Sunday, December 31, 2006

Egyptian Mau Cats

Egyptian Mau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Egyptian Maus are a medium-sized short-haired cat breed. They are the only naturally spotted breed of domesticated cat. The spots on an Egyptian Mau are not just on the coat; a shaved Mau has spots on its skin. The Ocicat is very similar in appearance to the Egyptian Mau, but was the product of selective breeding which led to its spots. Another similar looking breed is the Bengal cat, but this breed tends to be considerably larger.

Egyptian Maus are the fastest breed of domestic cat, capable of running at 36 mph. The next fastest breed is the American Shorthair which has a top speed of 31 mph. For comparison, giraffes also run at 36 mph. Maus are powerful cats for their size, alert and active. Males are usually somewhat larger than females.

The breed conformation is described by The Cornell Book of Cats as

a balance between the compactness of a Burmese and the slim elegance of a Siamese. Its medium-length body is muscular, with the hind legs longer than the front, giving the Mau the appearance of standing on tiptoes when upright.

The longer hind legs are another reason for the breed's startling speed. The Mau also has a loose flap of skin on the lower abdomen, similar to the cheetah, which allows a longer stride while running, again contributing to its great speed. A Mau running at full speed is impressive, with incredible acceleration.

Egyptian Maus are thought by many to be one of the progenitor breeds of the modern domestic cat. They have anatomical, metabolic and behavioral differences from other cat breeds which could be considered as evidence of antiquity or at least uniqueness from other cat breeds. Besides those already mentioned, Maus are more temperature sensitive than most breeds - they are fond of very warm temperatures. They are more sensitive to medicines and anesthesia. Maus also have an unusually long gestational period. The maximum normal period for cats is 69 days, although Siamese may take a day or two longer. For a Mau, 73 days is still considered normal.

Maus often possess very musical voices. They are known to chirp, chortle and emit other distinctly unusual vocalizations when stimulated. Another behavior, quite common in happy Maus, has been described as "wiggle-tail." The cat, male or female, moves its back legs up and down, and appears to be marking territory, also known as spraying, but it is not actually releasing urine. Even veteran Mau owners are known to check after a joyous Mau does this little dance.

Purebred Egyptian Maus are a relatively rare breed. Currently, the number of registered Egyptian Maus worldwide is probably about 3000. Maus come in five colors: silver, smoke and bronze, which are eligible for showing, and black and pewter, which are not, but which can be used in breeding. All Maus must have green eyes, but an amber cast is acceptable in kittens and young adults, up to age 1 1/2 years.

Popular culture

In the 2004 movie Catwoman, the cat 'Midnight' who brought Patience Phillips back to life as Catwoman was played by three Egyptian Maus, as well as a computer-generated Mau. The movie reveals that the ancient Egyptian Mau breed has the (fictional) ability, through its connection with the Egyptian goddess Bastet.


Siegal, Mordecai, faculty and staff of Cornell Feline Health Center, Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine (Editors); The Cornell Book of Cats: A Comprehensive Medical Reference for Every Cat and Kitten; Villard Books; ISBN 0-394-56787-0; (hardback, 1989)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shipping to the US from Cairo

Josie posted this on one of the groups that I belong to in Egypt : I thought others too can benefit from this information. So I'm posting it here with her permission.

Dear All,

I have been looking into ways to ship books and other materials to the US over the past couple days and thought I'd post some current prices and details:

10kg box is 1155 LE
25kg box is 1527 LE
2-day shipping to any address
1079 corniche al-nil, garden city
Saturday-thursday 11-8

If your stuff takes up a 10-kg box space-wise, you pay the full price even if your stuff doesn't actually weigh that much. They accept credit cards.

15 kg box, 1603 LE
20 kg box, 2267 LE
25 kg box, 2480 LE
35 kg box, 3146 LE
phone 02-302-9801
ships to any address

Post Office
ships to any address
takes one - three weeks
150 LE for the first kg, 33 LE for each additional 1/2 kg.

Dar al-Salam Publisher
Mr. Qadri, 02-270-4280
30 LE/kg for shipping to a major airport. This includes the carton which holds about 40 kg, but not the cost of transport to the airport here in Cairo. I could not get them to confirm that they ship to airports such as Seattle rather than just New York. They also have cheaper shipping by sea, but this still just goes to the port, not your home. And they have to have enough people going to same place to merit combining them into a 13-carton container. I was told this is not currently an option.

