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.