Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Lighthouse of Alexandria

Just a picture I found on the internet of what was a perception of what the "Pharos of Alexandria" would have looked like.

Most people are aware and know of the Pyramids of Egypt which are one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World", but not many people know that Egypt once contained one of the other "Seven Wonders" as well. The Lighthouse, known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was built on the small offshore island Pharos. It is said that the light from this lighthouse could be seen as far as 35 miles offshore. In ancient times, the lighthouse was used to guide sailors into the tricky harbor to what once was one of the world's centers of civilization.

The idea to build this lighthouse can be credited to Ptolemy I, who was the ruler of Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great. Construction was ordered to begin in the year 290 B.C. It was such a huge project though, that it was not finished during his lifetime. The lighthouse was completed after his death by his son Ptolemy II.

The "Pharos" consisted of 3 parts built on top of each other. The bottom part was square and was appoximately 183 feet high. The second part was octagonal in shape and was around 90 feet high. And the third and final part was a 24-foot-high cylinder. If you include the base, the lighthouse was a total height of 384 feet. This would easily be compared to a modern-day 40-story building. This is huge in comparison to lighthouses today. From what I could find on the internet, the tallest modern-day lighthouse is slightly under 200 feet.

The Lighthouse stood for centuries, first and foremost as a beacon to travelers and next as a tribute to the greatness of this ancient civilization. Earthquakes eventually brought down the famed structure, however. The first one, in 1303, shook up the entire area; the second one, 20 years later, did significant structural damage. By this time, also, the Lighthouse had fallen into disrepair because the Arab conqueror of Egypt didn't keep it up. Although the Lighthouse soldiered on, it was done in entirely by Sultan Qaitbay in 1480. The sultan used the stone and marble that had once made up the Lighthouse to build a fort on the very spot where the Lighthouse once stood.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Window with a Different View

When I look out the window here in Missouri, this is the view.

This is a typical view out of a window in Cairo, Egypt. In fact, this was a view out the window of one of our past apartments.

One thing I miss so much when we are in Egypt is all of the green grass and trees. In Egypt, almost everything is a beige/tan color. There is so much sand, and the buildings are made of concrete, and the majority of them are a beige/tan color. Coming from the Ozarks I was so used to lots and lots of green grass and trees. After being in Egypt for a long time, and then flying into the Ozarks area, it is almost a shock to the system to see the difference in the color of the landscape. For the first couple of weeks I can barely stop looking at all of the greenery that surrounds us here. Now, don't get me wrong, there are trees and greenery in Egypt, especially in the Nile Delta, the land on both sides of the Nile. Also, in Cairo, there are beautiful park areas that are kept really nice. These usually have quite a bit of green trees and grass. So, if I ever have the desire to walk in the grass barefoot, I can if I want to.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

We Pushed the 2nd One out of the Nest

This is D. when he was little. Isn't he just the cutest thing?

This is D. with his younger brother L. and his older sister K. (He's the one in the middle.)

In America, we have this saying: After all of the children have left the home you have an "empty nest". Well, today, our 2nd child "left the nest". We drove our 2nd child, who happens to be our 1st son, to a military academy he will be attending this Fall, if all goes as planned. For the next month he will be attending a Leadership Training Camp with the military. This "camp" is similar to normal boot-camp, but it also teaches leadership skills and gives each one participating, leadership opportunities.

As a mother, I had mixed feeling about this. I was (and still am) scared, nervous, and sad to see him go. But on the other hand, I'm also very excited for him. It is his time. It's his chance, and it's his choice. He's off and just beginning what promises to be a very exciting future, and I am very proud of him. There is a lot of work ahead of him, and it's not going to be easy.

My advice to him: Always remember to keep God first, and as I Corinthians 10:31 says "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Special Delivery

One thing I really miss about Egypt, is that almost anything can be delivered to your home. From fast-food to medicine, all you have to do is call, and it is on its way. Delivery is available at all restaruants, pharmacies, and most grocery stores.
The one we use most often is McDonalds delivery. As you can see from the picture above, most places use motorcycles to deliver. This is because the traffic is often so bad (as seen above also) it might take hours for your delivery to arrive if cars were used. On a motorcycle though, a person can just zip through and between cars, and if there isn't enough room between cars, they use the sidewalk.

As stated before, one of the reasons delivery is used for almost everything is because of the traffic. If delivery was not available, it would just be a hassle to get out in the traffic for whatever it is you need. Another reason people do not like to get out is because parking spots are very hard to come by. If you have a good parking spot, why get out and take a chance losing it. And one of the last reasons for delivery is because not everyone can afford a car. Delivery makes it easy for these people to enjoy the convenience of fast food or other items they may want or need as well.

I do have to say though, that having delivery of these things often makes it much more tempting. Sitting here in the States, if I get hungry, I'm much more likely to just go to the refrigerator and grab something already on hand, which is probably better for me and for my pocket-book. With that all said, I still miss it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Under Construction

As you can see, my blog is undergoing a few changes. I am currently in the U.S. I have been wanting to blog, but it is really hard to blog on what is happening in Egypt while here. I have changed the backgroud and even the title to make it more presentable. Also, I feel the title is appropriate whether I am in Egypt or the U.S. for a couple of reasons. First of all, I am truly a foreigner when I am in Egypt because of my nationality. No matter how long I live in Egypt, I will always be a foreigner. But, because I have lived in Egypt for almost 9 years now, I feel like a foreigner when we come back to the U.S. The second reason I feel the new title of the blog is appropriate, is because as a Christian, the Bible says we are all "living in a foreign land". As a Christian, "This world is not our home. "We are just passing through." For me, as a Christian, this means that I should never get too comfortable with the things of this world. When I die and leave this world, I will be going to my "true" home, and I won't be able to take my possessions of this life with me. That is why the Bible says "Where your treasure is, that is where your heart is also." If all I focused on was my worldly possessions, I would just be wasting my time. All of these things will come to an end. But living a life for Jesus and His glory will last forever. As an old pastor of mine used to say "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last ..."