The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Sometimes things work out, sometimes not, but this week I’ve had the best and the worst week ever, all rolled into one. I have cried everyday, and until yesterday I hadn’t laughed for what seemed like forever. Why? Well I lost my dog.

He’s a rather special dog, I guess every dog owner will tell you that, but this one is 14 and has travelled with us from Ireland. When we brought him out he was 9, and the Irish climate had taken its toll, he was arthritic and slow, I wasn’t sure he would survive the flight. But he did and the fabulous Egyptian weather gave him a new lease of life.

Anyway, somehow last Friday he managed to get out of the garden and I went into meltdown mode. I spent the weekend trudging the streets covering more ground than you would in a marathon but no joy. I couldn’t sleep, I spent one night on the sofa outside with the gate open just in case he came back and couldn’t get in.

I posted on Facebook and twitter and hundreds of people shared his picture, (thank you) lots sent me pictures of dogs that had been found but none were him. As the days rolled by I tried to convince myself that he had just gone to find himself a quiet corner, as they do, somewhere away from the family where he could lay down for his last sleep.

Lots of very kind Egyptians, people i had never met, contacted me telling of some horrible horrible markets that sell animals on a Friday. They sent me some very scary photos of the dogs and other animals who are bred or stolen for profit, these people are sick. The condition of the animals was horrendous. I had psyched myself up to go with my driver today, he didn’t want me to go with him, I guess he knew I would be upset.

So, in a last ditch attempt to find him I had some posters printed with his photo and my phone number. The kindest guy in the printers Ahmed translated it into Arabic for me and didn’t even charge me one piaster to print them, again thank you. But that’s when the trouble started.

As soon as I and a very special lady Chris put them up (another thank you) the phone calls started. The dregs of society who were ringing to laugh at me, or, once they heard an expat lady voice just pestered me with nuisance calls. The odd one or two seemed genuine but it was really difficult to tell and my Arabic is just not good enough to route them out. I never ventured far from the security guy outside or the staff at the club who could translate.

On Wednesday I got a genuine one but he wanted to meet within the hour, the hubby was at work and I was warned not to go on my own. Another friend organised within minutes a BIG South African body guard (more thanks) and off we went, unfortunately it wasn’t him.

By Yesterday he had been gone 6 days and I was losing hope so when I got another phone call telling me to go to the same road as Wednesday I thought it would be the same dog I had seen. This caller was a girl with some English and I hurried home to get the security guy to translate. It turned out she was calling on behalf of a policeman with no English and that they had a dog but he couldn’t walk, he was very sick and they thought he was dying. I felt then that this might be him.

The security guy talked a policeman at the end of the road to go with me, it turned out they were only a few hundred metres from my house. I couldn’t search this area as its a military zone and basically waste ground. As I rounded the corner I saw my dog lying on the ground, I cannot describe how relieved I was, I thought I would collapse, I was shaking more than the dog. As soon as I got close he jumped up, I think they thought it was a miracle as they had him for two days and thought he couldn’t walk, he was perfectly fine just depressed I think. The barbed wire lead they had attached probably didn’t help.

We were home in minutes with him jumping up and down and running like crazy in the garden, but that wasn’t the end of it. I had given the policeman they pointed out who found him some money, rather a lot of money, but I had no idea what he had done. An hour or so later a Major General something or other in the police knocked on my door with the roll of money. In perfect English he told me that the boy had simply done his job and they could not accept the money, that it would be seen as a bribe and the police didn’t take bribes….well who knew, that’s a first.

He then told me what had happened. A few days ago they found the dog but he was down a very deep hole. They couldn’t get to him so for a couple of days they threw down food scraps but he wouldn’t eat. They had no way of getting any water to him so after a couple of days they sent this young skinny guy down the hole. By this stage the dog had been in the hole for four days. The young guy somehow managed to get him out. I have no idea how, I have seen the hole and it’s pretty scary, and they kept him for a couple of days until they saw my posters.

