Monday, October 22, 2007

Book Review Cairo Maps - The Practical Guide

Published by The American University in Cairo Press It used to cost 30LE, but if my information is right, the price has now increased to 45LE if you buy it in Egypt.

If you plan to use only one map in Cairo, then this is the one to buy. It may not be as detailed as some other maps that you have used in other countries or Google maps, but it's the best and most detailed that is available for Cairo city.

You can't expect building numbers and one way directions (since they keep changing daily in Cairo) but what you can expect is all the roads being named and the major hotels and tourist spots are marked. There is a 1 page map of the Cairo Metro system and one comprehensive single-pager of the Ring Road. At 58 pages, it's a pretty slim map for the city, but as I said before - it's the best you can buy for Cairo.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sociology Prof in Canada wears Niqab

From CBC News

Carleton professor's lesson veiled in delivery

Last Updated: Saturday, October 20, 2007 | 12:36 PM ET

Students at Carleton University in Ottawa were given the chance to learn a lesson in culture and cultural assumptions this semester when their non-Muslim sociology professor hid her face by wearing a veil.

For the first three weeks of class, Sian Reid wore the black traditional Muslim veil called a niqab, covering all of her face except for the eyes.

Sian Reid, 41, said she wanted to make her students aware of the assumptions they make about the world.Sian Reid, 41, said she wanted to make her students aware of the assumptions they make about the world.

Reid read a posting on a university online discussion board from a student who said when they first saw her they thought she must be a teaching assistant getting ready for the "real professor."

"And it wasn't until I stepped behind the podium myself and started to talk, that they realized I was the real professor," she told CBC Newsworld in an interview Saturday.

In week four, she removed the veil and long robe, called an abaya, allowing students to see at the front of the room a red-headed woman in clothes from her regular wardrobe.

"Nobody came and approached me and until the fourth week when I did take the niqab off … and even then, it wasn't raised in front of the whole class," Reid said. "A small group of students stayed behind to talk to me about why my dress had changed so dramatically.

"The conversations started out by pointing out that when we look at things in North American culture, we look at them and we interpret them at the same time — and in sociology you can't do that.

"What people thought they saw was an orthodox Muslim female professor. What they actually saw was a female professor wearing a niqab.They had made an interpretation kind of automatically — and in sociology you can't afford to do that. Observations and interpretations have to be two different things."

Reid said she decided over the summer to use her dress as a teaching technique to get the students' attention on the first day of class "in really large classes — and mine are 300 to 450 students," and to give them a chance to use other ways of trying to get information about her, such as body language and tone of voice — "things we don't rely on quite as much."

The teaching technique later became a way for students to think about culture and ethnocentrism.

She said there was some discussion as to whether it was appropriate for a non-Muslim woman to have dressed the way she did.

"And my point to my students is that, well, if a woman from Saudi Arabia comes to my sociology class and she wants to wear jeans and a turtleneck, nobody says to her, well, you're not qualified to wear those clothes."

Reid said they also talked about whether someone can be judged to be not ethnically and religiously qualified to wear clothing more common in another part of the world.

"And it invites my students to think about how they perceive aspects of other cultures. It's OK to eat Thai food, [but] is it OK to dress in Thai clothes?"

The professor said she was "really shocked" at the level of rudeness she encountered when she was away from university and running errands while travelling to and from work while wearing the niqab.

"At the university I didn't notice anything in particular, but certainly out in the general public I did," she said.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Latest in Indulgence - A $22,000 Pet Cat

After Uma's post on Vodka with a dash of Diamonds I was left wondering what the next flagrantly expensive "in" thing would be.

I seem to have found an answer of sorts. But this time, its Alive. Its the latest - Lifestyle Pets. Although its not as expensive as the vodka and it lasts longer!

These aren't your run of the mill pet cats.

Its the ASHERA (please note the name is trade-marked) The worlds rarest and most exotic domestic cat. (so they say)
The Ashera is priced at $22,000, plus any applicable sales taxes and is due at time of order. Generally, the delivery date from receipt of payment is 9-12 months. However, for those customers who simply can’t wait to own an Ashera, a few selected kittens are available earlier for an additional cost of $6,000. All Ashera kittens are provided with a Certificate of Authenticity that will include an image of each kitten's DNA “fingerprint”.

Wait, it gets better :
All Ashera kittens are hand delivered to their new owners and hand carried on the transporting aircraft by a Lifestyle Pets representative. Total cost of delivery within the United States is approximately $1,500; outside of the USA they will quote you by location.

Included with the purchase of your Ashera kitten are the following:
Complete and updated vaccinations through delivery
Mandatory spaying or neutering
Microchip Identifier implant
One year of premium veterinary health insurance through Pets Best (USA customers only)
Airline certified electronic climate controlled cat transporter
Veterinary Health Certificate (required for travel)
One set of nail caps already applied (these are vinyl nail caps applied to your kitten's claws that effectively cover the claws so no damage occurs to furniture, etc.)
Starter Pack (includes premium kitten food, additional nail caps, cat toys and other kitten sundries)
One year guarantee (see purchase agreement for terms and conditions)
10 Year consultation access to Dr. Roland Tripp, internationally recognized animal behaviorist.

What's so special about these cats you may ask : They have been (bred and genetically) developed by blending exotic bloodlines of the African Serval and the Asian Leopard cat with the domestic cat. The cat weighs upto 14 kilos they are specially bred to have Leopard spots on their body and stripes on their limbs.

As an additional service, they have even introduced a limited payment plan to facilitate the purchase of an ASHERA kitten.

My concerns :
What happens to the kittens that don't come out with their stripes and spots in the advertised places ? People aren't going to pay 22,000$ for those!
Whatever they may claim, these cats are bred from wild felines. They grow upto the size of 14 kilos/30 pounds. How safe can it be to have them around, especially with children? Some may argue that they grow to the same size and weight of large breed dogs, but these cats have a much closer link to their leopard forefathers.

They are currently developing a new breed of a very small dog. Wonder how much that would cost!

You can sign up for their newsletter on the site. I have, I definitely wanna know, what's next! Simple curiosity, I'm re-discovering that from my own cat (she's a naturally conceived mixed breed)
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