Friday, February 22, 2013

Morsi's Newest Target - Space!

Only in Egypt can ingenuity like this see the light of day. Frustrated with the increasingly Islamist rule of Mohammed Morsi, Egyptians have decided to pursue a safer avenue to dispose of their new president.

Sending him into Space.

Yes, you read that correctly. Rather than face potential prosecution, jail time, or random disappearances, an initiative launched by the April 6th Youth Movement which is rapidly gaining speed thanks to the wonders of social media, is to send Morsi into space.

Morsi has rapidly moved up the voting ladder, and as of the time of publishing this blog, ranks first with a growing number of votes currently sitting at 16,354.

The "Space Campaign" is sponsored by the Axe Apollo Space Academy, which states it is seeking "A few brave civilians for the opportunity of a lifetime - a trip to space. And yes, we mean actual space."

The reason given for Morsi's attempt to enter space [as seen in photo], is how "successfully he has done his job, and how he must now rule the moon and after that Mars for the coming 56734 years."

You've got my vote Morsi. 

I love this, it just smacks of Egyptian irony, humor, and the lengths that people will go to "get rid" of their president. Do you think Morsi has gotten the hint yet?

If you want to cast your vote to let Mr. Morsi win this great honour (I'm trying to say that with a straight face) then please click here for additional information. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Taste of Egypt: Om Ali

Om Ali is a favorite desert of Egyptians and ex-pats alike. The lightly toasted top and the creamy textures combine to make a desert that puts rice pudding to shame. Make sure you're wearing your fat pants before you try and polish off a bowl of this Egyptian Desert! 


  • 5 cups milk – la-ban
  • 2 tbsp butter – zeb-da
  • Sugar, according to taste – su-kar
  • 1/4 cup almonds – loz
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut – bon-do
  • 1/2 cup raisins – zi-beeb
  • 5 sheets filo pastry – goo-lesh
  • 3 tbsp double cream – doo-ble kreem



  • Heat the oven on medium high, 175C. Place the filo pastry on a baking sheet and bake until golden and crispy.
  • Place the hazelnuts and almonds on a small baking sheet and grill in the oven for four minutes. Let the nuts cool off, peel or blanch them and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a non-stick, deep pan heat the milk and sugar until it boils and the sugar is dissolved. Use enough sugar so the milk tastes a little sweeter than what you like.
  • Break the filo pastry with your hands into medium size pieces and put in a large casserole. Add the hazelnuts, almonds and raisins and cover with the milk to fill 2/3 of the casserole.
  • Heat the oven to medium-high heat, 200C. Place the casserole in the oven for 15 minutes until the filo pastry starts to absorb the milk and its volume increases.
  • Remove from the oven and spread the butter and cream on the top. Place the casserole back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes more. If top has not turned golden brown yet, grill for two minutes. 
(You can also use mille feuille pastry or special pastry for Om Ali from any bakery instead of using filo pastry.)

Serve hot! Bil Hana Wa Shiva! 

A Taste of Egypt: Chicken Shawarma

This recipe is a must-have for anyone craving a little taste of Egypt in their own home. I love the idea of also including the names in Arabic for those who want to go out and venture into the local supermarkets, which will help you know exactly what it is you need to ask for! 

  • 3 kg chicken breasts – so-door fi-rakh
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced – ta-ma-tam
  • 1 large onion, diced – ba-sal
  • 1 large onion, sliced – ba-sal
  • 2 medium green peppers, diced – fil-fil akh-dar
  • 1 red chili pepper, chopped fine – fil-fil ah-mar
  • 1 tbsp chicken spices – bo-ha-rat fi-rakh
  • 4tbsp lemon juice – a-seer la-moon-a
  • 1 tbsp corn oil – zeit dor-a
  • A few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped – ba’-doo-nis
  • Salt and pepper – malh and fil-fil

  • Remove all fat from the chicken breasts, wash thoroughly and cut into bite size strips. Marinate the chicken with the chopped onion, chicken spices, chili pepper, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Cut onion slices into halves and rub them gently to get onion strips.
  • Brush a non stick skillet with the oil and stir-fry the chicken for 8-10 minutes over high heat.
  • Add the onion strips and diced pepper and stir for an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and parsley and stir for another minute. Take off the heat and serve immediately.