I negotiated with the major general something that it wasn’t the boys job to feed the dog and he needed to be recompensed for this. He agreed to that and returned 90% of my money. My dog is perfectly fine, he has been down the club and is enjoying lots of treats, alls well that ends well. My final thank you goes out to Little Lucy, who rounded up her teenage mates and walked miles, you are a star. X

Masalama, Slainte, Bye.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go……

Should I stay or should I go……that’s the dilemma facing a lot of our friends at the minute. Whilst the majority of Egyptians are over the moon at the prospect of Field Marshall Sisi becoming the next president a lot of the expatriate community and a tiny Egyptian minority, mainly those on twitter, is a little out of sync with the mood on the street. Stability is the buzz word, but I’m not seeing a lot of it.

No matter whom you ask the standard Egyptian response (in no small part due to state media brainwashing, oops did i say brainwashing out loud) is that “Egypt needs a strongman, Sisi is that man” well they’ve had strongmen for the last 60 years and look how well that worked out….

Quite frankly one of the saddest conversations I’ve had recently was with a very well educated and super smart Egyptian friend. I asked him what his plans were and his response made me so very sad. He said ” If I’m still here by October I will consider myself a failure” when I pushed him and asked where he would go he said ” anywhere that will take a 24 year old Egyptian ……..” the dots represent his profession, you don’t need to know.

Suffice to say that this young man is what Egypt needs, and lots more like him. The brain drain will take at least a generation to replenish, and the current climate won’t produce intellects that are questioning, logical or even rational. Combined with the fact they never bloody go to school, the national schools have been closed for over a month now, sorry I digress. Emotional nationalistic blackmail seems to be the order of the day. You are with us or against us, if you’re against us you are a terrorist, there is no middle ground.

That’s all very rich coming from me, an Irish expatriate who is doing what this young man aspires to do. I can’t really knock him, as soon as I finished university I was off. But it’s the reasoning behind the decision that’s so very different. It’s all very well leaving home to travel, see the world, catch a bit of sunshine or just to go somewhere to earn a few pounds, to experience different cultures, or whatever rocks your boat. To leave because you are frustrated, angry and despairing over the path your country is taking is something entirely different.

I could get on my high horse and say he should stay, his country needs him, and really it does need this guy, but truthfully if I was him I would go too. He is young, his whole life is ahead of him, at 24 I didn’t want the mantle of sorting out my country either, thankfully we had some elder statesmen who did. I’m not so sure Egypt has the same will, or want, to do so. Apologies to those who clicked the link expecting my usual fluff, but I care about this place and at the minute it’s doing my head in. Should I stay, or should I go, well I’m very lucky in that I have a choice, but I haven’t decided yet.

I’m still entertained by the daily sights, I love the friends I’ve made and something another friend said is nibbling at my brain. She said “I don’t want to leave Egypt on bad terms” neither do I. I don’t want the last few months to mar what has otherwise been a fantastic experience. Yes, I have “Bad Egypt Days” when the electricity cuts, the traffic, the perverts on the street grind me down. But and it’s it’s a really big but, if someone told me I’d spend the rest of my life here, I’d be pretty happy about it.

I will leave you with my new resolution; “I will not let the bastards grind me down” and there is always a ray of sunshine if you look hard enough

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Photo is by the fantastic Mosa’ab Elshamy follow him on twitter @mosaaberizing

Anyone for a Cupcake?

Well, January the first has been and gone, but in my repeating groundhog day existence I am stuck on what appears to be April 1st. In an ever spiralling alternative reality I am constantly overcome with a desire to pinch myself. For the last week or so Egypt has ….. Outdone itself…..You couldn’t make it up, if it was a movie plot it would be canned by the critics for being too far fetched, sadly the looneys have taken over the asylum.

We have had a puppet investigated for …well treason i think, its accused of sending subliminal messages to the Muslim Brotherhood, via a Vodafone Ad….to say that’s embarrassing for all sane Egyptians is an understatement. The international media picked up on it, must have been a slow news day, and although it didn’t make the cover of Time magazine it did make the inside pages, this is truly cringe worthy stuff.

