. Maryanne said that it's raw fish wrapped in seaweed and rice, so I decided just to have some of the lemonade while she ate it all. She said that it was really good, and I think that I will just take her word for it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sailing With The Sun

The other day Maryanne had some visitors and she decided that we should all go see the Solar Boat. I liked the idea of going on a boat again. For a moose, I have a lot of boat experience. I've been on the Nile cruise boat, the boat to Philae Island, and the boat with the window in the bottom in Sharm el Sheikh. That's quite a lot of boats, so a solar boat sounded pretty good, whatever kind of boat that might be.

Well, I was pretty surprised when we drove up to the Giza pyramids, got out of the car and walked over to a sort of banana-shaped building next to the biggest pyramid. What kind of boat are we going to see up on this rock covered hill, anyway? The closest water is in the bottles that the men are selling to thirsty tourists. We bought some tickets...Maryanne says that there are special prices for a moose...and went into a little room where some men gave us each some funny cloth slippers to put over our feet. This is weird. No one ever gave us slippers on any of the other boats.

There was a little problem for me with the slippers. They don't get so many very small visitors like Da Moose. They could find one slipper that was almost the right size but the other one was a bit bigger. Maryanne said not to worry because there were a lot of stairs to climb and she'd be carrying me. This boat was sounding stranger and stranger all the time. All the people coming in were putting on their slippers and then laughing at how their feet looked so funny..kind of like duck feet. Then we walked into another room that had a lot of pictures of people working around big holes in the rocks and there was a small boat in a glass case. It was a pretty nice looking boat with pointy ends and little oars. Maybe I would fit on it, but the big people were definitely going to be out of luck. There was also a big hole that people were looking into. It had been cut out of the stone and Maryanne said that hole was were they found the boat. I didn't know about that. The hole was too big for the little boat in the case, but how would you fit a real boat into the hole? And where was the water?

Then we walked into the next room and there was the boat! It looked just like the little one but it was really big. Maryanne said that the boat was about five thousand years old and that the people had taken it apart and put all the pieces in the hole in the ground. When other people found it later, they put it back together, sort of like a puzzle, and then they built the banana house around it so that it would stay nice and so that people (and moose too) could climb the stairs, walk all around and see it.

There was a little house in the middle of the boat but no swimming pool like on the Nile cruise boat and no window like on the fish boat in Sharm. Maryanne told me that the boat was made for the pharoah to sail down the Nile to his pyramid, so they didn't need much room on the boat. She said the the really big pieces of wood that they made the boat from came from a place called Lebanon that was famous for its cedar trees even now, but that there must have been much bigger trees back then. The other really interesting thing about the boat was that it was made completely from wood and rope. There were no nails holding it together at all. It must have taken a long, long time to tie all the knots. But the next time we get to see a boat, I want to go for a ride.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Visiting Giza Pyramids

One of the problems of being a young moose is the fact that you can't just go anywhere you want on your own. But Maryanne is pretty nice about taking me places. The other day we went to see the big pyramids here in Giza...really, really big pyramids. These things are the biggest piles of rocks I've ever seen. They are pretty interesting too. So many people come here to see them.

There are signs everywhere to say not to climb on the pyramids, but lots of the visitors climb on them a little bit. The rocks are so huge that kids need a grown up to help them get up and down on them. But to find these big rocks is so cool, who can resist climbing on them? Even grown ups climb up on them and some of them act pretty silly up there too. You can go inside the pyramids, at least some of them, but the tunnels inside are small and crowded. They aren't too bad for kids and a small moose, but most of the grown ups come out groaning about backs and legs and stuffy air.

Almost everywhere you look at the pyramids there are people selling interesting things like little statues of people with animal heads on them. Maryanne said that they were statues of the old Egyptian gods and goddesses. I don't know much about that but they were kind of fun to look at and the guys selling them really seemed to want me to have one or two of them. I didn't think that it was very nice that Maryanne didn't want to buy them for me. I could have come home with a car full of people with animal heads, post cards, and other stuff. Not fair if you ask me.
Other guys had lots of pretty pyramids in different colours and then there were the guys who offered camel and horse rides. There is so much going on at the pyramids that it's almost like a carnival. That's what Maryanne kept saying too. "This place is such a circus!"

