Monday, July 24, 2006

My Khan Finds

Thought I'd show you what I brought home from the Khan the other day. This is the goddess Bastet (go here to see a previous Bastet post) this time portrayed with a human body and a cat's head. I suspect that tiny figure is Hathor (goddess of joy and motherhood) . Of course every time I think of Hathor I go into the whole Stargate SG-1 geek mode...

And these are my new canopic jars made out of "marmar" aka alabaster. This must be what alabaster looks like before it's smoothed out. I was really excited about these and of course the first thing I did was drop the Isis jar on it's head right after my husband said "be careful with these ones." The jar didn't shatter, but definitely looks older now. Canopic jars are what the ancient Egyptians stored the mummy's internal organs in for reuse in the afterlife. (If you've seen the Brendan Fraser "The Mummy", canopic jars played a big part in it.)

And here are the jars in place in my cabinet - nice and eclectic the way I like it. This time I'm storing my jars where the cats can't get at them (tho it appears I'm as big of a hazard as they are). The first year we were here, I had some jars displayed on the sideboard, but the cats managed to knock the jackal-headed one down twice, so it's missing its nose and an ear. I'm hoping that I can just buy a replacement lid, and not the whole jar. Forget about rebuying a whole set.

Now to answer some questions from the previous post. I've never seen men's undergarments for sale here (I'm sure they are for sale, I just haven't been in the right place for it). Nor plain old cotton undies of any variety. And I like to buy my underwear hermtically sealed, so I can pretend no one has ever touched it. I once watched a seller here rummaging his hands through the panties, holding up a handful and calling out to customers. Euw.

It is completely a woman's choice whether or not to veil here (or her father/husband's choice but let's not go there) and isn't mandatory like it is elsewhere.

The most common thing is a head scarf, called a hijjab. You'll often see women wearing the hijjab along with high-necked, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts with jeans underneath, flip-flops (very common here since shoes must be taken off in mosques) and gloves. Throughout the year - it looks darn hot. The older women usually wear some kind of black galabiya and hijjab etc that only leaves their face showing. Far more Egyptian women wear the hijjab than don't.

There are also women completely covered in the whole Saudi-style abaya who only have their eyes showing. That apparently used to be quite rare here. A friend and I once dined in a restaurant overlooking the Nile. There was a woman right in front of me wearing the low jeans with the thong riding high and a couple of tables away a woman completely covered. Interesting study in contrasts.

I also had an email asking about anti-Americanism and if it's been a problem esp now. I have personally not had any negative reaction to my being an American. Keep in mind, I'm smart about where I go and stay away from areas that are likely to have protests. And I'm usually either in a tourist area or buying in a market place that caters to expats. I haven't heard about any protests about the current situation, could be because the universities are having their summer breaks.

I've had several cabbies tell me how much they love America. "America good, Egypt bad."

Having said that, when we were down at the Khan someone yelled at us, "Hey Yankee." We just kept going and he called out after us "You are Yankee, I can tell by how you smell." Now that's not the politest thing anyone has ever called out to me. The friend I was with just thought he was trying to get our attention, not trying to be rude. The whole Khan experience is about getting yelled at by hawkers trying to get you into their shop. It's the thing I hate the most.

Here's a question for you. You dial a number and whoever answers speaks a foreign language. Uh oh, that's not who I wanted, must have mis-dialed. Try it again. D'oh, same foreigner. How many times do you then try that number? An Egyptian will call over and over and over and over again. I can't be wrong - surely whoever answered the phone must be wrong. He's called my cell phone over ten times in the last two days, but surely the next time will be the charm.

Now that I have all that off my chest... Did a bunch of sewing yesterday and taking photos for the challenge quilt instructions. I'm working on it, guys. I'm thinking of writing it as a mystery, although there will be a separate page to go to see the quilt. How does that sound? I personally cannot stand mysteries, but I know loads of folks who love them.

I've started playing around with my website as well. Wow, that google page creator is wonderful. It's actually easier to use than Blogger, because you can control where you want the photo to go and what size you want it. Wish they'd make that available for the blogs.

This post is long enough. See ya later.


Lily said...