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The “snitch” hotline is now up and running for all loyal citizens to report Muslim brotherhood members or sympathisers. Anyone putting up “Vote NO” posters for the upcoming “democratic” referendum will also be arrested, I’m not sure they get the either, or, option that a referendum entails. This hotline is most definitely open to abuse, any weary husband or wife or basically anyone with a grudge, simply needs to slip a Rabaa sign near the vicinity of the suspect, make the call and voila they are gone.

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The referendum will be policed by the army. The very sexy….well in some eyes, there is no accounting for taste, army spokesman Ahmed Ali posted pictures to their Facebook page showing the new gear they have acquired for the event. Yip, the ones in red with a ninja look about them, or maybe they are more Power Rangers… should make us all feel very safe. The outfits remind me of the Olympics when the National team turned up in fake Nike kit, or maybe it was Adidas, anyway someone is having a laugh here, the supplier being my number one suspect.

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Some of our friends have been evacuated again as a precaution in case there is any trouble during the voting process. I’ve lost count of the amount of times they’ve been evacuated, happy to say the hubby’s company seems to be oblivious to any upcoming trouble so we are staying put. I’m more concerned with the fact the ring road will be closed for maintenance thereby curtailing the Hubby’s golfing plans and leaving him at home with me…..

Just when we thought the whole “Egypt as a laughing stock” was dying down some bloody tourist in Hurghada reported seeing UFOs…..that’s now being investigated too. I imagine the outcome of the inquiry will be that Mossad is responsible, rather in the way that the sharks last year were MOSSAD agents seeking to undermine Egypts tourism industry by attacking tourists. Or, maybe they will be accredited to HAMAS carrying out reconnaissance for the brotherhood, who knows.

I live in the hope that someone will step up to the mark and make a rousing speech something along the lines of “OK people, time to catch yourselves on, get a grip, all these conspiracy theories, undercover agents, spy’s are a figment of your imagination, it’s embarrassing, more bizarre than even the absurd plot lines in a John Grisham novel” yeah well, I doubt there is anyone out there who could sway the SiSi love fest, oh and Yes he will be the next president, most definitely.

I’m going to keep my head down, tape my mouth shut too, oh and ideally wear only coats with deep pockets for fear of my foreign fingers getting me into bother. I will smile nicely at all the pervert policemen and soldiers who are now the flavour of the month and quietly wait until the referendum passes, which it will. It took 2 and 1/2 years from Mubarak being deposed until Morsi suffered the same fate, how long will Sisi last….I’m thinking we are in for the long haul.

There is a little kick back against all this nationalist fervour, it just depends which bakery you use, these delicious looking cupcakes are in support of @alaa who is once again in jail, as he has been under every regime, Mubarak, SCAF, Morsi, and now., (I’m not quite sure what to call the “now” period because it most definitely wasn’t a coup) The other logo is the “No to Military Trials” graphic, but I’m not sure cupcakes as a form of resistance is gong to make much difference….I won’t be buying any just in case..

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Slainte, Masalama, Bye

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Dear Santa..

Having just spent a couple of weeks out of Egypt getting my head showered I’m now back in the land of crazy. My senses were exposed to stylish people, professional service, and lots of clean things, so I am now at a loss how to deal with my level of frustration with all things Egyptian.

It was not a good idea to travel and remind myself that there are people who actually do their bloody job. In the hope that a strong man will step in and deal with the mess that is Egypt, I’m writing this letter to someone whom I think has the ability to sort it out, no not General Sisi, Santa.

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a good girl all year please may I have,

(1) A Style makeover for the entire Egyptian population, (with the exception of Ahmed Harfoush and Kurt Galalah) To the taxi driver I had the other day you are a chronic case. Your leopard print earmuffs on top of your red wooly hat, combined with your navy fleecy gloves, brown climbing socks and checked slippers, yes slippers, is not going to cut it in the real world. And No, 10 degrees is not freezing. Get a life.

