Sunday, April 30, 2017

Leaving Egypt

Woke up today earlier then I wanted too because Edgar who is a fellow Canuck wanted to find out if there was hockey today ? Grrr .... needed that sleep but oh well life goes on and no there is no hockey today . Bags were already packed and all I needed to do was wash up and give Ahmed a quick lesson on how to put this gear on . He is really keen to become The Egyptian Goalie , we came up with his nickname yesterday and I'm sure he's gonna take some pics in some iconic places wearing that gear which was all donated by my good friend Brendan Krick . Unfortunately the pants and skates didn't fit him but I'm sure he will survive without them OR I will have to bring him some other stuff when I go back .... yes I'm going back . This project is far from done and I'm gonna keep working on helping these guys to get international recognition . 


We all barely slept and were all tired and there was some urgency to get me to the airport early because the Pope was due to arrive before my flight takes off . I thought he was here already but I guess not .... haven't really been following the news to be honest . Before I left we took one more stab at finding an Egyptian flag patch to sew onto my bag but no luck :( yeah that sucks big time ! I didn't leave empty handed though as I picked up a game worn Egypt jersey that captain Ayman wore at the first African club cup last year .  I'm sure some people will be a bit jealous of that but yeah i don't care hahaha ! I also was given a football top from an Egyptian club called El Zamalek :) I put it on and wore it to the airport . Ahmed said people will bother me about wearing this and let me tell you I did ! 


The guys got me to the airport with plenty of time and it was tough saying bye and I don't think I will ever get used to saying good-byes .... wiped a few tears away and headed into the airport where I had to go through security to get into airport then security before check in then security after check in with customs . Security is tight here but I'm guessing it's crazier because the Pope is due to arrive any minute . Before you ask ... I didn't see him and to be honest I wasn't looking . What I was looking for was that Egyptian flag patch for my bag which seems to be non existent here :( duty free was no help either and I'm guessing the top I was wearing had something to do with it . One guy plainly told me he couldn't help me and told me to go to another counter while he frowned at me hahaha ! 


When I got on the plane I put my bag away and grabbed my seat got comfy and put some music on with my head phones just like 3 of the other 5 did in my aisle and napped a bit until food came . When the stewardess brought my meal she leaned over and said the lady in front (seen above cutting me the evil eye ) asked if I could turn my music off ??? She shrugged her shoulders while saying it and I was confused .... how did she figure it was my music and how dare she do that anyway ! I turned it down a bit but wasn't gonna turn it off . I noticed this crazy woman asking the stewardess again and then we made eye contact and she muttered something and I told her if she wants she can pay for my seat and I will turn it off but until then I've paid and even the couple beside me were confused ? They even said they can't here it ! This woman was nuts hahaha ! While talking to the couple next to me I made sure to speak loud enough so she could hear me and I said she must be lonely or dying for a drink :) she turned around and said you know I understand and I said good I want you to hear this since your being an idiot then I blew her a kiss and put my headphones back on . I didn't pay any notice to her after that but she seemed to have OCD or something because she wouldn't stop bugging the attendants . Misery really does live company and I wasn't about to join her . In all my years of travelling I have never ever encountered this level of ignorance and even though she heard other passengers saying they couldn't hear my music she just wouldn't give up until she got what she wanted .... she never attained that goal :) beeeyotch ! 

Anyways I am on the next flight now heading to Birmingham from Frankfurt and I'm hoping this is uneventful as I have to get to Karl's do some laundry sleep and wake up early to go to Blackburn to watch Aston Villa . I'm sure it's gonna be a wild day so it's best I do my writing now because tomorrow I'm sure I won't even know my own name lol ! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Skiing in Cairo

Probably could have named this post a bunch of things as I had a very busy day . Ahmed was working and I was with Ayman to start the day . His English and my Arabic are both getting better :) first thing up was to go check out the Citadel . Ayman ordered a car from this shitty company I refuse to mentio anymore and we got there in due time to check out the sights there . Everything is so cheap here including admission fees which were about 200 £ Egyptian which equals roughly $15 or so .... that is not bad compared to some of the scams I've encountered like one certain tower back home that costs around $40 to go up in an elevator :( when we got there it was so sunny that I couldn't even see . No joke this was one of the few times in my life that I wish I had brought sunglasses 😎 


I used that hoodie I was dragging around with me to shield the sun . It didn't help really and I must have a few pics with some hard core squinting going on lol ! We went into the military area with all the planes , tanks and other weapons of war on display which was pretty cool to see . There obviously was a military presence there as there is in most of Cairo . Don't be freaked out if you go there and see this . It's not a bad thing , they are there for the right reasons . After the military section we went into the mosque ...


