I should give you a weather update since that is a popular question from our friends back in Minnesota. When we arrived on January 9th, daytime highs were in the mid 60s and lows mid 50s. We have recently experienced a cold wave with the temperature falling to 45 one recent night and the high reaching only 58 degrees on a couple of days.
Along with the cold (expected to pass in a couple of days) we had rain a couple of days ago. Rain, in our section of the city, means muddy streets.
We were headed over to a friend's home a just after that rain had passed. Here Linda is preparing to enter the courtyard surrounding that home and you can see the mud.
We were about to visit the suburbs so I thought a description of homestyles might be in order. This friend lives in a "detached" villa. There are not many of these within the city, as most have been cleared away in favor of high-rise structures. These high-rise buildings containing flats such as ours are interspersed with an occasional villa remaining from many years ago.
On this day, we were headed for the suburb of New Giza about fifteen or twenty miles outside of central Cairo. This is one of the "satellite cities" much despised by the world's urban planners and much loved by the young, upwardly mobile families.
You could probably mistake New Giza for a suburb of Phoneix.
I have always had a hidden desire to stop and visit each home to find out the occupations of the owners. There are no city directories here. But on the way, we passed the local offices of KPMG and Microsoft. I imagine that the usual assortment of banking, insurance and manufacturing executives account for a large part of the ownership.
The major difference from a typical American "villa" is the fence. You might notice the fence surrounding both the city home on the muddy street and the suburban home. Over the years, when we have hosted international guests, one of their frequent observations has been that our homes seldom have fences separating the properties.
We prefer the city lifestyle here which offers shops of all sorts in the immediate neighborhood and easy access to the many city taxis.