(This recipe works wonders on skewers, throw some green peppers or anything on the skewer and voila! Alternatively, you can make this Easy Tortilla Wrap Recipe if you're craving a Shawarma sandwich) 

Bil Hana Wa Shiva! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Egypt Cabinet raises custom tariffs on some luxury goods

From al-Ahram, the advantages of Egypt being a cheap holiday destination may not hold true for much longer! This will only lead to further class segregation. Ech. I will keep the blog updated as I receive more information on this.

Egyptian Cabinet led by Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has 
approved Wednesday a draft law to increase custom tariffs 
on "unnecessary goods."

The draft, proposed by the presidency, includes items such as boats, watches and sunglasses, as well as certain food items such as shrimps and nuts.

A detailed list of the new tariffs is yet to be provided by the Cabinet.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Where to Go: Dog Beaches

Considering that we live in a coastal resort, it's amazingly difficult to actually find a beach where you can take your dog. Fortunately here is a list of a few places that will allow you to bring your dog to the beach so your furry friend can enjoy some beach time. Some of these locations may require you to pay 20 LE to get on, others if you speak to the bowab or security guy will usually be happy to let you use them.

  • In front of Granada Restaurant on the Kornish Road. Many dog-owners will take their dogs here, some are often off the lead and not well behaved but it is a very dog friendly beach. However take care that your dog doesn't eat anything, there have been reports of poison in the area before. 
  • Past the Sunrise Hotel, where the new Mahmya area is under construction. To the side is an open beach that the security guards will allow you access to. Nice area, if your dog is a swimmer it's also a decent swimming location
  • Past El-Gouna if you have a car, there is a marina area with miles of open beach and nothing around. You'll have to climb over one of the gas pipes, but it's a great area to take a dog that loves to run and stretch its legs. 
  • Before El Gouna, there is a large free beach, just sometimes the Egyptian do barbeque there but at all it´s empty
  •  Near Hilton plaza where the Queen Isis glass boat is.

Have fun with your best friend and enjoy the benefits of living on the coast :) 

Dirty Boobs Cause Diarrhea, Not Dirty Water

I'd firstly like to say that I have no idea how someone is even able to make statements like this in this day and age. Not only that, but for such statements to actually be taken seriously just baffles me. This man has a PhD in biological and agricultural engineering, and used to be the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation. But don't be fooled, it's dirty boobs not dirty water that cause diarrhea in babies who breast feed. 

(Side note: Yes sanitation is a big, big issue particularly in the poorer areas of Egypt, but to completely disregard the impact that drinking dirty water has on an individual and instead blame it on dirty boobs just defies any sort of logic. Any foreigner who has ever visited Cairo will have heard of the "Cairo Curse," or the "Pharaoh's Curse," and many are recommended to bring anti-diarrhea pills with them on holiday. Now unless we're all absentmindedly breastfeeding without knowing it, I'm pretty sure the water is more a culprit than dirty boobs. Wow.)

From al-Arabiya, please read on. (At the link provided you will also find a video with English translation of the PM saying this.)

Cabinet meetings usually discuss the state of economy, wars and general matters of governance. However, Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil recently utilized a meeting to talk about the dangers of “unclean” breasts. 

The PhD holding prime minister who studied water resources, somehow, related the lack of clean water to the lack of clean breasts in one speech. While meeting with his cabinet members he spoke in an emotional manner as he recounted the struggle of the villagers he witnessed on his trips as a minister.

He narrated his experience as a middle-class Egyptian who traveled to the rural areas of the country where he saw the suffering of newborns having to deal with diarrhoea after being breast fed. 

The prime minister claimed that the reason behind the diarrhoea epidemic in rural Egypt is that some female villagers are too ignorant to clean their breasts before feeding their babies.