I took my shoes off at the entrance to pay respect and then entered with the enthusiasm of a child . I'm not really religious or anything but I do respect that people around the world have their own beliefs and have every right to believe what they want to believe . Who am I to tell someone that what they believe in is wrong right ? I'm really into embracing how people go about their lives and I still love hearing the call to prayer every few hours . I think it's super cool and its interesting to experience this . The mosque was massive and very beautiful and as I wandered around I could feel this amazing vibe in the air as if all the other tourists were just as excited as I was . When we exited the mosque I was blinded by the sun again hahaha . Look at me complaining about the sun when I haven't seen much of it for months . I should embrace it shouldn't I ? 


We hit the prison area and man oh man I feel bad for whoever ended up in these ones especially the last one where there were wax figures of a man being tortured . Pretty sure that whip wasn't for tickling or some fetish :) there was also a police area which had guns that were used for political assassinations in Egyptian πŸ›Άhistory which seems littered with this activity based on the amount of guns on display . There was also an encased booth with samples of drugs , I joked about having a sample and Aymin laughed and said not to say that stuff lol . I could have had a great party with that stuff hehehe πŸ˜›


We were on a bit of a schedule which I was hoping to keep today . And for the most part we did .... we hopped in another car and went to Mall of Egypt where we were meeting Ahmed to go skiing , yes skiing on snow !!!!! When we got there we walked past a restaurant that sold sheesha called Tamara , it was a Lebanese restaurant and I was kinda hungry so we went for a bite to eat and some sheesha . I ordered some apple flavour sheesha and Aymin ordered his regular unflavoured sheesha and they didn't have it . His face immediately dropped :( yeah he needed his sheesha and this wasn't helping ... I ordered some wings and got him some too with the hopes of turning that frown into a smile . The wings were decent but the cost was expensive compared to every other meal we had over the 5 days and to be honest what they consider expensive I didn't really notice . 2 orders of wings , 1 sheesha , 2 colas and a tea for under $20 CDN seems like a bargain to me . Ahmed showed up from work and we walked over to the indoor snow hill . 

I went skiing once in my life and that was about 25 years ago , and I used to snowboard but I decided that skiing would be easier since your feet have a little bit more freedom . 2 hours of skiing cost us £200 Egyptian each which is around $20 CDN . We got suited up as everything is provided and we hit the ski lift .... first ride up and I fell down , at the bottom of the hill , this isn't gonna be as easy as I thought . When I made it up I shit myself a bit and almost chickened out but embraced it and hurled myself down the hill . I didn't fall so the next time I did a Facebook live video which is hilarious . I never did fall while going down the hill but I did find a way to fall on the way up 2 more times , once at the top getting off the lift and once in the middle of the hill . It's a bit embarrassing but who cares right we were having a good ol time . After a couple hours we figured we were running late to go see the Sphinx light show which was supposed to start at 730 in English based on what the website says but like I said these tourist websites here are not informative at all . We got there only to be told the show was almost over then we had one of the street hagglers try to scam us into going to watch it from his cafe which Ahmed went to check out and it was not even a cafe . It was someone's balcony , and the douche tried to charge Ahmed just for taking a look at it . These people near the pyramids are absolute leeches and I would highly suggest to avoid and ignore everyone that approaches you if you ever do go there . 

We went back to Kirdan in Maadi to have some sheesha or I think the boys were gonna lose their minds hahaha ! The Manure vs Citeh match was on telly so we chilled and watched that while Ahmed went for a nap and I was also educated by the other Ahmed on the far left in pic above about RollerBall ???? It's basically handball on roller skates and he is the president of the African federation which is very cool . I need to check out this sport as it looks fast and as I know handball is not a wussy sport so this has to be good . After a few hours of hardcore chilling we went to the River Nile for a boat cruise . There was nobody there which was odd and Ahmed said that even the ski hill was quiet compared to usual and it was confusing . We got a boatman to drive us up and down the Nile as we played some Egyptian music and danced around which was really funny and even the other boats passing us joined in with the clapping πŸ‘ 


The cruise was cheap too as it cost the four of us a total of £160 Egyptian at this point I'm sure you can do the math right ? Ok it was roughly $10 CDN :) after dancing on the Nile we went to have a special sheesha . As I said this is a way of life here . I am 150% sure that I was the only person not from here in this row of cafes which were set up with TV's and play stations to play footie on . This sheesha came in a coconut and was by far the best one I had all week as if I'm the aficionado now right ? We played vids until 5 am there then called it a night as the sun was coming up only because I have to fly the next afternoon and I really should get a few hours sleep . I had such a good night out with the guys that I kinda forgot it was my last night . Usually that last night is filled with thoughts of how I'm gonna miss the people I'm with but tonight was too much fun to have any worries .   

