Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 86: Love?

September 30

When did we forget that love makes the world go around?

Ok, so maybe not this exact type of love :p
But love for life, love for humanity, love for the sake of love. Isn't that enough?

Just a thought.

What makes your world go around?

Day 85: Working out on the road

September 29

Take yourself out of all of your familiar surroundings and you'll realize that fitting in a good workout is much more difficult than expected. When I left the city I called home for 10 years (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) and moved temporarily to another (Cairo, Egypt), I figured I would just join a gym and get going. However, things didn't exactly "work out" as planned. For several reasons:
1. I love to run. A woman running outdoors on the streets of Cairo isn't something the locals are used to, so I figured I would save myself the stares (and the possible harassment).
2. Most people who workout do so in something called a nady which is basically a sporting club with teams and facilities and general happiness. I am not part of a nady.
3. Joining a private gym requires selling one of your kidneys at the black market to afford the costs. Not something I'm willing to do.

However, I am saved. I had started doing Pilates last year in a class, and had even bought a book (the one above) and it was all going pretty great until I started traveling in July. So today I decided that I will put all of those reasons above aside and do something. I pulled out the book and looked up YouTube videos and got going. And it felt great - even if I currently feel like someone used me as a punching bag. But I guess that's what I get for not working out for 3 months.

Trying to figure out how to keep to a fitness schedule while you're on the road is pretty difficult, and it's something I need to seriously consider now that I'm going back on the road oh so soon (stay tuned ;). So here are some tips:
- Utilize your resources. Try taking a biking tour around Barcelona instead of a bus tour. Walk your way to your next city-tour-stop instead of taking a cab. Save your money and get some cardio in.
- Do what you already do. If you're used to starting out every day with a 20 minute powerwalk, then go take a 20 minute powerwalk wherever you are. It will not only help you wake up, but it will make your day seem a bit more normal, as well as help you familiarize yourself with your new city.
- Try a new adventure. Worried about riding that horse in the Giza desert? Scared of jumping off a cliff in Venezula and into the river below you? Not too sure about that surfing lesson you signed up for on the coast of Melbourne? Go for it! Travel is all about new experiences and adventures. And if you get your butt kicked along the way, that's alright.

So remember what they say: The healthy mind is in the healthy body (Arabic Proverb).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Days 64 - 84: A Summary

September 8 - 28

Here is a summary of what's been going on. (Click on the pics for a larger version.)

Mosque Chandelier, Cairo.
(The big blue and white mosque in front of City Stars Mall)

Thank God for Second Cup. Go Canada!
City Stars Mall, Cairo.

Eid Cookies/Biscuits. Can't have Eid without them!

Islamic Cairo once again

An alleyway off of Mouizz Street.

Shadows play inside Beit El Seheemy, House of Seheemy, a beautiful 14th century house.

Mystery staircases, Beit El Seheemy.

Al Hakim Mosque. Breathtaking and completely unjustified by any picture.

From the inside of Al Azhar Mosque.

In the courtyard of the Sultan Hassan Mosque. Colossal and built in the 14th century under the Mamluks rule. The structure in the middle is where someone could have a drink of water or make their ablutions before prayers. The alcove seen is one of four in the courtyard where each of the four Islamic schools of thought were taught, all in the same mosque.

Going on a snorkeling trip on the Red Sea in the city of Hurghada.

The view from Paradise Island in the Red Sea. It isn't called Paradise Island for nothing.

And then two dolphins came out to play!

Watched people kite surf. I'm SO gonna learn this sport one day!

I was so sad to not have an underwater camera with me when I went snorkeling :(
But then I found out that there's an aquarium! So I snapped away. Absolutely beautiful coral reef fish that make you wonder about the underwater world. Also, I saw Dory and all of Nemo's family (but not Nemo, unfortunately. He must have been on one of his crazy escapades...)

That's it for the summary.


Alright alright, I know. I've slacked off big time. Part being uninspired, part being lazy, then part being busy. But I'm back now!

I won't be able to upload a picture for all the days I've missed, but I'm gonna make one big entry that highlights what I've been up to. I've also tweaked some aspects of the blog itself - please take a look around and let me know what you think :)


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Eid Mubarak!

With the end of the blessed month of Ramadan comes this beautiful day of Eid ul Fitr. Eid Mubarak to all of those celebrating it!

And a blessed Rosh Hashana to all of those celebrating it too!

Today I Learned...

That shoes really can mysteriously "disappear" at the mosque! :|
RIP dad's shoes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Today I Learned...

That I will not get homesick, I will get friendsick.

Day 63: Archive 1

September 7

"Treat the Earth well. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." - Ancient Native American Proverb.

Was going through some old pictures and reminiscing about London days. This was taken at Kensington Gardens.

Day 62: Fanoos Ramadan Pt. 2

September 6

Yup, largest Fanoos (Lantern) Ramadan yet. Taller than me!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 61: Distraction

September 5

I've been meaning to buy Egyptian postcards to send out for a while now. While out on Mouizz Street the other day I saw this cat and I don't know what it was about this particular stray, but it was just adorable. So I took its picture. And it was only when I went home and saw the picture on my screen that I realized Mr Cat was standing right next to a postcard stand. Bah.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 60: Islamic Cairo

September 4

Some pictures from different places in Islamic Cairo. Mouiz Street, very close to Khan el Khaleeli Bazaar. Unfortunately we visited these places on a whim and at night which meant there were no guides to tell us anything about these places and we walked into each one just as they were closing. Beautiful nonetheless. Definitely will be visiting again properly.

Day 59: To go

September 3

If there's one thing anyone can count on while being in Egypt, then it's the fact that you will always be fed.
About half an hour before iftar time, there are people standing at every major intersection handing out either water or dates to all the people stuck in traffic and who probably won't make it home in time for the breaking of the fast. Today we got lucky and got two of these bags thrown (literally) at us. A juice bottle and two dates per bag.
Thank you perfect stranger!

Today I Learned...

That I'm gonna need inspiration for this next year. Lots of it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 58: Egyptian Art

September 2

The Green Fool, Abdel Hadi El Gazzar, 1951.
This is a recreation by his wife Madame Leila Abdel Fattah.
I saw this hanging at someone's house. It caught my eye because art in Egypt doesn't tend to be abstract or anything like this. The original Egyptian artist is pretty phenomenal though, look him up.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 57: Turkish Ice Cream

September 1

Saw this video today, made me remember Turkey! I saw this happen to my friend while we were downtown Istanbul one day.