A couple of females in the cabinet meeting seemed uncomfortable during these remarks. The unpopular prime minister could create a huge controversy in the villages to which he refers, which will add to the unstable situation in Egypt that is currently hosting the Islamic Summit. 

Hisham Qandil was appointed by, the recently elected, President Mursi in July 2012. 

He used to be the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation. The 50 year old Qandil has a PhD in in biological and agricultural engineering with a minor in water resources from the United States.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Egypt's Sexual Harassment Phenomenon

The past few weeks have seen mass demonstrations, protests, and outbursts of violence throughout various cities in Egypt. As people continue to struggle for their democratic rights, as a woman I am left wondering are we really fighting to progress forwards, or is society here regressing backwards at a great rate of knots?

In Tahrir Square, Hardees is known as an infamous local for continued sexual harassment. Many women have fallen victim to the predators in the area, who will leave them stripped, vulnerable, and violated. Reports from a few days ago indicated that one mob attacked a group of women, leaving one woman with stab wounds to her genitalia. Al-Ahram published the following account from a member of the anti-sexual  harassment team during one of their live feeds: “Usually when we find the girls they are topless or their trousers have been removed. In a couple of cases volunteers have had to take off their own clothes to clothe the attacked woman. Establishing trust with the victim is very important - we keep saying our names and who we're working with to reassure them. We're hoping today we won't see these violent attacks.” Ahmed Aggour, 25, Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment volunteer."

I have written blogs previously about the attempts to combat these increasing incidents of sexual harassment in Tahrir, particularly through the group calling themselves the "Tahrir Bodyguards," which has evolved into "Operation anti-sexual harassment and assault." Pictured below are a group of volunteers who went into the midst of things in Tahrir to try and combat the sexual harassment.

Courtesy of Op-Anti Sexual Harassment's FB page

Firstly, you'd think as a woman you would have the sense to stay away from Tahrir. That's my immediate go-to thought process. But then when I really consider it, as this is a country fighting for their freedom why should women *not* be able to participate in that fight? Why should women be frightened away from the struggle towards democracy because of the actions of a group of predators? Why is it that women are being subjugated to this gross perversion of society, and rather than standing up and fighting back are meant to sit at home trembling for fear of any future incidents?

Here in Hurghada a friend of mine was recently out walking her dog and was attacked by a man wielding a stick. Although it wasn't entirely clear, it appeared that he had been following and watching her through the desert, as well as sticking his hands down his pants while observing. This man has apparently been a repeat offender of attacks in the desert, and has allegedly been spotted with his hands down his pants in the same location on a number of occasions. Again the first reaction here would be to stay away from the desert. But why? Are we as women not entitled to the same protection and freedom as that man in the desert?

After the attack my friend considered reporting it to the police. However, after speaking with her consulate here, she was advised that "unless you want to spend the night in the police station waiting for a judge's order, it's best to let it go." Let it go. An attempted sexual assault on a foreign woman here, and she was told to let it go.

This problem crosses any ethnic or national boundaries, as Egyptian women face the same problem. And the immediate response is always the same. "Don't go into that area." What message is this sending to any potential abusers out there? You can not only get away with attacking a women, but you can plan to wait in the same location and actually prey on them on a daily basis, and know that you will get away Scott free unless someone happens to actually catch you in the act itself. So to avoid that, you'll recruit a group of friends to prey on the women with you as there's a greater protection in numbers and you're less likely to get caught out as an individual.

Where is the logic! Where is the protection for women! Why is it that we are constantly seen as being the lesser sex, the sex incapable of being out there fighting for the rights of future generations, or able to simply enjoy being outdoors without the fear of potential attacks, and at the end of the day being made feel that it is your own fault as a woman for daring to step out of your own front door. This has to stop! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

All New Nightmare Bear

Searching for that elusive teddy bear to keep your child up at night and scare them off teddy's for the rest of their life? Search no further! Now with the all new Nightmare Bear, your child can stave off sleep indefinitely, leaving you with emotionally traumatized children to your hearts content!

[Seriously, who comes up with these things?! That bear scares me!!]