When we got back to Ahmed's place it was about 5:30 am and Ahmed doesn't have to work because over here Friday is like our Saturday . Yeah weekends here are Friday and Saturday . I packed up my bags and hit the sack .... 5 hours of sleep before I have to wake up and leave . Tomorrow I fly back to England to watch Aston Villa . My trip is almost over .  

Ice Hockey at Sun City Mall

Staying up really late every night and eating extremely late compared to my western lifestyle has me sleeping in every morning which is good because it's hot , but not Egyptian hot .... just hot for a person coming from anywhere in the northern hemisphere lol . Apparently 30c is not hot here lol ! Ahmed had to go to work and it was just me and Aymin doing some sightseeing during the day which is great because Aymin speaks very little English and I speak very little Arabic . As a traveller these are the moments I relish because it keeps you on your toes trying to communicate and pretty much forces you to learn the language . As the day went on all the Maltese words I know were coming back to me . Yes I'm a dual citizen and my heritage is from Malta . Maltese has a lot of Arabic words that are just pronounced differently kinda like an Arabic dialect . 


We started our day off at the Cairo Museum which is full of history that I have dreamt of seeing and learning more about since I was a small child . Dreams do come true :) we took the metro there which I might add puts Toronto's TTC to shame , yes Toronto transit is embarrassingly bad compared to this :( it was very cheap and got us everywhere with no problems . Of course there are people selling everything under the sun on the metro and it's pretty much expected . When we arrived at the museum we went through three or four security desks ... I'm guessing they don't mess around after being robbed in 2011 and yes there was a famous heist that occurred at this museum . I have to research it more cause it just sounds so cool . I don't mean that it was cool that some bandits made off with priceless artifacts but the fact that they pulled it off sounds pretty mad . 

We got there around 1 pm and the website said it closes at 3 pm so we boogied through the whole museum with exception of one small area (I think ) we saw a whole bunch of mummies , mummified animals and tons of artifacts which blew my mind away .  It was almost 3 pm and we were both hungry so I offered to buy lunch and we left to go across the road for some KFC . On the way out we found out that the museum closes at 5 and it seems like websites here don't really get updated or else we might have stayed the extra 15 min instead of trying to leave but oh well . The KFC was not very good and was really jam packed . Wouldn't recommend it . We jumped on the metro and made our way back to Maadi to meet Ahmed as we have to drive over to Sun City for 7 pm and hopefully today we make it on Canadian time :) 


Traffic here is ridiculous though and we were about 30 minutes late for our ice time but it didn't matter as we were playing with the guys that run and work at the Sun City Mall rink which by the way had no glass on the boards or netting to stop pucks from smashing windows or hitting people . The guys from the rink didn't wear any gear at all !! Just sticks in bare hands with skates on .... I knew this was not good and I scratched my head over why they weren't wearing the gear I brought them ? The guy who played as a goalie had a helmet on with no face protection ... this is all a recipe for disaster . I watched him get a stick to the face then I watched another guy get slashed on his fingers and I finally put my foot down and said I won't play anymore unless they put at least gloves on . Most of them put gloves on and one guy wouldn't ???? Apparently he used to be rink manager and the guy could skate and had decent hands which I warned him wouldn't be the same if his fingers were all broken . He went off the ice and didn't come back on for a while .... when he came on I asked him to put the gloves on and he refused so I took my gear off and called it a day . There is no way I want to have any part in watching someone lose their fingers for their comfort . First he said the last pair didn't fit and yes they were small so I said put on the other guys when they come off .... then I heard the utmost ridiculous excuses . He didn't like the smell on his hands , that eventually grew to him saying he doesn't think it's hygienic . How absolutely ridiculous is that ? A grown ass man making excuses to play unsafely . I told the guys that I want pictures of and when he breaks his hands . I was upset because firstly I brought gear to use and more importantly that this guy was just not making any sense at all ! I guess he never heard of washing his hands ????