Side Note: I know I was pursuing a no taxi agenda in my last blog, but since I managed to get myself knocked down whist strolling back from road 9, i have reconsidered my options. I was ably assisted by two perverted policemen who helped themselves to a good grope whilst pretending to get me to my feet. I pass these two policemen almost every day, their cards are marked. If we ever leave here I will tazer them en-route to the airport.

(2) Shop assistants who leave me in peace to shop. I don’t want someone on my shoulder hovering constantly, I am not going to steal anything, I am not here for you to practice your English, and as a special mention to the shop assistant in the Grand Mall I am not here to help you with your homework. I know you want help with your pronunciation but asking an Irish lady is not going to get you good grades. And, I am most certainly not here to listen to your style tips, see point (1) above

(3) A high profile TV campaign called “Move your Arse” This may be fairly radical but how about instead of crouching around a fire in the street wrapped in blankets talking about how cold it is, you get up move around, do some exercise, ideally some street cleaning, or better still why don’t you just go home. There is absolutely no need for 6 policemen to sit at the end of my street scratching their manly parts and sleeping.

(4) Toilet attendants who do their job. I don’t need you to stand at the toilet entrance tearing off a few squares of paper from your toilet roll and expecting a tip. I need you to clean the bloody toilets, and not with those stupid squeegee things that just move water around the floor. How about a mop, some elbow grease and ideally some disinfectant.
(4b) Someone to invent an ablutions sink, ideally at floor level so the elderly ladies in their abayas can wash their feet without performing gymnastics at the sink next to me, creating puddles all over the floor, and soaking me in the process.

(5) A Ban on twiddly things. IKEA is here now so there is no excuse for shiny sparkly things and unnecessary adornment of furniture, light fittings or kitchenware, all praise IKEA.

(6) Female police officers. I know you have a couple on the ladies carriages on the metro but I’m talking proper, full time, armed with big eff off guns policewomen. To be put in charge of all things litter and pervert related initially. If you chuck your coke cans from your car, if you leave your takeaway at your arse, if you flash your bits at me, if you pee, or God forbid do your number 2s in public (yip I’ve seen them) you will be tazered, repeat offenders will be shot.

(7) Proper brushes, dustpans and bins for the roads sweepers. What is the bloody point of using a witches broom to brush crap into piles and leave it on the side of the road. And no, using a bit of cardboard to chuck it onto the verge doesn’t count either, it will blow back by tomorrow, put it in a bin and dump it.

(8) A big submachine gun or rocket launcher to mount on the bonnet of my car. Some James Bond style spikes that poke out from my car hubcaps, retractable obviously, and ideally diplomatic status or at the very least immunity from prosecution. Failing that, an invisibility cloak would be be awesome.

(9) A telephone network that actually works. Vodafone Egypt you are the pits. I don’t want my text messages three hours after they’ve been sent, I don’t want to hear the network is busy, certainly not at 7:30 am when 90% of the population is still in bed, nor do I wish to receive 20 messages a day from you, or put up with your mind numbing call centre staff carrying out surveys. Leave me in peace and concentrate on stopping every phone call cutting out mid sentence, ideally subcontract it all to India.

PS
Santa, I really, really love Egypt but some days I just want to shoot the whole bloody lot of them. Can you magically transform their brains to think ahead? I know that’s a big ask but seriously, begad, can you just get them to understand that good service means I will come back, that ripping me off means I won’t. That turning up on time is polite, that being late is disrespectful. That Inshallah is a pathetic excuse, God has nothing whatsoever to do with getting your arse into gear, and finally, that if they actually do their jobs they should not expect a tip, praise, or a clap on the back. In most cases there are about 4 people doing the “work” of one.

Here is a little example, in the pharmacy beside me you go to the counter, ask one of the multiple staff behind it for what you want, they hand it over with a ticket. You take the ticket to another counter and get it stamped. You then take the stamped ticket to another cashier counter and pay. How the sweet banana can this country ever be productive? I guess it does explain the copious amount of prescription drugs consumed, you need them just to survive the trauma of purchasing them.

