Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wake-up Call!

Ah, yes! That unmistakable whoosh as the burner of a hot air balloon flares in the early morning sky overhead. I hadn't heard it for a while and it took a minute for my fuzzy morning brain to identify it. It was very loud so I knew it had to be very close. I threw on a wrap and some shoes and headed out with my camera. There it was--heading north directly over the property and almost alarmingly low. But that meant I could get some great shots. Here it is as it appears at the south end:
And as it nears my position:
Right overhead! (I have to admit I used the zoom; it wasn't really this low)
And as it drifts off to the north towards Karnak:
A truly astonishing wake-up call...

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I stumbled across this great sign hanging on a shop display wall while wandering through Islamic Cairo in early March. Most Egyptians that I have met are very positive about our President.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Banana Split in Al-Azhar Park

Cairo was a "tough job"--but somebody had to do it. Who better than three intrepid explorers: Sue, Rogério and moi! After a strenuous day in Islamic Cairo, we had the opportunity to spend a short while in Al-Azhar Park, a lushly green oasis in the heart of historic Cairo. Of course, we grabbed it! The park is relatively new and houses several restaurants, a children's play area, and a mini-lake. See the map below:
The park is very clean and well-maintained. Bravo to residents of Cairo for doing their part to keep it looking nice! There are nice meandering paths throughout the park that lead one to special garden areas, overlooks, restaurants, water features and the like.

The park is beginning to be known as "the gate to al-Darb al-Ahmar Historic District". On the west side lies a 1.5 km section of the Ayyubid wall, constructed in the 12th century A.D. by Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi (Saladin). It was unearthed during the construction of the park and has been restored so that visitors can explore its ramparts, passageways and towers. Here are some views from the park of the wall and the area beyond.
The glorious views to the south are of the Citadel, a centuries-old bastion crowned by the minarets of the magnificent Mosque of Mohammed Ali.
As you can see, we had a strenuous day and so felt entitled to our banana split. Ah, you say, we finally get to the banana split! This final picture is of the three of us preparing to devour the tasty creation made with vanilla, hazelnut and mango ice cream!
The guy in the center looks pretty suspicious, doesn't he? Almost as if he were getting ready to run off with the whole thing... But the ladies were ever-vigilant and we all got our fair share. YUM!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Street Scenes: Luxor

Here are a few photos of typical street scenes in Luxor, mostly from this season.

This shot of "public" water jars was taken on the West Bank.
And a night shot of the Old Winter Palace in all its glory!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Massive head of pharaoh unearthed in Egypt

Hourig Sourouzian never ceases to amaze us with marvelous discoveries at the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III on the west bank here at Luxor. This is just the latest.