Sunday, October 6, 2013

6th of October

Asalamu Alaykom,

Today is the Egyptian holiday of 6th of October.  Not to be confused with the 6th of October Bridge...

or the City of 6th of October.

Here in Egypt, WE LOVE the 6th of October.

Teachers and students especially love it because it's usually the first day off from school each year.  I, myself, am enjoying the end of my 3-day weekend with some hot popcorn and a lazy kid on a cold, sunny morning.

But I digress.  Let's start from the beginning.  Egypt and Israel were fighting over Sinai.  Saddat was in charge.  In 1973, he ordered an attack on the Israeli forces during their observance of Yom Kippur.  In the West, this war is called by that name, "The Yom Kippur War."  Of course, in Egypt it's known as "The 6th of October."  What's kind of weird is that it's hardly ever said in Arabic; it's usually said in English.

Here's the movie my husband and I stayed up late watching on Friday, "Al-Tariq Ela Eilat" or "The Road to Eilat".  It's from 1997 but it seems much older.  It's an extremely reverential treatment of the events.

The funny thing is that comedic actor Mohamed Saad, "El Limby," appears in his first role as a newly married solider.

Saddat and Mubarak helped win the war.  Therefore, to commemorate that victory is to idolize two former presidents:  Saddat and Mubarak.  Depending on the political climate of the day, the focus shifts on whoever is most in favor.  This year, it was Saddat.  However, the basic premise is that Egypt is strong through military might and military leaders.

The Anti-Coup Colalition, still angry about things like the overthrowing of the democratically elected leader, kidnapping, imprisonment and murder, will be protesting today.  Of course they will.

The incredible thing is that the "President" of Egypt----can you name him?  I can!  Adly Mansour.  So, Adly Mansour has made a statement for all Egyptians to go out on the streets and support the army.  He says that anyone protesting on October 6 will be considered an element of foreign influence.

So, guess where we are?  WE'RE HOME!  I always celebrate a day early or a day late in Egypt.  I never want to be in the mainstream and especially not on an Egyptian holiday.  Body crushing crowds are not my thing.  That goes double on potentially dangerous days.

Yesterday, is when we went to 6th of October.  It was for a dentist appointment but we made the most out of our trip.  We've been exploring the city's Mall of Arabia for the last year but haven't really ventured out beyond those walls.  I'm glad we walked around 6th of October...even if it was the 5th.

To get to this suburb, we traveled, from Remaya Square, which is next to the Pyramids, up Fayoum Road and then El Wahaat Road.  This takes us from the lower middle-class to the upper middle-class and then some.  Take a look at the scenery on the side of the road:

Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Al-Haram any more.

The area is constantly being built up.  Here's a masjid  under construction in the distance.

There's so much open space!  That's a major difference between where I live and where I escape to.  You can find some breathing room.

I took the guys to their dentist appointment.  It's the poshest dentist office you can find.  It's not that I needed, "the look" of the place.  I just wanted a clean place where I could avoid contracting hepatitis.  It's a big problem among dentists in Egypt.  For four years, I didn't go to a dentist because of this.  Mr. Boo had never been to a dentist his whole life until this year.  Yep, that's bad.  He had one cavity.  Everything is under control now.

After the dentist, we walked to a few home stores along the street.  It was on our plan.  I need to fix up the kitchen with some actual cabinets instead of plastic shelving.  We looked into installing sunshades too.  We didn't buy anything.  We only got ideas.

My Syrian co-worker had told me that I had to stop in at Salloura, a Syrian sweet shop.

Look at that GORGEOUS graphic.  Oh my goodness!  This is the bag full of 115 LE worth of treats.

Look inside.

My husband wanted all these heavy cakes.  Syrian sweets aren't as sugary as their Egyptian counterparts.  I like that.  Egyptian treats are soooooooooooooo sugary you can't taste the butter or the nuts.

Here's another box.

Love the look!  Love!

Okay, but there's also something inside which is just as wonderful.

This is the box I am dipping into when nobody is looking.  Do you see those little rings?  Those are my undoing.  They are savories with little black bakara; nigella seeds.  They melt in your mouth with a buttery, salty goodness.

While we were getting these packaged up, I eyed the Syrian ice cream.  Yes, we also bought ice cream.  Well, Mr. Boo is getting over a cold so he got the strawberry sorbet.  I got the ALMOND ice cream.  I love almond-flavored anything.  No pictures of those.  We simply ate them up.

Along our way to lunch, we stopped in at a stationary store.  The biggest stationary store chain in Egypt is Samir wa Ali. I like them but there's a joy I get from visiting a quirker place like Bernasos With Samir & Ali, you know you'll find the normal stuff but you never know what you'll find in another stationary store.

I found this big, sturdy book of Arabic and English words next to bright photos.  It was only 12 LE.  I haven't found one example of Arablish!  I thought I might use it with the little kids at the house, then I started wondering if it might be good for me too.  Later, I saw my husband reading it over.  Really, good materials make everyone excited to learn.  

I also found this long sheet of famous faces from Egypt.

My husband almost didn't let me buy it because of Morsi having his face on one of the stickers.  I told him, "It's history!  The pharaoh is on it too.  You don't have to like somebody to remember him as part of history."

Here's the rest

Kinda cool but---

Really?  Has there only been ONE famous female face in Egypt.

No Om Kathoum?

Okay, that first pharaoh might be Hatchepsut.  I'll have to ask.

I asked.  It is Hatchepsut.

We also got a free map of the area

It was time for lunch.  The Syrian sweets were just an appetizer.  On to McDonald's.

We were mostly interested in going there for the Happy Meal toys offered from Despicable Me 2.  My boy wanted them and I wanted him to stop asking me about them.  You can buy the McDonald's toys for 7.5 LE and I swear you will NEVER find a better toy deal in Egypt.

We got the one in the Happy Meal and bought three more.  Here they are once we got them back home.

It was an expensive journey to McDonald's---around 73 LE for the food and another 22.5 LE for the toys.  We don't do it all the time.  On average, we eat out once a month.  No, it isn't always American fast food.

We were going to eat downstairs but made the trek upstairs and I'm so glad we did.  Look at this gorgeous view!

Masid Al-Husary is beautiful.  Mashahallah.  The McDonald's restaurant in 6th of October is very well designed (no joke) but nothing beats that masjid.  We celebrated the day together with that view.

Then it was time to go.  We had taken the taxi there but took the bus back.  It's better for me to go by taxi because I can tell the driver to slow down---if I have to...and I usually have to.  The bus driver we had yesterday went insanely fast for about 10 minutes.  I said my prayers.

Once the traffic made him slow down again, I calmed down.  I looked out the window.  I saw someone throw garbage out a car window.  It caught my attention since I'm American and littering is akin to killing your countryside.  I tried to see who would do such a thing.  It was a little car crammed with elderly Egyptians all eating dates together.  It's date season here now.  They were talking, eating, and throwing out the pits.  I smiled.  I loved them.

There are times I really love Egypt and I mean REALLY.  I didn't on Friday.  I did on Saturday.  It's like any relationship; the trick is to keep buoyant and keep exploring new ways to stay in love.


My Own Fairytale said...

The cookies look yummie :-)


Marie Harmony said...

Those sweet just look delicious.
It's good you had time to celebrate. You're right the day does not matter, only the meaning is important.

I imagine it was much better staying away from the dentist for some time. At least you found a good one, it must be a tricky process.

As for your conclusion I like it. There are always better days than others. May you find ways to make this love shines for a long time Yosra.

Love from Mister Pop and I.