Thursday, 8 November 2012

Of Tuna, Canons and Ramadan...

Written on 15/10/2006

Hi all.

To get you up to speed on the expedition so far...

Mosaic in Marsa Matruh
We are staying in a beautiful tourist town called Marsa Matrouh in Egypt, at the kind invitation of the Matrouh Governorate and the Sea Scouts. Although the tourist season is closed for the winter, the weather could not be better and the beach and sea more perfect.

It is Ramadan so eating during the day is of the fresh produce bought at the souk (market) and then Christy adding Tuna to it.. When all fails add tuna...On the subject of food I am eating 10-12 eggs a day to gain the weight I have lost. Christy, being a good doer, is looking slim and trim but I'm looking pretty haggard!! (I kid you not,this chicky is tough!) Dinner consisting of soup, salad, chicken and rice washed down by Pepsi costs about 30 Egyptian pounds, equivalent to R39 or $5, for 2 people. That however is on the street with the locals. The same meal at a tourist restaraunt will cost 140 Egyptian pounds for 2. This is at least one reason to mix with the locals.

Marsa Matruh at Sunset
At the market..
Ramadan is a fascinating time and it is incredible to experience a whole city of people fasting in solidarity with the poor. All shop owners give food and money to the poor. Throughout the day the people are at prayer and the mosques are hardly silent. At sunset the Longtom cannon is fired marking the end of the fast and everyone heads home for "breakfast". The city is deserted and deathly silent. We were invited to Mr Adel, the sports facility manager's, house for this "breakfast" which was a right slap up. Special meals are prepared throughout the month of Ramadan.
The longtom cannon!
People keep on asking why we don't change our horses if they are tired or injured. There are a million and one reasons why we persist with them but I would say the most compelling reasons are that they took the "first steps" and should have the honour of taking the last. This journey is about the people we meet and our horses. Lastly these horses have found a huge place in our hearts! (and because Christy would kill me!!)

So onto the subject of why we are resting in Marsa Matrouh for so long. After 10 months of travel and intense living (living in other peoples pockets!), we have been left to our own devices. Each evening we may socialise or not, but seeing as the scouts are good blokes I choose to. I'll discuss the horses seperately. We have run out of time on our visas (again!!) and can only receive new ones on 18/10/2006. Hopefully for 60 days.
Dinner with the Scout Masters
The horses - Rahaal was too fat and needed to be toned up. He has recovered from his shoulder injury nicely (the injury we bought him with). Unfortunately his right hind is not strong enough to carry me and my kit for 25-35 km per day (the injury he sustained during his castration). We decided to work him on the beach and this has proven to be more of a success than I had hoped for. One possible problem is that over distance I think his right hind may cause him to move incorrectly and wear his hoofs badly. I will consider shoeing him until I am satisfied that his right hind is fully recovered.

Always resourceful!
Ennahali has worked incredibly hard and deserves a rest from carrying 110-120kg daily in a ridged saddle. We are not happy with his muscle developement in the saddle area and are back to riding him in a backpad. He is Rahaal's schoolmaster on the beach as the little guy has some terrible habits.

Chami has laminitis and has lost an awful amount of weight. Like me he is on a weight gain diet and poor Christy has to get up at all hours to feed him. She has to stand with him until he finishes eating to stop the whily Nali and the fearless (when it comes to food) Rahaal from creating a catastrophe. (As there are plenty of mosquitoes around you can imagine the dance the four of them do...) His laminitis looks like it could be under control and he is walking sound in shoes and even galloping on the beach, never knows. So he rests, does some tar work and at times is let loose on the beach whle we are working. So that is all our news for now.
Feed time!
Kind regards to you all,
William and Christine

or if you like...
Lots of love,
Billy and Christy

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