Leila Books
Ships to home addresses, takes 3-4 weeks.
40 LE per kg, meaning a 20-kg carton is about $150.
Price includes boxing, shipping, etc.
Books can be dropped off at the office anytime between 9am and 4 pm except fridays.

Express International
You can also try

Airline Excess Baggage
This varies by airline, but even on Lufthansa, which seems expensive, this turned out to be my cheapest option this time.
It's $50 per bag that exceeds the 23 kg limit up to 32 kg.
And $155 per extra bag, at 23 kg, plus $50 more for up to 32 kg.
They might have a limit of about 100 kg excess baggage per person (according to a website), but they didn't seem entirely familiar with that here in the Zamalek office or at the airport -- I was told no problem bringing a few extra bags.


Edited 2 Feb 2007 to add :

Dear All,

In December I posted a list of options and prices for shipping books from Cairo to the US.

I shipped some of my books in late December through Leila Books and they just arrived here in Washington state, so I thought I would post a follow-up now that I have successfully used this shipper.

The books took slightly longer than the quoted time period -- about 5 or 6 weeks instead of 3 or 4. This may be because I'm on the west coast and I imagine the books got off a container ship on the east coast at least a week ago. They arrived via the US post office.

The packing job is amazing, the best I have ever seen. At Leila Books you just drop off the books and they do the customs clearance and packing, so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was a tear-proof sack, with Leila's address and my address clearly printed on the sides, securely sewn shut around a cardboard box that was also bound shut inside this sack with two invincible straps encircling the box. Inside the box was extra padding, then my books nicely packed inside a plastic bag. It was beautiful I tell you.

One other note -- in the current "Key to Cairo" given to AUC students, the prices quoted for Leila are no longer valid. The prices listed there are significantly lower than the current ones,
because the older pricing system was for an "M Bag" service that Leila and other shippers are no longer able to provide (I forgot why, but the owner also said a lot of books had gone astray under that system).

Here's their info again:
Leila Books
Ships to home addresses, takes about a month (See above).
40 LE per kg, meaning a 20-kg carton is about $150.
Price includes boxing, shipping, etc.
Books can be dropped off at the office (off midan Mustafa Kamel downtown) anytime between 9am and 4 pm, except fridays.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Its Raining, its Pouring

Its been raining in Cairo, a little yesterday & some today.

I thought I had seen all kinds of seasons & weather, but this is new for me :

Rain in Winter ???

This was supposed to be some of the heaviest rainfall Cairo has ever received. But it was just a little more than a light drizzle for us Mumbaikars. It rained around 0.08 inches by some estimates.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Churches in Cairo

Your home church away from home. Come and join us. Thursday: 6.30 PM, Friday: 9.30 AM, 11.15 AM, 1.30 PM (Africa Live). You will find us on the corner of Port Said and Road 17 in the grounds of St John the Baptist Church. Website:

5 Sharia Michel Lutfalla, Zamalek (next to Marriott), 736-8391. Services on Sunday 8 am & 10:30 am (with Sunday School), & 7:15 pm. Services on Friday 9:30 am. (Children’s Program and Bible School at 9:30 am). Midweek Bible Studies on Tuesday and Thursday. Dean, The Very Rev. Tony Andrews, 735-2074.

Cairo Christian Fellowship: Meeting at St. Andrew's Church Hall, 26 of July & Ramses. Worship service Sunday 6 pm, Christian Education (Sept. - May) Saturday 6 pm.

THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST: An interdenominational and internationa congragtion follwing an Anglican/Epsicopal Tradition. Weekly Worship Services: Saturdays, 5 PM - Holy Communion (with Church School for Children and Nursery). For more information call 358 3085 or email at Website:

French-speaking services every Saturday at 6:30 pm in the sanctuary of Maadi Community Church located at St. John the Baptist Church, Rd. 17 and Port Said; 1st and 3rd Sunday at 5 pm downtown at Esrraaf Church, across from St. Andrews by Nasser Metro. For information call Pasteur Mairhofer Christian at 392-8199 or e-mail,

Meets Sunday at 7 pm, Potluck follows. For information, please call Ray at 797-6969 or e-mail,

Reverend Andrea Busse & Reverend Axel Matyba – 2, Sh. Kamel Mohamed, Zamalek Tel.: 7354673 e-mail: - Worship Services: Every Sunday at the German Church (Al Galaa Street 32, 200 meters north of corner Al-Galaa Street and 26 July Street next to Al-Ahram Building, Metro station: “Nasser”) at 5.30 pm.


