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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Where on Earth Are the Sawyers?

I've been asked a couple of times recently why our travel blog seems stuck on April.  It has been almost four months since I posted anything so I had better do an update.

First, let's cover Egypt.  Several people were surprised to hear that we were in Cairo again this past winter, with all "that's going on over there."  When I follow up to try and find out "what's going on there," I don't get much clarification.  Whatever it is, I know it's not like Chicago!  Consider these headlines:
and yet I know lots of people who wouldn't hesitate to attend a convention or baseball game in Chicago.

Here's what's been happening lately in Cairo.  There was a presidential election, and General Sisi won 97 percent of the vote.  Sisi swore in his new cabinet and went to work.  Hightlight from this story:
... el-Sissi asked ministers to be in their offices by 7 a.m. each work day.
7 a.m.?  Anyone that knows Egyptian bureacracy will recognize that as real change.

Next, the government raised the price of gasoline and other auto fuels from 40 to 175 percent.  Whoa!  175 percent?  Well, that was the special case of the natural gas powered vehicles.  My last post on gas prices was here.  And don't get too sympathetic toward the residents.  The low grade gasoline (80 octane) only went up from 49 cents per gallon to about 85 cents per gallon.  I am anxious to get back to Egypt this winter and see how that was received.

Electricity is still in short supply.  (The government raised the price of that heavily subsidized commodity too.)  This recent article in the Egypt Independent features a photo of barbering by candlelight.   

If you are interested in an update on more of what has happened in the area since the "Arab Spring," this report from Michael Totten gives an excellent picture.


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