The Donkey Cart
In Siwa the drapers comes to you..on the back of the donkey cart. Since you hardly ever see a Siwan lady, the shopping has to get done somehow. Stop for lunch at the East West Cafe ( where you have choice of frenchie fries or chippsies..2 tips in 1)and local boys offer a ride in the cart...emblazened with TAXI. Great provided they don't decide to have race down the main street.. (Never with a passenger though)
The Berber people of Siwa are deeply conservative . All the regular advice regarding modest dress should be strictly adhered to. Siwan ladies are very rarely seen in public (usually in the back of the donkey cart), and then in full rig.
From late autumn till early spring, when everybody in Egypt is freezing ;-) it's time for the hot winter drink, Sahleb, to warm you up. The drink is very popular specially among school-kids. I had mines at Idontkonowthename restauran on the main square in Siwa.
It's something similar to the hot chocolate, very thick. You can get it as a chocolate tase or vanilla taste. Besides the main ingredientes (chocolate/vanilla) and milk they put some kinds of seeds (sesame?) into it. And I also found couple of sand grains, but I dont think this is standard ingrediente ;-).
- Food and Dining
The water in springs is very nutritious so there are lots of algae in the water, many floating on the surface. To keep pool clean is almost like a Sisyphean task. As hard as this guy tries, he'll never run out of work. Also his equipment is interesting. Made only with local natural resources, palm leaves. Leaves are lined on a wooden stick he throws into water and pull it with a rope round the pool, pulls it out, cleans the algae and repeats the procedure.
- Arts and Culture
Driving around Siwa we spotted this building. It kind of stepped out. That dome is home to many pigeons. We've been told that locals breed pigeons because they are seen as delicacy. And more pigeons you have the more important you are.
- Food and Dining
Bright / dark color is a part of desert color because it takes over the dust and doesn look dirty. The bike in Siwa was not an exception. I saw it in front of the cafe I mentioned in restaurant section.
Siwan culture is part of the Berber culture. Berbers are a proud independent nation spread over several countries in North Africa who retained their language and heritage not being Arabised altogether.
Not as you expect the dress would be colorful like proper African. But its mostly with the color of black and white and the different shades in between.
It makes quite a view when these women take a ride on a donkey-cart in siwa town. This is truely a culturally exotic place to be.