Saturday, April 21, 2007

Khamaseen Aftermath

Well, the Khamaseen came and went, leaving it's sandy residue all over the place. One thing that helps keep that sand out of the house are shutters, which we made sure were either re-installed where possible (the doors) or in proper working condition (the windows).

The window shutters work with a pulley, which has its idiosyncrasies. R, our ex-maid broke one of the window shutter straps, even though I showed her how to gingerly operate them. That just led to another visit from the "contractors" who tore apart the top wooden valance and then had to re-visit to re-paint. They often make more of a mess - dirty fingerprints on the walls; dirt tracked in to the house (even when they remove their shoes;) plaster all over the floor; paint spills on everything; a nasty taste in the mouth and a stinky paint stench in the house afterwards. Thank goodness the doors are easier to operate. In any case, they help keep out sand, dust, and the sun when it gets hot. In addition, we have screens, so almost a double protector, except that the sand here is miniscule and seems to seep through any and every opening. Of course, it makes you feel like you're living in a pod, but you see these shutters all over the area and in the Mediterranean in general, as well. Certainly not the decorative sort seen throughout the States.

How close are we to the street? A view from the living room window.

This porch (left) is off our bedroom. We put two bamboo blinds out there, that we were planning to install for more privacy. Everyone walking down the street could (if they really wanted to) see into our bedroom. (We've been waiting for the arrival of our curtains, which just came, for brighter bedrooms with the same amount of privacy.) We’ve already installed bamboo shades on the front / grilling porch (right). They not only block out prying eyes, but the sun too. They make the porch cooler, in several ways. We found them at the Spinney's here, which is not at all like a Spinney's in the UAE, but more like a Carrefore or Co-op.

The bedroom porch has been somewhat neglected, but was never that dirty. The Khamaseen dropped piles of sand all over the place, and this is the result. It may not look that bad, of course you're not the one who has to clean it up either. This is a major cleaning project now (and with no maid, it's all mine.) It’s amazing how much crap gets thrown around during one of these sandstorms. This porch has no drain, so it can't be hosed down, but my new vacuum has a blower, so I'll just try blowing it all overboard into the yard (or just back onto myself, depending on how deft I am.)

Here’s what a porch looks like before a Khamaseen and after it’s been pretty much cleaned up.

The scene from the front porch, into the yard. In addition to shutters in some rooms, we are also required to be caged in for our own protection. We did get to pick out our own design, which is nice and I actually don’t mind it as much as I thought I would. Maybe this is what a bird sees when he looks out of his little cage. Somewhere out on the right, the gardener planted all the seed I brought back from the U.S. They're covered with clover, but I await their arrival. We've seen a few tiny growths (non- cloverlike) popping their heads out of the soil, so the anticipation is growing. The street beyond the Palm tree is where the horny toads live in the sewer wells. And that corner of our apartment is where the porch off the master bedroom sits - and yes, when it's nice out, we close the shutters and leave the screened windows open for some wonderful sand laden fresh air and the sounds of horny toads mating. We're acclimating - ribbit.


  1. It looks like you have a lovely place. What I'd give for a piece of grass. We had those bars on our villa in Al Ain. Couldn't stand them. We decided to take them down as in South Africa they are a necessity, but here we felt they were not necessary. Over here, someone may break in to steal something, but they're not going to kill you for it. Is the crime that bad in Egypt?

  2. Elle:

    Not sure how bad the crime is, but the co. insists on it & I'm okay with it, particularly since we are right off the street. We don't have the nice cement walls here that seem to surround villas in the UAE either. Grass - yeah, something to wish for in the UAE. We had a patio in Abu Dhabi with a plant border, but never saw any grass, except on the park lawns - even then, it was wanting. Also, the grass on the one side was just put down before we moved in, and is quite lumpy - not so great.