Masalama, Slainte, Bye.

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Feeling Good

I haven’t written in a while, I have wanted to, but the seemingly constant stream of depressing reports, surveys, and news coming out of Egypt has left me feeling my normally fluffy take on things would be somehow inappropriate.

My Facebook timeline and twitter feed Is filled with “Egypt voted worst place to be an expat, worst for quality of primary education, worst to be a woman and highest for the percentage of women who undergo female genital mutilation” horrific. Life here for a lot of people is hard, very very hard.

Well, that’s the guilt trip out of the way, that was just to show you I am aware, I understand, I empathise, but you can’t let the Ba$tards grind you down!

So moving swiftly on…..I was just walking back from the Metro, I don’t take taxis any more unless I have my bambi legs on and am incapable of walking, and I had a little encounter to warm the cockles of your heart. Two youngish boys, say about 13 decided I would be the target for their perverted verbal abuse today. They were shouting what they’d like to do to me, you know the normal stuff, although at 13 I’m not sure they could have followed through.

Next thing an elderly gentleman on a motorbike pulled up along side me, said “I’m very sorry madam” and spun his bike round to chase the boys. Well, he was approaching them from behind so they didn’t see him coming. He drove right between them with both his legs sticking out and managed to kick both of them on the back of their knees. Down they went as he speeded of leaving them lying there, and waved me goodbye.

So, you see there are things to be positive about, the fact that the punishment may have been a little severe, and that anywhere else in the world he would have been taken up for child abuse is irrelevant. Going back to the taxi thing, I have decided to walk everywhere, but make sure I have the taxi fare handy. This money I use to salve my conscience, basically it’s to make me feel better.

The disabled boy in the wheelchair who sits at Midan Victoria, beside the daffy duck balloon man, you know who I mean, and the 90year old toothless road sweeper who does Port Said Street are the normal recipients. There is no bloody welfare system here and whilst I can’t do much their smiles make my day. Have a go yourself, don’t be giving it to the beggars though there is a mafia of them, and they use the kids to milk it. I do succumb to them now and again but I actually take the tissues which seriously pisses them off.

For those of you outside Cairo, and for whom the last sentence probably didn’t make any sense, here is a synopsis. It’s illegal to beg here so they pretend they are selling you tissues, you’re meant to just give them some money and walk away without the tissues. But I can’t be bothered with this lot, they are raking it in, so I always take the tissues. That’s the reason I keep getting new handbags, they are all full up with little handi-paks, well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Now, let’s see what else have I been up to…..I’ve been very busy actually. I told you last time that I got elected to the Ace Club committee. In my little speech I sold it to the crowd by saying, I am a lady who lunches who was a hotel manager in my previous life. I have a good understanding of what needs to go on behind the scenes to allow you lot to just turn up and get pished, blah, blah,blah. I think they heard the pished part and i was a shoo-in.

It’s been a blast so far I have to say. They are refitting the bar so basically I get to shop for chairs tables etc without spending any of my own money, perfect. This is definitely a job for a lady who lunches. The hubby is pretty happy about the money part too, I’m far too busy to be spending any of his.

We are off to Dubai in a week or two for the Rugby 7s, I can’t wait. I’m going as the team manager, well there are two managers, the other one does the managing. I once again have been tasked with shopping. I’ve been down the Khan El Khalili to collect Galebayas and T-shirts for the tour. I did get sidelined in Mohamed Khalis Jewellery shop but that’s another story. I forgot to get the Fez’s so I guess I’ll have to go back….no jewellery this time, note to self.

I’m rather excited because as a manager I get one of those dongle things you hang round your neck to access all areas. Dongle is not the right word, my minds gone blank, but you know what I mean. That means I get to have lunch in the players tent surrounded by heaps and heaps of international rugby players, ahh eye candy at its best. The hubby will be there too and he will obviously outshine them all….just covering myself there.

