Christmas in Cairo

Mom Laura Tree

Did I mention I got a Christmas tree? Guess not. But here it is.

Sakkara WS

Laura (sister) finally caught a flight today from Frankfurt to Cairo, so Mom and I went out to see the world’s oldest pyramid at Sakkara, about 20 miles from the heart of Cairo.

Mom looks Obelisk at Sakkara

snake frieze 2

Next stop Luxor, and a cruise on the Nile to Aswan. Stay tuned.

Holidays in Egypt

My Mom arrived yesterday.  Sister missed a connection in United Airline’s holiday snowstorm mayhem, so she’ll come from Frankfurt today.

Heading to see the pyramids at Sakkara this morning.  Will show you some photos later on.  In the meantime, here are some shots of some Islamic sites in Cairo.

mevlevi dome and minaret

 Hossan Mosque tall    Courtyard with shadow

womens bath house dome

water wheel gears    woodwork closeup

mevlevi ceiling

Documenting the Wadi Degla

Badre & Alex

One of the sections of the Adham Center course I’m teaching in documentary filmmaking has decided to do a film about a nature protectorate just outside the Cairo suburbs. The Wadi Degla (Wadi is Arabic for valley) is a 30km-long canyon that became a national park in 1999. It’s a haven for wildlife — there are desert foxes and gazelles there. But it’s also a rustic natural area where people come to hike, bike and picnic on weekends.

Wadi Degla WS

Its jagged valley walls put one in mind of Utah, and there’s a area where the canyon narrows to a section that takes a little climbing over stones smoothed and shined by a natural lapidary of wind and occasional rain. The slipperiest parts are where all the hands and feet over the years have polished the limestone to a bright gloss.

Wadi Canyon 2 wadi canyon 1

But the path is littered with plastic bags that blow in from a nearby trash dump. There are regular cleanup campaigns, but it’s a Sisyphean effort as more bags blow in regularly from the dump. It’s too bad. They’re an eyesore and a nuisance to the wildlife.

Another threat to the park is development that is encroaching on the buffer zone surrounding it. Urban sprawl, marble factories and quarries, which have long supplied the stone that built Africa’s largest city, are moving closer and closer to protected territory.

The documentary class is profiling a ranger who is one small voice for the environment, trying to be heard above the din of monied interests who have the ear of government.

Alex MCU Noura, Dina, Badre at Wadi Degla

Noura shoots