The pyramids are really, really, really old. I think that they are about 7 or 8 thousand years old. I can't figure out how old that really is but they are older than most of the things that we saw when we went on our Nile cruise. Apparently, it was like the grandfather or great grandfather of the pharoah who made the biggest pyramid who invented pyramids in the first place and built one in Dahshur called the Red Pyramid. So these aren't the first pyramids but they are the biggest.

Visiting pyramids is fun. There are so many people running around, kids coming up to you saying "Hello. What is your name?" even though they don't seem to know what to answer if you ask what their name is. There are horses with people riding them, horses pulling carriages, camels with people riding, camels alone...maybe Maryanne is right and it really is some kind of circus.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Visiting Fishes in Sharm

Well, Sharm el Sheikh was pretty cool. We went to a big hotel next to the ocean and sat around in the sun for a morning. The hotel had a huge swimming pool but I forgot my bathing suit and no one was sure if a moose was allowed in the pool. The people were saying that this is a real vacation place. As far as I can see that means that no one here goes for long walks in temples or tombs or anything. A lot of people were just lying around in the sun and sleeping.

Some people were in the water playing and then someone who works for the hotel came and started some music so that the guests who wanted something to do could play some games and do some exercises. It was pretty interesting to watch but looked like you could get pretty tired. They jumped up and down in the water a lot. I guess that my people weren't bored because they drank coffee and ate ice cream instead. A lot of the guests in the hotel were from France but also a lot of them were from someplace that Maryanne called the Gulf. I haven't seen the Gulf before but I heard of France.

While everyone was watching the people bouncing in the swimming pool, I was looking around to see what else interesting was going on. All of a sudden I saw this guy on a big white horse come walking by the pool. Well, I thought, maybe the horse is going swimming. If horses can go swimming, then maybe a moose can too. But it turned out that the horse didn't go swimming. The man was nice though. He works for the hotel and it turned out that Maryanne knew him. They have horses there that people can ride so he let me sit on the horse for a picture. Maryanne said she didn't see why she would pay to ride a horse when she can do it for free at home. Oh well.

One of the things that people do in Sharm el Sheikh is to look at fish. We went to the shop for people who want to look at fish or go to the mountains to see what sort of fun things we could do. Some people wanted to go to see a place in the mountains called St. Catherines. It's a monastery where monks live. They had to explain that monks are nothing like monkeys..if they were it would be much more fun. But it didn't matter because the monastery was closed and we couldn't go anyway. Everyone thought it would be too cold to go swimming to see the fish, even though I thought that I looked pretty good in the mask to see fish with. So instead, the next day we went on a boat with a window in the bottom. Everyone said not to worry because no one was going to open the window while we were in the boat.

The next morning we went down to the beach and there was a boat tied to a dock. We got into the boat and there it was...the window in the bottom of the boat. Wow! It was very cool. While we waited for everyone to come to take a ride on the boat, we looked at fish that were swimming by the beach. Fish are really amazing. They slide around the water very gently and then flash! They are gone. The fish in Sharm are beautiful colours. Some of them are blues and greens and yellows, every different shape and size and pattern. Stripes, squares, big spots, fish with long fins, fish that are big and small...everything.

After a while the boat started moving and we very slowly went around the water in the bay looking through the window at the fish and at things that looked a lot like plants growing in the water. The plant things are called corals and they come in all sorts of sizes and shapes and colours. The fish seem to like to live near them and some of the small ones even seem to hide in the corals. It was really fun to look at the fish and the corals. I hoped that maybe we would see a shark or a whale but the fish weren't all that big. There were some fish that looked like Nemo in the movie though.

One of the people on the boat with us wanted to go swimming with the fish and the boat stopped by some corals so that he could swim. The rest of us just sat around on the boat and bobbed up and down for a while. The sun was warm and the breeze was nice so I decided that sitting on boats is a good thing to do. This boat wasn't nearly as big as the Nile boat, but I think boats are a good idea. It was much better on the boat than it was on shore because unless someone has planted something green in Sharm el Sheikh, it's all rocks and sand.