10 Seti St., meets at St. Michael's Church (off Baghdad St.). Worship: Friday Contemporary Service, 10:00 am with Children’s Program, Communion 3rd week; Sunday 6:30pm, Communion 2nd week. Office open Mon-Thurs, call 414-2409. Pastor J. Crowe: 290-8256.


55 Road 15, Maadi. Tel : 358 2004 Weekend Eucharist : Fri - 9am English with Tagalog hymns, 7pm (Korean) Sat - 5:30pm English., 6:45pm French. Sun - 8am French, 5pm Spanish, 6pm English, 7:15pm Italian. Daily Mass : 8am - Mon, Tue, Thu - English. Wed - French. 7pm - Mon, Tue, Thu - French. Wed - English.


Service Sunday 3:30 pm and Friday 7:30 pm. Call Rev. Joon-Kyo Lee, 358-4620. Sunday School Classes for children. Meets at St. John the Baptist Church (Maadi Community Church) at the corner of Road 17 and Port Said.


An international, inter-denominational congregation that follows liturgical tradition. Fri worship 10am, Sun worship 10am. Runs a refugee ministry & always looking for volunteers to help. 38, 26th July Street, Midan al - 'Isaaf. or call 788 2743

Isna St., which is off Thawra St, and next to Chili’s Restaurant, Heliopolis, 290-7188. Mass in English 7 pm Saturday,10:30 am Sunday. For more information, call 639-7863.

4 Ahmed Sabri, Zamalek. Father Angelo, 340-8902. Mass in English Sunday 6 pm.

2 Bank Misr., contact Father Michael, 393-6677 Mass in English Sunday 4:30 pm.


Al Nahda Square - An English liturgy is served on the first Saturday of every month from 9:15-10:30 am, by Father Makarius Morris.


Mass on Sundays 9:15 am at German School, Bab El Louk; Mass on Saturdays 6:30 pm at Borromean Sisters’ Convent, Maadi: 6, St. 12/corner st. 75; all services in German; Rector Joachim Schroedel, office 795-7516, e-mail,

Ard El Golf, Heliopolis, offers Mass in English every 3rd Saturday of the month, 8:30 - 9:30 am All welcome - especially beneficial to those engaged or married to Orthodox Christians - meeting and coffee afterwards till 10:30 am. For more information call Sophie at 414-3696.

Information taken from Maadi Messenger

Peking, Cairo

All across city
They do Take Away, Free Home Delivery & Catering too
One of the more famous Chinese chains around Cairo & well worth the fame.

You can check out their menu & locations on their site.

And you can check my review on my restaurant blog.

Home Delivery of Food in Cairo

Theres this absolutely BRILLIANT site to use for home delivery of anything & everything in Egypt.

They have an almost entire list of restaurants that do home delivery area wise.
Click on the restaurant, it takes u to the menu where u can order as many items u want. (prices displayed)
once u r done it takes u to your order page which shows what u have ordered, u can edit at this page, u can also put in an special requests here itemwise. For eg : extra spicy, no eggs etc.

Someone from the site will then call you (or contact u on msn - yr choice) to confirm your order.

They then forward your order to the concerned restaurant & voila in 45 mins your food arrives home.

Registration on the site is necessary to avail of the service, but it is free. Home delivery charge depends on the restaurant policy. Ordering through the site is free. Plus some restaurants offer a discount while ordering on the site.

The address is

Entirely in English.

An absolute life saver, if like me you find it difficult to communicate over the phone with the phone operators because of different accents.

What used to take me 3-5 repetitions of an item is now just a tick mark away :)

Very efficient, very neat.

You can order tons of other stuff too from

You can buy CD's, rent cars, souveniers, jewellry & even book travel packages. So why haven't you clicked on the link yet ?

Also visited CSA today. The Garden Bazaar was on. Its really comprehensive & much better than the Asian Diplomatic Wives Association Bazaar I attended the other day. I will definitely be back on the 10th for their Christmas Bazaar.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pottery Cafe, Cairo

Pottery Cafe
Opp AUC Entrance

Read my review here.

Drinking Water for Home Consumption

Most expats are concerned about the drinking water in any new country that they visit. So the first question I asked on arriving Egypt was "Is the tap water drinkable ?" Most people whom I asked this question of said "No"

It seeems the water is ok for cooking but not for drinking. I took this to assume that this meant that water has to be properly boiled before it can be safely drunk. Same safety standards & comon sense as anywhere else in the world.