Speaking of the hubby he got to do the shopping for the playing kit, that’s the shirts, shorts and socks, Well him and his accomplice in crime Dr T. They did unfortunately copy me in on all their emails during the design process which was painful to say the least. Suffice to say its very very scary, I don’t think it would be possible to fit in any more clashing colours or patterns. Here is a shot of last years effort which is very tame in comparison. I do have a shot of this years but I can’t post it for security reasons. Plus they would both kill me if I ruined their grand unveiling ceremony.

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Im off to see if I can find any sheep dog training facilities here, highly unlikely, I may have to “You tube” it. I feel I need to brush up on my skills of corralling prior to Dubai. If I picked up some handy hints they would assist me in my management duties. Basically my duties will entail gathering up 15 drunken players and ensuring they find their way to the right pitch, no mean feat.

I will need to have on hand some spare inhalers, lots of tape, various types of strapping and lots of deep heat and freeze spray. There is a professional physio tent which our players can use free of charge, but after last years debacle whereby I missed a match because the one and only Dr T had me running back to the tent in search of his credit card I may ban them from using this facility.

Lots of wives and supporters are coming this year but I can’t decide if it will be a help or a hindrance. It will relieve me of one duty though, the “minding” of wedding rings. It’s not what you think, they take them off to play, give them to me, and then have mild panic attacks when they forget I have them. It’s usually about 10 at night in the Irish village when it kicks in, I’ve decided this year I will be mean and accidentally misplace at least one., you have been warned, ahh life is good!

Bye, Masalama Slainte

RPG Attack in Maadi?

I Woke up yesterday to twitter going crazy over “RPG” attack in Maadi. There had been a couple of loud blasts about 4:30 am which obviously I slept through, years of practice with the hubby’s snoring renders me immune to such trifles.

The loud blasts are fairly common, last weeks turned out to be a gas canister exploding in a florists, so you’ve got to take the twitter people with a pinch of salt. The much more scary headline, for me anyway, was “Egypt to Build Nuclear Power Station”

The fact that it’s possible to die here just by working in a florists, hardly the most dangerous career path, and taking into consideration Egyptians general apathy to all things health and safety related, means I am out of here the minute this Nuclear power plant hits the construction phase.

It took a couple of hours for the newspapers to pick up on the blasts, and even then it was Al Watan, who lets just say aren’t the most reliable source. Meanwhile twitter had variously accredited the blasts to an electrical explosion, tanks firing canons, (do tanks even have canons nowadays?) The tanks along the Suez road we saw over the weekend certainly do not.

That may however have something to do with the fact they are made out of cardboard. Yes really, ok maybe not cardboard but they are made from plywood at best, although I’m still not sure why, they may be remnants from the “ghost Army” deployed during the war. Fascinating stuff, here is the link………ghost army….nor am I sure why there is a giant helmet on display either, maybe it’s to confuse those sneaky Israelis taking aerial photographs.

Fake tank

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More fake stuff on display at the citadel…..awesome stuff eh?

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Back to the RPGs. One of the oil companies sent out a security notice to say the blasts were controlled explosions in a nearby quarry, and that’s when the alarm bells started ringing, for me anyway. This is their standard cover story, they accredited last years sonic boom to these mysterious blasts too, it’s what they send out when they haven’t a clue what’s going on. In fairness Its not the oil companies fault, they are being fed this line from their security sources.

But come on people waken up, these blasts went off during curfew, so no one should have been at work to start with, never mind the fact the quarry is in Helwan so unless there was some sort of time travel machine that captured the sound of the blasts from the quarry and deposited them in Maadi I’m not buying it.

UFOs were also a possibility floated as being responsible for the blasts. These proposals didn’t make their way to twitter, thankfully, they were merely voiced by my friends, which shows the quality of the company I keep. Their “proof” of UFOs was based on the fact the roundabout at Midan Victoria is displaying signs of crop circles. The proximity to the Ace Club of this roundabout may have something to do with their perception.

