The title would suggest that I live the life of a jet-setter, and as I construct some illusions in this blog, I will leave you with that impression…
Ok, ok. Actually, my husband suddenly got the urge to spend a few days of Ramadan in Cairo--where there is quite a bit of nightlife—so we went to visit family living there. That still sounds like I might be a jet-setter, and we did stay up until 4am every day. Appears wild, doesn’t it ? And we lived in the middle of the desert…Sounds even more daring, n’est-ce pas ?
We had lovely and spacious accommodations an hour from downtown Cairo. However, here is what the desert looks like today:
Yup, it’s become a massive suburb of Cairo with miles and miles and miles of construction and sand, as far as the eye can see.
Obviously, Egyptians resemble everyone else. They want the American dream of "BIGGER is better." These are residential one-family buildings. Sometimes they are divided into apartments for different members of the family and their children. Here are the backyards.
Huge houses are squeezed onto tiny lots with hardly no garden. And to think I’ve complained about uncontrolled construction in Tunisia.
And yet, Old Cairo remains forever fascinating. My 10-year old granddaughter (gd10) and I went for a morning of drawing at the Coptic museum.
Among other things, this museum contains amazing textiles, usually in linen and wool (woven, tapestry, or embroidered), which date from the 4th to 6th centuries making them around fifteen hundred years old. The level of craftsmanship is astonishing: Tiny, ornate figures worked into intricate designs suggest a level of sophistication seldom seen today. Unfortunately, cameras are not allowed in the museum.
And so we sat down on the cool, clean marble floors and we drew in our sketchbooks with markers. Besides being easily portable, markers help children get over the impulse that they learn in school to erase. All lines are good.
gd10's drawing of a 5th-6th c. AD tombstone.
The hands of the person are raised in prayer.
We talked about how to situate the elements of a drawing and how to use different kinds of lines to create shadows and depth--light lines, broken lines, dots.
People would come up and watch.
"Grandma, people are staring at us," noticed my hyper-sensitive, easily embarrassed pre-teen.
"That's because we're doing something so cool.
You know, you will never forget this museum because you sat down and drew."
And she seemed pleased.
gd10's drawing of the virtue of perseverance personified as an angel from a wall mural of the 6th/7th c. AD.
Here we discussed drawing faces and shell designs.
And so we passed a pleasant and peaceful morning in the museum.
And I'll take a kid's drawing any day over an adult's.
Outside, I sneaked a few shots of the lion statues, for which I have a fondness.
The museum was closing.
The high point of the trip was a visit to the Shariya Khayammia or Tentmakers’ Street which requires a post unto itself, but I offer a sneak preview.
Indeed, Cairo shines as a welcome break in daily routine...