We skated for 2 hours before this happened and I was dead beat and pretty much dehydrated from the heat as it is not as cold as our usual rinks back home as I explained yesterday it's hard to keep the cold air in a mall ! This was my last ice time and the one thing I really do regret is that I didn't get a group photo because I was more concerned with someone's safety who was making excuses to try staying unsafe as possible . When we were leaving I shook hands with him and as I was doing it I turned his hand over and said I hope to see you with fingers the next time I come .... the guy laughed and honestly I don't believe this guy would wear gloves even if they were brand new . The other issue with one team wearing gloves and the other not is that the guys from the mall rink had free range with their hacking and slashing and the guys with gloves had to be more careful which is not fair to them . Anyways I had a great time playing hockey there and after the match we packed my (former) goalie bag into Ahmed's car and headed out to eat and have some sheesha which is pretty much an every day thing here . I like the sheesha but I don't really want to get addicted to nicotine , this has been on my mind the last couple days as I'm fully enjoying living the life of an every day Egyptian . If you didn't know this already .... I prefer to be with locals rather then tourists and on this trip I felt more and more like a local . 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Genena Mall

So lets continue from just after we escaped that scam artist near the Sphinx :) there was so much excitement in that one day to just write one post . When we left we headed back through that rough area and we were in a rush to make our 7 pm ice time in Genena Mall .... things were going crazy though with all the messages flowing in over that picture of me in front of the pyramid with my gear on so time was just moving way too fast and it was hard keeping up . We had to eat and the boys needed to smoke a sheesha as people do here in Egypt so we ordered these shawarma plates that have rice in them which I can't remember the name of for the life of me :) regardless the food was fantastic and we enjoyed a minutes rest or so to say . We were automatically running late and for some reason there was either no urgency or we just couldn't keep up with time  ? 


We had to pick up the nets from the rink in Maadi right around corner from the sheesha joint and then drive something like 45 minutes in traffic . Apparently ice times here are not set in stone :) we arrived at the mall around 8 pm or so .... over and hour late for puck drop and the rink and the nets got put together. Just like any mall  rink the heat will definitely be an issue especially with my gear on ... all 60 pounds of it ! Most people don't realize how heavy this gear is lol πŸ˜‚ anyways the ice rink in Genena Mall seems a bit bigger then the one in Maadi but as you see there is a net around the rink that wouldn't be as high as glass and doesn't really catch anything and is not very secure . The kicker is that from what I hear this rink used to have glass but they removed it for some reason or other .... confusing ? Yes ! You know that puck is gonna clock a bystander or break some glass someday hahaha ... well not so funny if someone gets hurt . 


You can see in all the pics that the nets are loosely fit around the rink and the only real solution is to bolt some permanent netting as it's open air above with a few levels of viewing in the upper floors . This rink is on the ground floor of the mall so you can watch from all the floors above us and basically the roof of the mall is the roof of the rink . Probably not gonna have any pucks go up that high but some form of protective netting needs to be secured to enable the guys full range of puck blasting hahaha ! We didn't have like 18 skaters show up this night but there was still around 10 or 12 for 3 on 3 hockey that's great . The guys took some time to get the game going with discussions over using 2 full size nets or 1 with the half nets they have as the other which was the final decision . 


We drew a crowd of onlookers in the mall which was great and you would hope one or two will consider wanting to try the game someday . Some guys played with no helmets which I still say is ridiculous and unfortunately I didn't bring enough to distribute to others . Maybe I didn't bring enough gear πŸ˜₯ .... hopefully someone else will follow suit and bring some gear with them in the future ? Maybe the NHL or IIHF or some other larger charity can help here or maybe I should come back but the bottom line is ice hockey here in Egypt πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬ needs all the help they can get .... so don't be shy if you're reading this ! Our other goalie today was a girl named Yasmina who also played in Saudi Arabia and is fully kitted out and playing her butt off . This girl is truly amazing and I am very impressed with her enthusiasm for the game . 


Yasmina is pictured above with me . I hope I didn't startle the woman that took this pic when I almost fell through the netting on way off the ice midway through our 1.5 hour skate as I was going through the dehydration of playing in a hot country in a mall . My body just can't keep the water I'm chugging in my body and I'm sweating more then just profusely .... break time sorted me out and taking off my clavicle guard helped with the heat a bit . Not many of the guys can rifle pucks like pros here and even if they could they can't with this crazy netting around rink . Really it's a shame they took the glass off around the rink but at least they have ice here . 

After the match we took everything apart and packed Ahmed's car with nets and all the gear along with Ayman uncomfortably in the back seat and we drove to Sun City mall to drop the gear there so we might not be so late for tomorrow's ice time . We had to clear everything through security at this mall and when we dropped the gear we went to the old part of the city which is within these fortified walls . I found this Egyptian oil Kathleen wanted with the help of my friends and then went for a bite to eat at 2 am . This is dinner time here ! Yes for us westerners this is sleeping time but here in the desert heat people don't go out much during day and the streets are filled with locals enjoying life . Children are still out playing at this time also which always seems off when I was a child that age I was forced to bed about 4 or 5 hours earlier hahahah but things are so different here as they should be .  