Later that day we sat on the balcony at the room of the hotel and watched all the boats coming back from visiting fish out at sea. A lot of people in Sharm go out in these boats all day long and they jump in the water to visit fish. It sounds kind of strange to me. They could just look through the bottom of the window boat.

copyright 2008 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Seeing The Big Places

After lunch we all went out of the boat to get on a bus to go see two very big temples. The first temple was called the Temple of Karnak and it really was big. There were statues of lions with sheep heads on them in front of the front wall of the temple. Apparently in Egypt when something has a lion body and some other head, it's called a sphinx. So these were called ram's-headed sphinx statues. If it has a person's head, it's just called a sphinx. I wonder what they'd call it if it had a moose's head....

Once we went through the front gate, there was a big empty space with some very large statues and columns. One of the statues looked like it had feathers coming out of its head, but that might have been because it had a palm tree just behind it. Maryanne has been telling the other people we are traveling with that they should wait to see the temples in Luxor because the other temples really were not as amazing. Well, I guess that she was right. Everywhere we looked there were groups of people listening to guides in a million different languages, taking pictures and getting sore necks trying to see the tops of all of the very tall things in Karnak.

After the huge empty space, we went into something the guide called a hypostyle hall. At first, I thought he said hippostyle hall and I was pretty excited that we were going to see some hippos, but there aren't any hippopotamuses in Egypt anymore. If the last space was very empty, this hall was very full. There were hundreds of huge columns in the space, and people with cameras everywhere. The room was almost like a giant forest filled with enormous trees and tiny little people. Just the sort of place that a moose would really like. The guide man said that there are 134 columns in the room and that at one time it was very dark, having a roof of very large stone blocks on top of the columns. There was a lot of time to build such big things because they say that the kings were building in this place for over two thousand years. I wonder how they could remember what it was that they were building.

We walked all over the place at Karnak. There are so many broken buildings there. I wonder how people know what they all are. The guide man said that people learned to read the pictures that are carved on the columns and walls. I guess that the old Egyptians used the pictures to carve their names on the buildings. One of the things that they built in Karnak was a very pretty swimming pool, but I never saw anyone swimming there.

After a while we found our bus again and we went to another temple in the same town. This temple was called Luxor Temple and one of the things that I liked about it was that there were places where I could sit and rest. I sat on one king's lap. They said that he was a strange king called Akhenaton but that he made this statue before he changed his name to that. This temple had been covered in sand and mud for a long time and the people forgot that it was there so they built a mosque and a church on top of it. When they dug the temple up, the church and the mosque were left way up in the air. Now people in the mosque are over the old temple. Very strange.

There were a lot of statues of the old Egyptian kings in this temple. One of the kind of cool things was the fact that they would put statues of their children with them. I got a picture of myself next to one of the girls. She was very pretty.
After all of our traveling around, this was the last day on the boat. We were going back to have dinner and sleep and then in the morning we were going to fly to a place called Sharm el Sheikh. Maryanne says that this is a holiday place on the Red Sea and that I would see fish there. I wonder if the sea is really red like the sky was the last night in Luxor.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Morning In Luxor

This morning I woke up early, looked out of the window, and saw the most amazing thing. Huge balloons were floating up from the green fields across the river into the sky. Maryanne said that people ride in baskets under these balloons to see the river and Luxor from up in the air. I think that is really cool.

After breakfast we got on a bus and went over a bridge across the Nile. We were going to a place called the Valley of The Kings. At first, it didn't look like much, mostly a lot of white rock and sand. But then we went into some tunnels that had been cut into the hillsides. Inside were some beautiful paintings of people eating things, talking together and doing all sorts of things. There are rules that don't let people take pictures of the tunnels so Maryanne couldn't take any. The tunnels are called tombs and the guide said that Egyptian kings a long time ago decorated the tunnels and left statues inside so that they would have company when they were dead.
There were lots and lots of people there waiting to go into all the tunnels. We only saw three of them because we had to see a lot of other things that day. To get all the people in and out of the valley they used little trains.They were pretty nice because all that walking made everyone pretty tired even though they all kept saying how good it was that it wasn't very hot. But we still had another valley to visit and another temple or two. There were many buses waiting for all the people at the Valley of the Kings and it wasn't so easy to find ours but we did eventually and we left to see a temple for a queen called Hatshepsut. She made herself the king of Egypt for a long time and even wore a fake beard. She made a special place for herself next to the cliffs.

