Monday, April 24, 2006


I am travelling at the moment. I was working over Easter in Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand. Southern Women, Southern Quilts, was a symposium of quilters which was one of the best-run I have attended.

I arrived very weary. I left home in Cairo at lunch time on Tuesday, and was collected at Dunedin airport at about four thirty in the afternoon on Thursday. Even allowing for a ten hour time difference it was a very long trip.

The tutors stayed in beautiful accomodation and I was shown into a very elegant room. I spent my first ten minutes searching for bottled water. I was unable to believe that they would not supply it - how on earth was I supposed to brush my teeth? Even worse - it was now well after six on a Thursday night just before Easter, and I knew that all the shops in town would be closed until at least Saturday morning. How was I supposed to ge water without a way to travel. I was so weary I was hardly thinking straight.

Then it dawned on me. In New Zealand you can use tap water!!

It is funny the things that you carry with you after a posting in the third world. I kept looking the wrong way at the edges of roads. I kept trying to get into cars on the wrong side. A couple of times I caught myself starting the 'wait a minute' handsignal - which would possibly have been misinterpreted in New Zealand as something rude.

I am back in Australia now and can't stop worrying about the organisation for our Anzac Day breakfast for up to ninety Australians in Cairo. My cook is well briefed, and has probably been working on it for the last two days. We have waiters organised. I keep wondering if Bob remembered to give him the money to buy the food. We have planned bacon and eggs and sausages and grilled tomatoes. There will be some Moslems and for them we have organised halal sausages and will cook them inside, not on the pork-tainted barbecue. There will be damper and fruit salad, and anzacs to eat with rum-spiked coffee to keep out Cairo's early-morning cold when people come in from the dawn service.

It feels odd that this time Bob will be there without me. Last year I was there and Bob was up in Tobruk in Libya with the Minister for Defence for Anzac Day. The service in Cairo was haunting, and I can still feel the odd sense of ranks of people standing behind me - when behind me was a long cemetery, grassed and beautiful in the still cold morning, with nothing behind me but hundreds of white Commonwealth grave stones.

It has been delightful to see family in Canberra, and on Friday I travel to Coffs Harbour to teach at Be Creative by the Sea. Then I will be back in Egypt on the 11th May.


Blogger Helen from Canberra said...

Hi Jenny,

It is so good to hear from you. The Anzac breakfast in Cairo sounds wonderful. Have a lovely time in Coffs Harbour.

Cheers Helen

5:04 pm  
Blogger Nicole and Phil said...

Hi Jenny,
I attended my first expat Anzac Service in Berlin today. The Commonwealth gravemarkers are quite an astounding site!
I hope the Egyptian Service went well...although I wondered if it was interrupted due the happenings in Dahab? Thinking of Bob, and hoping all is OK..
Sounds like your travelling and quilt seminars are great. Wish you could come to Berlin! :)

11:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


As always it is good to catch up with all your news -- big hugs to those of the family who know us. K loved to see the photo of Bob on Elliott's blog and I enjoyed seeing Sam too!

So, if you managed a trip to Berlin, perhaps England too? It would be wonderful to see you again

Love, Tena

4:35 pm  
Blogger Deb H said...

I'll look forward to your return. Reading your posts, is like a good book. Such a different world than where I live. Thank you for new perspectives.

4:46 am  
Blogger Alison Schwabe said...

I smiled at the various lttle things you found you were doing or missing in your sudden transposition from third to first world, Jenny - yo mismo, perro aqui es la aqua excellente, muy bien.

10:20 pm  

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