Muhammad's Birthday Celebrations.

Well then! I've often wondered why the Muslims celebrate the birthday of their leader, when they don't celebrate their own? One of our good (Muslim) friends was born on the day we got married, and now when it's our anniversary, he'll ask, "So how old am I today?"

It starts a week before the actual date, with the selling of those great big fancy dollies and sugar statues, and the lovely Turkish Delight which I just couldn't pass-by this year, it was lovely! I bought some from the hunch-back who has the shop on the corner of the Egyptian souk 15LE per kilo, I got a quarter (ruba kilo), plus he'd given me a large piece to try,  for 5LE, which I was very happy with, he's always been fair with me, and I like him a lot. Every year, I mean to ask someone what the sugar statues represent, and every year (this year being the same as usual) I forget! Neither can I fathom what the dollies are for! They come in all sorts of sizes and designs, some I noticed today (for the first time) with wool for hair! Rather different from the others, I've got to say.

One day, I might get around to telling you about my orange rug-wool wig, in which I used to perform (accompanying myself on the ukulele) when I could sing falsetto!!!! That's got your attention, hasn't it?

Never mind all that! I don't know if the two things are related in any way, but on this particular birthday of Muhammad; the Amoun men went back to work! (The Amoun men are the town's street sweepers, so called because the cleaning contractor was once the Amoun Company. And you know how we don't like to change the names of things in Egypt for at least a generation, or two.) I think I reported the other day about the rubbish in the streets, well today it's all been swept up! Here is how we do it Egyptian style:

Although the Amoun men have a roll along cart; they don't fill it with dust or rubbish.The dust is left at the roadside. In my innocence, I used to think that someone else would come along and take it away. But now I know that they don't, it just stays there until the wind, or peoples' feet, move it on! It makes walking a hazardous task, as unaware sandled feet can become rather dirty very easily through walking straight into a pile of dust! As you can see from the bottom right picture; the footpaths aren't really a practical proposition as far as walking on them is concerned. Then the Amoun man's pile of dust drives the pedestrian further into the traffic! It's not very good, I can tell you.

I actually took a load of rubbish photo's to go along with the dust photo's, but they were like their subjects: rubbish!!! I salvaged a couple, which I just know that you're dying to see:

As you can see from this first one, nothing is wasted here. The kind Amoun man has not only swept the rubbish into a nice tidy pile, he's also created a public amenity: a cycle park! What better place to park your bike? I'll bet the owners of those other two were dead upset, just because they didn't get there first!

This last one is typical of the skips (dumpsters, for you Americans) which are strategically placed here and there for the collection of household rubbish. 

So, apart from being kept awake nearly all of last night, and a good bit of the night before, by the wonderfully cheery nocturnal celebrations coming at us from about five different directions through very efficient loudspeakers, the rubbish collectors return to work was the most exciting event of this particular Moulid, for us!

But, happy birthday Muhammad, anyway! 

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