By mid afternoon the RPG story was generally accepted as true and Sky News, the BBC and Al Jazeera were running with it. The confirmation appeared to come from the military spokes person via ONTV, who I would place in a similar category as Al Watan. Details began to emerge that the target was the nile-sat satellite dish but they missed and hit the international phone satellite instead. There is no way of verifying this as no one I know has an international phone line to check. It never bloody works anyway so it won’t make any difference, thank goodness for Skype.

We are really none the wiser and I’ve been in Egypt too long to be sure of anything. The abundance of conspiracy theories and warped logic I’m surrounded by has totally screwed any deductive reasoning I may have had. It either happened, or it didn’t. If it did, someone wants us to believe it didn’t. If it didn’t someone wants us to believe it did, take your pick.

This “rocket” may be similar to the one used in the attack…….also on display at the citadel, scary stuff!!

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UPDATE :YOU TUBE VIDEO OF THE ATTACK claimed by “Al-Furqan Brigades” I cannot testify to the authenticity of this.

For Video Click Here

The Special One

I was at a dinner party the other evening, a leaving party for yet another one of my friends, and it was rather posh. I don’t often get to swan about in Katamaya, but I went fully prepared. I put on my high heels, my newest skirt, and a little blouse, I even washed my hair and shaved my legs. I packed my fags into my Channel handbag (fake off course) and thought I looked the part.

The downside to this ensemble was that en-route to this party I had to stop off at the Ace Club in Maadi, make a speech in front of the assembled crowd and hope they would vote me on to the committee. I looked like a proper lady who lunches, and quite honestly I was crapping it. The hubby wasn’t even there to lend his support, he was off galavanting at the golf.

I did the speech stone cold sober as i had to walk up to the microphone and back again. I sidelined my usual tipple of fine Egyptian wine as the combination of it, and high heels turn me into Bambi. Anyway I did alright and managed to get on, waved my goodbyes and headed off to see the Katamaya crowd.

It was a lively evening but there was an underlying layer of sadness to be saying yet another good bye. I was the only smoker so I discreetly nipped away for a quick fag kindly accompanied by an ex smoker who wanted to hover near by and imbibe of some passive Marlboro light.

There is an underlying feeling of sadness in Egypt too. The buzz has gone. Egypt is tired, fed up, and depressed, We need an inspirational personality to step in and grab the bull by the horns and get things going again. I have the very boy in mind, Jose Mourinho.

Just picture Jose addressing the nation, suave, sophisticated, handsome, sexy and George Clooney-esque. That would be enough to give the economy the boost it needs straight away. Imagine the tourists flocking back just to catch a glimpse of those rugged good looks. But, Jose is not just a pretty face, he is a media darling with his sound bites of wisdom, and his obviously modest persona.

Little snippets from his speeches would go something like this:

“I am Jose Mourinho your President, I am the special one, Egyptian people you are my new team, I am zee boss”

“Men in Egypt play very good with balls….too much playing with balls not good, men in Egypt need to learn how to score…if you score no need to play with balls”

“I am a very stylish man, I am beautiful, Egyptian people should dress like me. Your clothes now very ugly, my team needs look cool. Crocs are banned”

“Egyptian people you cannot grow grass (except good gardeners in Katamaya) Astro Turf will replace all grass, save water, more to wash with, and stop stupid Bowab wet my feet with hose”

Oh, we can but dream, I hereby nominate Jose Mourinho for President, he can’t fuck it up anymore than the last one, or the latest crew.

Thats sorts Egypt out but I still have my underlying sadness at losing so many friends. Our book-club has been decimated. By Christmas only myself and one other member will remain from the original line up. I will no longer be able to regale you with tales of their gin sozzeled conversations, or their expat lady troubles. I need to find some new friends. Selection criteria will be based purely upon their comedic competencies, but in truth I can’t be arsed.

Slainte, Masalama, Bye.

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