Sunday, May 30, 2010

Out in the cold?

     You know that feeling you get sometimes, that people are talking about you or keeping secrets behind your back? You probably felt it the most when you were between the ages of 11-13 when everyone had secrets that you weren't included in. Most of the time it was just your imagination and there was probably someone else saying the same thing about you, on the other hand, if you're a woman, chances are some of those girls really were being mean. We can't help it and it's a sign that you've started growing up when you realise that you are-unintentionally- hurting people around you and you begin to reign in some of those comments. Not all the time though, sometimes saying those couple of comments to someone who you know will agree with you is all that gets you through the day!!  So imagine the frustration of people who walk into a room to find people speaking a language you can't understand and not feeling welcome to share in a conversation.

     Being considerate and switching languages won't endanger your national identity or language, nor will it make you look like a show off to your fellow countrymen, who knows, you might even enjoy talking to someone with a different point of view. You could even learn something and broaden your views. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fashion and Style.

No, they're not the same thing! As Coco Channel (or Yves Saint Laurent, I'm not sure which) said; ''Fashion fades, only style remains the same.'' Oh how I wish some women here would follow that!

Now picture this if you will; it's your child's sports day at school and the theme is water sports so that means that -if you deign to go and support your child- you will be poolside for most of the day. A hot, Egyptian summer day. Ok, got that image in your head? Good. Now I'd like you to imagine what you would wear for such a day. Jeans and a light weight top? Perhaps a hat and flipflops or trainers. Well not if you're an Egyptian mother of a certain class. If you are then you wouldn't dream of leaving your house without at least one designer item of clothing. Of course, why stop at one when you could be decked out in designer clobber from head to toe? How else will people know that you can afford it?! And don't forget your diamonds dahlings, you are only as impressive as your ring's ability to blind someone at  ten paces. Not to mention your earrings and bracelets. Don't get me wrong, I like diamonds and nice things and sometimes the things I like come with a designer label, but I try to be subtle about it. I've been wearing a silver Tiffany necklace for nearly a year and although I've received compliments on it, no one has noticed that it's Tiffany because it's not emblazoned all over it.

The thing is, and this is only my opinion, the more you bombard people with labels, the less they are likely to actually see them. The more styles you try to include into a single outfit, the more complicated, uncomfortable and ridiculous it looks. Think about where you're going and what you're going to be doing when you get there, wearing high heels to just go grab a coffee with friends or, as one mother did today, to watch your child swim is ridiculous. Comfort doesn't just feel better, it looks better too.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tree Massacre!

I like trees. They give us oxygen-need that for breathing last time I checked, flowers, fruits and what's that other thing? Oh yeah. SHADE! So why, oh why in this hot and sunny country do people insist on cutting trees into ridiculous shapes or, as happened recently where I live, practically hack them to death and leaving them with stumps for branches and no leaves at all?!
I can understand the need to trim, trim mind you, branches that dangerously overhang the street or if the tree is diseased. But other than that, there really is no excuse, and yet all around Cairo, you see round trees, square trees and at one point on the airport road, you could even glimpse the elusive lesser-spotted pyramid tree!
If the tree wasn't diseased before, chances are it is now. Birds live in trees. Bugs can make trees sick. Birds eat bugs. Tree is healthy!
Birds can't live in round trees. Bugs can. Birds can't eat bugs. Bugs make tree sick. Tree dies. The moral of the story? Leave the trees alone! We need shade, temperatures in the summer often reach the high 30s C and being able to walk in the street or wait for a taxi under a tree in a bit of shade would make life much more pleasant. Is that too much to ask?