Friday, May 27, 2011

Cairo photos

Tank sitting at one of the roundabouts near the entrance to our suburb.


The pyramids at Giza as seen from the Citadel.

A mosque in Cairo

The Mohammed Ali Mosque in the Citadel.



Two danger zones in two weeks!

I'm now in Egypt - this year is turning into quite a journey of 'where not to be in 2011'.

After leaving Japan earlier then expected, I returned to London and spent a couple of weeks getting over the shock of what I had experienced Whilst tentatively seeking out my next job. I had told my agencies that I was looking for something gentle - I would even consider a single baby. Something in London and maximum of 5 days a week.

So... 12 days after returning home, an email came through from an agency. A family urgently needed someone to start with them on Saturday - in Cairo!

All the things I was not looking for, but I could not resist the challenge.

When talking on the phone to the mother, she asked me how I felt about being in Egypt after the recent revolution. My reply was something along the lines of 'well, at least in Egypt I will see or hear the danger before it gets to me, unlike Japan where I have no idea if I am breathing clean air or radiation polluted air...'

Two weeks and one day after arriving home from Japan, and I headed off to Egypt.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Radiation

After the earthquake, it became apparent there was a problem with nuclear power plants that were in the tsunami and earthquake struck region.

There was an explosion at the Fukushima plant and hence began a fight to contain what could be the worst nuclear disaster in the world so far.

Radiation was the word on everyones lips. How far was it reaching and what was the real danger. No one really knew. One 'expert' said it was imminent - the plant would reach meltdown and the radiation would spread fast. Another said there was no reason to panic. It was hard to know who to believe and what action to take myself.

We were based just south of Tokyo - about 210miles south of Fukushima. So in theory any radiation that reached us would be diluted by wind and air etc.

After a lot of thought and consideration, I decided I needed to leave in order to keep myself safe. I offered to go with the babies somewhere if the family wanted to get them out. They decided against this.

So my flight was booked and I left Japan on the 18th March, just one week after the earthquake. and a month after arriving in the country. I cut short my contract by 6 weeks and left the babies with their parents and grandparents.

It was such a relief to get out, although I feel huge guilt about leaving the babies. I have avoided watching the news for a week and I guess now it is time to get back into the real world.
Time to look for a contract to replace the one I left...

Earthquake

On the 11 March, all began normally with babies needing feeding, changing and usual care. Playtime and books to be read. Sunny and bright outdoors. A cool wind blowing - to be expected for this time of the year.

2pm the babies got up and had a bottle, then lay on their play mat having a look at their toys. About 2.40pm I went to the kitchen as I was about to make a banana cake. I was looking at my computer screen reading the recipe and thought I saw something move. I stopped and checked myself.

The computer was moving. The ground was moving and it was steadily getting more and more violent. My first thoughts were to the babies. I had to get them off the floor and away from the windows - the living was all windows on one and a bit walls. I grabbed the first one and Grandma took the other. I said we needed to get out of this room and headed for the hallway. We both squeezed into the toilet room with the babies. Grandma called her husband and after a lot of yelling, he finally started to come downstairs.

3 adults and 2 babies jammed tightly into the toilet now! The earth was still moving vigorously and we waited and waited for it to abate. It went on for a very long time - apparently 5 minutes or so, we found out after.

Once it stopped we tentatively left the toilet and headed back to the living area. It was bedtime for the babies so we took them up to their room and settled them in.

No sooner were we back in the living area and another almighty bang shook the house. I ran up the hall and grabbed the babies out of their room, deciding they didn't need to be in there so far away from us. I put them in their buggy and there they slept for all their sleeps until midnight when I went to bed myself.

We had 7 aftershocks, the smallest one a 6.3 on the Richter scale, within the hour. Once I was able to gather myself a little I got online and discovered the earthquake had been 7.9, less then 250miles northeast of us. The rating eventually reached a 9 on the Richter scale a few days later.

The worst part, was still to hit - the tsunami. I was gobsmacked when I turned on the TV to see the water surging inland and destroying everything in it's path. It was shocking and distressing (to say the least) to think of this happening so very close to us.






Japan

I had a contract that took me to Japan for 3 months. I started the contract elsewhere and returned to Tokyo with the family about mid February.

On my days off I went to Central Tokyo and stayed in the family's apartment where I got peace and quiet. It was on the 17th floor so the view was awesome. It was a view I don't think I would ever tire of.

The house we spent most of our time in was just outside of Tokyo, very peaceful and calm compared to the hustle bustle of the central city. We had a beautiful sea view and sunrise every morning was a treat.


I loved my day off, I had the opportunity to wander and explore a city of immense proportions. I hadn't realised while there that Tokyo was in fact the biggest city in the world! Nearly 30million people in the greater Tokyo region. I spent most of my time very central and even then barely scraped the surface of the city.



Saturday, January 01, 2011

More weather...

I'm telling you, I'm getting obsessed with the weather.

Today the sun came out and I got the paddling pool out again after 3 days of storm and tossed the boys in for a few minutes before the wind chill factor spoiled the fun. That was after I had poured 3 buckets of hot water from the kitchen tap into the 2 buckets of water from the pool to warm the paddling pool enough to reduce the goose bumps on the boys legs!

I also found myself feeling nervous as the the paddling pool was rippling in the wind and I had visions of the boys being scooped up, pool and all, by a hefty gust of wind and me running along below in a desperate bid to catch them before they landed in the Atlantic ocean never to be seen again!

Earlier in the day, my client went to the beach and we discussed the possibility of the boys going too. We both decided against it due to the wind. I did suggest we could tie a string on them and call them kites, but the idea was not acted upon...