Friday, December 25, 2009

Minnie Comes to Cairo

Hey! It's Da Moose here. I've been really busy lately but I want to introduce you to my friend Minnie Moose. She came here with my buddy Paddi from Canada when Paddi came to visit Maryanne this year. Minnie is a little odd since she's white, but she said that has to do with her birthday which is near Christmas. Everything here in Egypt gets dusty, so maybe she won't stay white long.

Since Minnie just came here, we decided that we should show her around the town a bit. The first thing that we did was to stop by the embassy to register her so that they knew that there was a new Canadian in town. Then we went to Zamalek because Maryanne needed to go shopping for some Christmas presents. We were going to go to Diwan to buy some books. Maryanne really likes books. When we got out of the car, we were near a shop filled with really old stuff. There was this chair outside the shop in the shape of an elephant and we got a chance to climb in and pretend to ride the elephant. Maryanne says that her children used to do the same thing many years ago.

Maryanne and Paddi said that they were hungry then so we went to Maison Thomas for some pizza. Minnie and I just watched. Moose don't eat pizza. We like vegetables and they didn't really have any for us. When they finished lunch we went across the road to Diwan to look at books. Minnie and I had never been to a bookstore before.

Bookstores are wonderful places. I've never seen so many books with pictures and stories. They were in English, Arabic and all sorts of other languages. We didn't know what to look at first. There were stories about people, stories about animals, wonderful stories.

Maryanne and Paddi wanted to look around so Minnie and I found a comfortable chair and looked at a book about Nemo. It was the story of a fish who got lost and then his family found him again. Minnie is too little to read so I read it to her. It was in French but since I'm a Canadian moose, I could do that. I bet you didn't know that.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Playtime With Ryan

Things have been pretty quiet around here lately. Maryanne hurt her knee and then her shoulder and the doctor told her to take a vacation. She's bad at vacations and gets kind of crabby. But TODAY was so much fun. Some friends of hers came to ride the horses and since she's not allowed on a horse, she asked if their little boy Ryan wanted to play with me while his mom, dad, and sister went riding. Ryan is four and we had a really good time.

His sister Alex let us get on the horse with her for a picture before they went riding. Alex held me really tight so I wouldn't fall off. Horses are tall. Then we went for a walk around the farm. We stopped by a little palm tree and Ryan asked Maryanne what the red things were on the yellow branch. She told us that they were dates and that they were almost ready to eat. Ryan asked to try one so Maryanne picked one and we tried it. Hmmm.

I don't think they were ready, or maybe little boys and moose are not too crazy about fresh dates. They had a funny taste. Sort of sweet. Hard and crunchy. But also kind of like a green banana.

Ryan didn't want to throw it away, and he wanted the seed inside to plant in his garden so he could have a tree. We thought maybe the dogs might like the date, but they were busy eating a carrot. Funny dogs here. I didn't know that dogs liked carrots.

Maryanne said that the horses like dates so she took it and fed it to a big brown horse called Gamila. Gamila ate it and asked us if we had any more while we were playing by her paddock. Ryan was showing me how to build mountains from the sand.

We built a few mountains but the dogs aren't smart about mountains and they kept stepping on them. We decided to check out the donkey cart. Maryanne says that this is used to carry all sorts of things for the farm and the donkeys pull it. But we had fun just climbing on it. Ryan is really smart and he found a big piece of corn in the wagon. We tried to eat a piece but it was really dry. Not so good. Maryanne said the donkeys would like to eat it.

So we took it over to where the donkeys live and the grey donkey, Margarita, came over and took it from my hand. She really liked it. But her baby Daisy also wanted some and kept trying to get some from her mom.

The donkeys are cute and not as big as horses so I really like them. We see them everywhere and they work so hard pulling their carts and letting people ride them. That's the good thing about being a moose. Nobody rides a moose.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hanging Out In The Khan

The other day Maryanne walked in and said, "OK. Enough sitting around. We are going to the Khan." I wasn't really sure what she was talking about, so I asked. The Khan is an area of old Cairo where the medieval caravans from Eastern and Western Africa and from Asia would stop. After a while the entire area became a market area and you can find almost anything there.

That sounded like fun. On the way in to Khan el Khalili (not very easy to say) there were small shops where people were selling hats and scarves and other funny things to wear. I tried on a pink beaded cap with dangly things. It wasn't really me. I looked around at all the different hats that were there in the shop. Finally I found one that I really liked.

We weren't there to buy hats, according to Maryanne, as she led the way into funny little streets barely big enough for a person and a really small moose. We stopped at one interesting shop in a corner that was down some stairs and around the corner from somplace else. If it sounds like I was lost, I was. I had no idea how to find my way out so I stayed really, really close to Maryanne. She seemed to know where she was. The first place that we stopped was a glass shop.

The old man who owned the shop talked with Maryanne for a while, and she watched me very closely to be sure that I didn't move around too much and break some of the lovely blue and green glassware that was all around me. There were plates and glasses, pots and vases, and some wonderful glass balls that just begged to be juggled. I tried very hard to be still and not bump into anything. Even the alleyway outside was so narrow that it was hard not to hit anything. Finally she finished talking to the glass man and we could start moving again.

We did go down a narrow alley and we did both corners and stairs. Finally we were in the best shop in Khan el Khalili....the junk shop! Well, it isn't all junk there. There's good stuff too. There were all sorts of things there. I saw watches, cameras, hammers, tea sets, binoculars, surveying equipment, old telephones and musical instruments. One time Maryanne saw a strange round black metal thing in the shop and decided to buy it. The man said that it was an old way of telling where you are by the stars.

She took the black thing home where we cleaned it up to find that it has amazing pictures carved all over it and that there are a whole set of carved brass disks for it. Now if we could just figure out what it is and how to use it, if it does get used. We didn't find another brass thing but it was really fun to look through all the old stuff in this shop trying to figure out what it would be used for.

But that's really dusty work in Cairo. We decided that it was time to wet things down a bit and headed for someplace to have a cup of tea. There are lots of coffee houses in Khan el Khalili, but the most famous one is Fishawy's. I've never seen a place with so many mirrors that are not for sale. Maryanne had a nice time, but she was sad at the tea shop. Normally Khan el Khalili would be crowded with people but we hardly saw anyone. Recently there was someone (Maryanne says they weren't normal people but kind of crazy)who left a bomb under a bench in the square near Khan el Khalili. Quite a lot of people were hurt by this and one girl was killed, but now all the people in the area are having such a difficult time because no one wants to come there. Maryanne says that bad things can happen anywhere anytime, so you may as well do the things that you like as long as you pay attention to what's going on.