Extremes in Egypt?

Well, we awoke to terrible and tragic news this morning; another aeroplane falling out of the sky! EgyptAir's flight MS804 just disappeared from the radar, or so it seems. No doubt it will be decided that it was yet another terrorist atrocity, and another million or so prospective visitors to Egypt will change their plans. It's just awful!

Freda told me of the news as soon as I was awake, and when I went down to take a glass of tea to our elderly neighbour, Mr Mohamed (You remember? the English speaking guide, whose licence was number 9 in all of Egypt?) at 8 o'clock, he already knew about it and was calling the terrorists upside down! Everyone here is appalled at this latest attack (if, indeed, it proves to be the work of terrorists) and have been following the regular TV news reports about it.

In case you're wondering why I was taking tea to Mr Mohamed, it's because he is old and infirm and his family are struggling to take proper care of him. I don't do a great lot, only take him some tea and get a little falafel for him. Other than that Freda is doing some washing and I go and sit with him for a bit, he just needs a bit of company and a little kindness. Dr Jacoub's assistant, Girges, is also doing his best to help. Here's a snap I took of them both later on this morning, when Girges had helped him to sit outside where he could see the normal life of the street going on, instead of the four walls of his room.

The one on the left is Mr Edward, the assistant of Dr Abd El Mallach, the surgeon from our 1st floor. I've called these two all the names under the sun, at times (mostly Igor, as in Dr Frankenstein's assistant) but they're OK really, Girges has been a great help to Mr Mohamed.

Mohamed is hoping to feel well enough to get out into the main street tomorrow evening. It's the time of year for the Moulid, and the stick-dancing started tonight! Mohamed is keen to watch the proceedings, as I'm sure he thinks it will be his last opportunity, maybe he's right as he is 86, and well past the life expectancy of Egyptian males in general!

Obviously, I had to have a gander (Colloquialism; gander = look.) at the dancing before I toddled off to bed. (More properly, before I did this Blog, before toddling off to bed!)

Here are a couple of short videos to whet your appetite, the first is to give you an idea of the havoc caused by re-routing the traffic around the Mosque:

video
And the second is a very short introduction to Upper Egyptian stick-dancing/fighting for the uninitiated amongst you. We have it every year here in our little community, it has been organised by the forebears of one of our neighbours since time immemorial, and they are extremely proud to uphold the tradition. Enjoy:

video
I couldn't help but notice all the smiling faces. For the short few days which the Moulid lasts, the local people forget their collective worries as they fall back on the certainties of their religious and cultural heritage, even the horrific news of the fate of Flight MS804 couldn't impinge on their momentary joy.

Opposite extremes of emotion on the same day! God bless them all.

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