Egypt: 3 trips and 3 leaders…Trip #1

The first time I went to Egypt was in 2009 during a study abroad program through my school. Mubarak was still standing strong in his almost 30 years in power. I knew nothing about Mubarak’s regime, all that I really knew is that posters of his portrait were everywhere with some gibberish writings that I was yet to understand. I also knew that Obama had given a speech in Cairo University in 2008, promising to build an even stronger relationship with Egypt. If you were American travelling to Egypt, this was the year to go. Egyptians would welcome us with tea and the sentence “we love you Obama”, upon knowing where we were from.

We arrived in Cairo on my birthday and it was a hot summer day to be expected in towards the end of July. I immediately noticed an abundance of men surrounding the airport trying to catch any tourist that will take their form of ride. The women were beautifully matching their clothe with their head wraps. I loved Egypt from the moment I landed, it was so foreign and different from what I was used to that I found everything fascinating.

We stayed in Cairo for less than a day and parted to Aswan located in the south of Egypt at the border of Sudan. Aswan is very different from Cairo. The Egyptian traditional values of Islam are more pigmented in their society. Although in Cairo you see a lot of people wearing the traditional attire, the galabeya (long dress) for the men and for the women the long dress is called abaya. You see the traditional values in their attire and behavior more in Aswan and the rest of Upper Egypt (south of Egypt).

When you arrive to Aswan, you immediately feel a heavy sense of peace. The river is so relaxing, refreshing and pure. You can hear from afar the children playing at the bank of the river and the birds chirping away.

Aswan gets extremely hot during the months of Summer, so most people do not come out until night-time and that is really where the life begins. If you ever been to Egypt you know that most people sleep throughout the day and stay awake throughout the night. This is especially true during the hot months and in the month of Ramadan(the month when Muslims all over the world have to fast from sunrise to sunset).

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In order to reach our hotel from the main town to our hotel, we have to take a boat. The hotel was built as an island in the Nile River

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This is really what you want to do all day. Aswan is very relaxing. Even though it gets extremely hot in the summer, it is very refreshing from the purityof the river

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The market is empty throughout the day. During the night it gets filled and that is when the city comes to life.

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It’s very typical that people have their little farms and sell whatever they were able to produce in the markets

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After staying in Aswan for 5 days we headed towards Luxor by bus. I didn’t take any pictures in Luxor. That was because we ended up not doing anything that was on our itinerary. Our study abroad teacher ended up quitting her responsibilities because of some problems that had happened in Aswan. Let’s just say that she was engaged in some fishie things. We called the school to report the situation and while we were waiting for the school to resolve some logistics we stayed in our hotel rooms until further noticed.

The director of the international department finally called our chaperon, the secretary of the African Studies department and gave her the permission to take charge. We were able to stay in Egypt for the remainder of the trip since it was already prepaid.

We headed back to Cairo, where we stayed for 4 days. We mainly hang around the hotel enjoying the pool but we were able to see some touristic sites.

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Step Pyramid

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One of the Giza pyramids

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1916925_1201994896361_1622755_nWe ventured out to ancient towns such as Al Husain and tried the traditional Egyptian meal “koshari”. The dish is fairly simple but very delicious, it’s basically made out of rice, lentils, pasta, tomato sauce and glace or fried onions. Basically a bowel of carbs. The picture bellow is not mine just a pretty picture of the dish. Disclaimer, the koshari that you will find in the streets will not look this pretty, but it will still be very delicious.

picaQKD3II was not able to notice the political situation during my first trip to Egypt. It was later on during my second and third trip that I was able to compare the implications that took place during the Arab Spring and how people’s daily lives have been affected. Unfortunately, the protests and the shift of power in Egypt is having a great social economic impact. Tourism is extremely slow which is one of the driving forces of Egypt’s economic and people are still not able to afford the basic needs such as shelter and food.

I will not go go into depth about my political views on this post, most likely I will share more when I post about the trip#3.

Big Cats by Joe Zammit-Lucia.

I love these photos and Lions are my ultimate favorite animal. I wish to see one in the wild one day1

Old Guv Legends

Joe-Zammit-Lucia01Portraits of animals in solid black backgrounds that puts them in an elegant light and captures their unique traits and personality. Zammit-Lucia applies the techniques of human portraiture to animals to explore issues related to animal individuality, human-animal relations, and environmental and species conservation.

Joe-Zammit-Lucia08via Faith is Torment | Art and Design Blog: Photos by Joe Zammit-Lucia.

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Nesting; A Pregnancy Myth or Not…

Scientists have not unfurl all the mysteries that come with being pregnant. We don’t know why pregnant women have morning sickness during the initial months of pregnancy yet many suffer from this symptom. The same goes for nesting, restlessness and even insomnia. In websites such as babycenter and whattoexpect, doctors suggests that women get their nesting instincts as a preparation mechanism for the newborn baby.

What ever the reason behind it, I truly believe in nesting and it can be quite a challenge if anyone tries to stand in away of a women’s urge to organize.

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Last time when I was pregnant, I started my nesting at around 5 months. I bought everything and anything I thought my newborn would need, clothe, diapers, bathtub, bottles, packing play, travelling system, you name it, way before the baby was due. I could not wait until the appropriate time to start packing the hospital bag. The days and months could not have passed any slower and I just had to prepare the bag at 32 weeks. I think I reorganized the bag a millions times just to make sure I had everything I needed for the baby’s arrival.

Last pregnancy, I had the urge to collect items but this time around I have the need to get rid of things. To declutter my life by getting rid of old and useless items. My husband has gone crazy with my craziness of selling furniture on craigslist. On Sunday morning I was able to sell my sofa and if my husband was not home I would have sold my desk, a round side table and given away an old carpet that will not be used. He even said that I would put him next to be sold on craigslist. Even though that is not a bad idea, I think I will stick to selling house items for now. Who knows, I might become good at it and open my own business. To proof this unexplained nesting instinct, I will demonstrate my absurdity need of getting rid of things with a picture.

IMG_7467Believe it or not, I love to see my living room this empty, it gives me a sense of peace and serenity. Although, eventually I have to fill it up with furniture, referencing to this room gives me a sense of clarity and tranquility.

What is strange is that I have not organized my hospital bag, nor do I have a stroller since I sold my daughter’s stroller in order to have room for a double instead. I have not installed the car seat nor do I even have a space for her to sleep in our room.

All of this has not been bothering me, I just hope and pray that I get one more week to prepare. I also think that the difference between my first and last pregnancy is not strange. As for first time around, I had the urge to collect all tools necessary to prepare for the unexpected. I was not sure what labor was and how it felt, even after having research it online and in books, nothing prepares you for it. This time, gone through the pain and tribulations, I have a need to unload and not carry unnecessary cargo on my shoulder.

Even though, most pregnant women go through the nesting period of their pregnancy, whether the reason is to prepare for the newborn or your body telling you that labor is approaching. The outcome of this instinct can be different from woman to woman and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. No matter the tasks, it goes to show how strong women are. I was at awe the other day, when even through sickness I was able to hang some shelving into the wall. I attempted to move the other couch that we have in the bedroom to the living room but that requires some un-pregnant power.

I would love you to share some of your nesting stories and fill in the dots. you know you’ve started nesting when….

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