This was a really big temple and we climbed three sets of stairs to see all of it. One of the amazing things in these places was how many people there were from everywhere in the world. People everywhere. There were all sorts of drawings and carvings on the walls here. Some of them showed the lady king doing things, but more showed the people who worked for her. They say that the king who came after her didn't like her much and he took all her pictures away. One of the guards helped me out by carrying me around for a while because I was getting tired of looking at so many columns and walls and things. We went back to the bus again and went to another place, the Valley of the Queens, where there were more tunnels but the pictures weren't nearly as nice as in the Valley of the Kings. By this time we were getting pretty hungry and tired, so we were very happy to see the last place for the morning.

The guide called these two statues The Colossi of Memnon. They were very, very big statues of men who were pretty broken. The guide said that once long ago the statues used to make a sound in the morning when the sun warmed up the stone, but sometime ago they fixed the statues and they don't make the noise anymore. We looked around at the statues and the area around them where people are trying to understand what had been built around the statues. But we were glad to go to have lunch.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sailing North

The second day of sailing was more quiet than the first one had been. We didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to catch an airplane like the day before, we just got to wake up and eat breakfast and then watch the boat sail down the river to a place called Edfu. The people on the boat gave us a lot to eat and it was really nice food too, so everyone had a good breakfast. When we went back to the room, the cleaners had made a pretty flower out of a towel from the bathroom and left it on the bed. Then we went up to the top deck where the sun was finally getting to be stronger than the cold winds. I tried out the deck chairs around the swimming pool. They were pretty comfortable but there was nothing to watch since the people seemed to think that it was too cold for swimming. A moose would think that the temperature was perfect, but Maryanne told me not to get wet.

Since I wasn’t allowed to go swimming, we explored the boat a bit. I checked out the safety rings that they hang up around the boat in case someone is silly and falls into the water. I think that they are a little big for a small moose. I decided that it would be a good idea not to fall into the river. We looked all over the boat to see what there was. They had a couple of places where you could sit inside to watch the river and there was a shop where you could buy things from Egypt. I tried on a hat and thought that it was pretty cool, but Maryanne pointed out that we were always seeing people wanting to sell us things from Egypt so there was no reason to buy something right now.
We sailed past places where the valley was so narrow that we could see the desert just beyond the green palm trees and fields. There were parts of the river where it looked like the water had dried a bit to leave grass for cows and sheep to eat along the banks. At one spot, some children were playing on a sandbar in the middle of the river while their fathers fished in boats nearby. We weren’t the only big boats on the river. Others were sailing along by us and sometimes we could see the people sitting around on their top decks like we were. There were quite a few kids playing in the sun. It looked like they were having a good time.

In Edfu we left the boat and we went to the street where a lot of horses and carriages were waiting. We took one of the carriages and we rode to another temple where we saw a huge place. The walls were so tall it was amazing. The guide man told us that most of this temple had been buried under lots of sand for thousands of years and that the sand had protected it from being taken apart. The temple was for an Egyptian god called Horus who was in the shape of a falcon. There were carvings of men in Horus masks all over the walls of the temple and in one place we saw one where a little sparrow was sitting in the belly button of the Horus man. I guess that this is a bird temple for sure.

Later we went back to the boat and sailed some more. We went by many green fields of tall grass that people said were sugar cane. They said that people cut it down, smash it to get the juice out and then boil the juice to get sugar. I thought that was pretty interesting since sugar is white and powdery. In other places we saw the villages against the rocky cliffs of the desert. Some of the houses were the same colour as the desert and others were painted bright colours like blue and yellow. Many of them are made of mud brick because it keeps the house cool and is cheap. In some places they call these kinds of bricks adobe. It’s ok to make mud bricks here because it almost never rains to make the bricks melt.

Just about the time that the sun was setting we came to a place called Esna where we had to wait for the ship to have its turn to go through something called a lock. They said that in the old days there had been a narrow place in the river there where the the river dropped down and that it had been hard for boats to pass so the people made a special small lake with a passage so that a ship could go into a box, have water either put in or taken out to move up or down. There was a long time to wait for the ship to go through the locks, so I went to bed because the next day we would be in Luxor and I had to get up early.