But if like me, you don't want the hassle of boiling water or don't like the taste of this water since you are used to something else then your other option is bottled water.

Each ones taste is different.

For me, I don't too much fancy the taste of "Baraka"

Aqua Siwa is a brand I do like.

There is also a brand called Siwa with a pink screw cap. This also I like. I also trust Pepsi's brand Aqua Fina Nestle's Pure Life & Coke's Dasani. But the reason behind this could be pure familiarity in an unfamiliar land.

The only one of these brands that I trust, that provides bulk water in Cairo seems to be Nestle's pure water

Unlike India, where Bulk water is cheaper to source than Individual bottles, here its just the opposite.

A quick price break up for those who are considering a bulk water scheme :
Hand Pump - 50LE
Electrical Hot & Cold Water dispenser with mini fridge from Nestle - 1150LE
Electrical Hot & Cold Water dispenser from Carrefour 350-1500LE
Price/5gallon jar of Water (19 litres) - 17LE
Refundable deposit per jar - 50LE

Price of a 1.5ltr bottle of
Aqua Siwa - 1.35LE
Aqua Fina - 1.45LE
Nestle - 1.65LE

Hence 19 litres of this would work out to between 17 to 21LE. But if you buy a crate of 1.5litre bottles at a time, the price decreases substantially. I last paid 16LE for 18 litres of Aqua Fina (Crate of 12 *1.5ltr bottles)

For those who are busy taking out calculators, here is a working out of prices per litre (1 litre)
Individual bottles bought 1 at a time : 0.9 to 1.1LE
5 gallon = 19 litres jar : 0.89LE
Crate of 12 *1.5ltr bottles : 0.89LE

Looks simple ?
ah, but u forgot the but u forgot the dispensing mechanism
Assuming you use 50 jars over the period of your stay here
with the lower priced hand pump : 0.95LE
with company electrical dispenser : 2.10LE
with the lower priced electrical dispenser from the market : 1.21LE

This is without even counting or depreciating the deposit. If you use more number of jars, then this amount will keep decreasing, but this is an indication.

Financially it makes sense to go in for bulk water dispensing only if you have high consumption, as in an office. But for home use with a 2 year horizon buying bottles by the crate makes more sense.

Coming to convenience:
The dispenser gives you hot & cold water on demand.
The hand pump means you will have to fill it in smaller bottles to refrigerate.
A crate of bottles is heavier to bring in from the car.

The jars are delivered home.
You have to go shopping for the crate (or get your neighbourhood grocery to home deliver)

The choice is upto you. Its your call, you decide how much importance & balance to give financial & convenience considerations.

Note : I have used approximations on market rates. They can change from time to time & across locations. Please do nto take the numbers as exact, but as an almost accurate indication.

AUC Bookstore Sale : 2-4 Dec

AUC bookstore is having its sale. From 2-4 Dec. There's a minimum 20% discount on every book that they have & upto 60% on some books. The larger sale is on the grounds outside the bookshop. But eveything inside the bookshop is also on a 20% discount.

The bookshop timings are 9am to 6pm, I'm assuming that the sale timings are also the same.

As most of you already know, AUC bookshop has a huge collection of books in English, many of which they print themselves at the AUC Press.

Remember you need some photo id to enter the AUC campus.

Tip of the Day : You can buy an AUC bookstore membership card for 50LE. This will give you a 10% discount on your purchases. (I think its valid for at least a year. Worth the expense if you plan to buy more than 500LE worth of boks from them.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cats at my door

From the time we moved into our new house, I've noticed a couple of cats around the building. They are quite timid when it comes to human contact. They are used to being driven away & not used to being petted. So they keep their distance.

But for the last couple of days, since the cold set in, I often open my front door to find one cat or another snuggled on my doormat. I like cats & don't mind them borrowing the mat, but the moment I open the door they tend to run away.

But today, there were 4 of them together & they just seemed more confident & kept looking at me curiously as they let me click their pictures. Here r some of them.

Reminded me of the little kittens I left behind when we left home. They were hardly 2 weeks old when I left & had just about opened their eyes. They were identical triplets as you can see. They were so tiny, they fit in the palms of our hands.

And my sisters Darling "Angel" who died in our arms, after an unfortunate accident. I haven't been able to put his pictures up so far. We miss him too much. He was such a sweetheart.
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