Wow Tonya that Khan sounds like a scary place to be. I am such a wuss when it comes to places like that. But I guess it's worth it when you can get your hands on such treasures :)

Hanne said...

Thanks for showing your lovely collectibles :-) I have been thinking about you during these stressful days of war in your area. It is good to hear that Egypt is a relatively calm place. It was fun to read about the hijab and niqab differences. We see a lot of both around here and it is an ongoing discussion about niqab in schools. It is not easy to communicate with a pair of eyes only if you are a teacher.

Karen said...

Hi, Tonya, Bastet and the Jar Boys are just beautiful. Do you have collections from other countries, too? I'm going to miss seeing the photos of Egypt, particularly the antiquities, after you've left.

Tazzie said...

Hi there Tonya, I love the way you give us such a wonderful insight into your life there. It's somewhere I'm not likely to get to anywhere near soon, so I love hearing about your experiences. I'm really looking forward to being able to read about your experiences in France too! Parlez vous Francais?? :-)
The way you're working on the challenge sounds wonderful, it will be great to see it and break free!
*huge hugs*

EileenKNY said...

Thanks for the insights, Tonya. North Africa has always held a fascination for me. It's good to hear that where you are is pretty quiet, and that the people are mostly tolerant of others. Those jars will bring good memories for you in France.

If we're allowed to vote, I'd rather not have a mystery. But if that's what you decide to do, then so be it.

Judy said...

Tazzie asked my question?? Do you speak French? Are you learning, or would that jinx the move too much? I don't think it's that much of a necessity anymore over in Paris, but they do appreciate the effort...or so my college French teacher said of her 4 years living there. By the way...after 2 years of college French... I can still say my name, how old I am, and "Where can I get a ticket for the train"! I think I did a brain dump the minute class was over!:0)

Glad you are getting the things you wanted before leaving.

Kathie said...

The canopic jars are very cool, but I just LOVE those phrenology heads. Boy, I would love one of those. Brings back memories of Bugs Bunny cartoons: "What? No bumps on the head? We make some!!"

McIrish Annie said...

thanks for sharing your adventures in egypt. From where we are all sitting, it seems very exciting and glamorous. The jars are fabulous..

not much of a mystery fan.I am still working on a quilt I call "Mystery Quilt from Hell". But that said, I can't wait for your challenge.

quiltpixie said...

so now you have two sets of canopic jars... anyone in mind to use them??? :-)

Laura said...

Love your new finds! And I loved your post. It is so neat to hear how other people live. Really interesting. Now that you are used to living in Egypt I bet France will be the complete opposite.

Mrs. Moody said...

I have four of those figures in a box to be sold at a garage sale. They are like the white foursome you have that are round bodied. The only difference is that they are black. I would be more than happy to send them to you for you to have. I don't need them and I would like someone to have them who would enjoy them.

Susan said...

Hi, Tonya, love those jars and the Hathor jar. I'm with you on SG-1. =) I'm not crazy about mysteries because when I'm finished the fabrics are never where I would have put them if I'd had a clue what it would look like when finished. So the other page would be good.

Even if you know html, blogger can be a pain. I enjoy hearing about your adventures in Egypt. France will be a bit different, but there's some anti-American sentiment there, these days, and a lot of Muslims, too, so maybe not as different as it once was! Is your husband in the diplomatic service?

Mary said...

Looking forward to the challenge quilt. I'm not a fan of mystery quilts either - haven't ever done one but it'll be nice to have the option to do the quilt as a mystery or not.

Have you tried choosing *none* under layout for photo placement in Blogger - I found that when I use this choice for the layout I can then move the photo where I want it in my post.

It won't wrap text around the photo in this choice (I don't think) but I use it when I want to place a photo somewhere other than the begining of my post.

Dawn said...

I'm always in love with your ecleptic nic naks! And love hearing about life over there! I think I"ll enjoy hearing about it more than living there! Although you have me almost convinced I would love to go shopping there for a few days just to pick up some treasures! Wish I wasn't so busy these days, I want to get back to my letters! Oh and I need to send you an email about my "show and tell" this weekend - it was a HUGE hit!