It has been a month since we left home and it has been one adventure after another … some big and some small. Let me begin with the ‘small one’.
Although I gave a pretty accurate written description about driving in Egypt in a previous blog, I thought that I would take my little Pentax camera and try to get some ‘visual documentation’. I knew that this would be a challenge with our car weaving through busy traffic at varying and unpredictable speeds. To make matters worse, we were experiencing a mild form of the sand storms that have plagued Lebanon and Syria in the recent week. Sand and cameras don’t do well together. This was a photographer’s challenge but Mr. Bob (that’s what they call me at the school) was willing to take it on.
As it turned out, I had a little help in a very unexpected way. Eslam, my regular driver was away in Sharm El Sheikh because he was getting married. He trained a replacement driver who didn’t show up at 6:30 in the morning as planned. I am not sure if he is still employed or not but, with a few apologies, I was assigned yet another driver who seemed pretty good … for one day. Yesterday he showed up with a severely pushed in front grill and hood with steam hissing out into the morning air. He doesn’t speak much English but I think I heard something about hitting a dog. It must have been a verrry big dog! Anyway, he was well prepared because he had a two litre water bottle and managed to find another one on the side of the road along with some tap water. We were hardly out of Maadi in the morning traffic when the temperature gauge reached it’s maximum so we sputtered our way over the side of the road whereby he got out and somehow filled the boiling radiator with water. Within minutes we were on our way again but the worried look on his face didn’t give me much confidence. Nor should it have because the gauge topped out so we pulled over again but … empty bottles don’t cool radiators. The driver jumped over a couple of barriers, ran to a building and managed to once again fill the bottles and subsequently the radiator. But, guess what? We went for another five minutes and the amount of steam coming from under the hood told us that it was game over. This car wasn’t going anywhere. Of course, while this was happening I made a phone call to the school and made sure that a backup vehicle was on it’s way to pick us up.
This ‘car event’ was a bit of a ‘serendipity’ with respect to the above mentioned photographic challenge. You see, for the past month I had wanted to photograph a little mosque that sits by itself on the side of the highway, the donkeys that pull wooden carts down the side of the road, and the assortment of different types of modified motorcycles, cars, vans, and trucks that flood the road each day. By chance, the car died directly in front of the mosque. While waiting for a replacement vehicle I stood on the side of the busy highway in blowing sand and managed to make my photographs. They are not perfect because of the flow of traffic and light posts but they do tell the story.
The ‘big’ adventure story is only in the early stages of development but there will be much written about it in the future. When I first took on this role as ‘superintendent’ I (as well as others) kind of joked about being superintendent of only one school. This past week BCCIS has taken over the operation of the El Gouna International School that is located in the resort town of El Gouna on the Red Sea. In a couple of weeks Cynthia and I will be spending time (poor us) in El Gouna as my role is to get to know how the school operates and help with growth and improvement. As with my work at BCCIS, I will find this work highly exciting and rewarding and I am looking forward to the challenge. The pictures below tell part of the story of what our time in El Gouna might look like.
Oh, did I mention the new, ultra modern BCCIS Offshore School that is to open in September 2017 in Dubai? Will Mr. Bob ever ‘re-retire’?