After we had our road side spicy sausages which were way too spicy , we made our way to a popular sheesha place and of course when I was introduced to the server as a Canadian he called me Canada Dry which seems to be an ongoing nickname for Canucks here lol ! When we left it was around 4 am and that was the end of that day ..... 


Later on I will find the time to write about the ice time at Sun City Mall . Time for some much needed rest . 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Am I the only one ?

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity not only in real life but also in the online world for me . I honestly never though one picture could get so much attention ! We started the day by loading my hockey gear in the car so we wouldn't have to come back later to grab it for our ice time and then we hit the road over to Giza . We didn't exactly take the tourist route as we passed through a very poor area with roads that I wouldn't even really call roads as they were filled with holes , animals feasting on garbage and even on other dead animals . Yeah I'm not stopping round here but in the distance I can see the Pyramids and I am in serious disbelief that my lifelong dream of seeing all this is coming true . 


Lots of security when we got closer and we were asked to remove my bag from the trunk of the car for further inspection . Ahmed carried on in the car and proceeded through gates while myself and Ayman carried my bag up with so many people gazing upon this massive thing . When we got to the security desk the bag wouldn't fit into the scanner so security took me back outside away from everyone and they brought a dog out to search my bag for illegal substances . The dog seemed to like my bag as it began chewing on it and I was kinda nervous that it found something when in fact it was just goofing around . Phew ! Not that I am rolling with anything illegal or anything :) we headed back to the entrance and I was asked over and over if anything was sharp in the bag .... I said no , never sharpen my skates hahaha . We made it in safely and put my bag in the car again and began our tour . We know that taking this pic would need special permission and we figured if we get kicked out it's best to see the sites first . 

Upon arrival one of the local tour guides approached us and just wouldn't leave us alone . Ayman told him kindly in Egyptian that we didn't ask for a tour guide and we aren't paying for one either , the man would not leave us alone and said he didn't want money . We climbed into a tomb of one of the wives of the pharaoh which was really small and we were told to go down backwards and then found out that this was made purposely like this so that every time someone goes down there they would be bowing to the pharaoh , pretty cool eh ? When we got out our impromptu tour guide was still there and at this point I figured to just embrace it as it is kinda annoying . Next thing you know I'm on a camel !!!


I thought I was gonna sit and get a pic while it was sitting but next thing you know the camel stood up and I damn near shit myself lol ! We strolled around for a bit and got a gear view of the pyramids and then paid 50£ Egyptian .... yes I didn't ask for this it just happens and it's not much cash but I'm not excited about paying
for things that I didn't ask for .... it won't happen again and I'm not spending another dime on stuff I didn't plan to do . After the ride we checked out a few more spots then said bye to our guide who we didn't pay but that camel I have no doubt belonged to the guide so he made something . We headed to the car and repositioned it so I could get my goalie gear on with little notice .... I stood in the sand and threw gear on as fast as I possibly could and Ahmed took some photos . We got a bunch and then security approached us wagging his finger at us we stopped what we were doing and it seemed the guard knew I was wearing hockey gear ? Much more knowledgeable then security at airport who thought it was golf or rugby equipment lol . 


The guard told us that they don't like it when the pyramids are used for advertising and yes it seems that it has created some advertising hasn't it ? He said they don't like using other country flags in front of it also and as he was saying this I undressed and grabbed my stick bag covered in flags and asked if I could have one more with a big smile .... he turned around and pretended he didn't see me and I got one last pic .


Ahmed took all the photos for me almost as if he were a professional hahaha ! We then headed to the Sphinx and started taking photos when this guy took Ahmed's phone and took photos for me .... weird . I embraced it then the guy asked for money and I turned sour . He wanted 150 £ Egyptian and I flat out said no ! He then continued to tell me he is a professional photographer and I started getting angry . There is no way I'm gonna pay some bum anything to take a photo with my own camera ! A professional photographer would probably have his own camera instead of just having a rock in his pocket to take this picture below . This guy is a leech and I'm sure there are tons of these guys around . Him and his buddy circled the car almost getting aggressive and I think they knew we were ready to throw down when they finally backed off . We then drove off unscathed .... if you ever plan on visiting don't let this happen to you ! 


When I left I posted the cover photo to this blog online and it went bonkers online . Messages coming from every continent asking about who , why and what I was lol ! I am not gonna say I don't want the attention but instead I would like to deflect the attention on me towards Egyptian Ice Hockey and their dreams of having a national team . As the day went on this picture got more and more attention and at the end of it I hope it helps out my friends over here . I gotta cut this one short as I have some tourist stuff to do today but will try squeezing in a write up about the second ice rink I played on yesterday in Genena Mall . Have a great day everyone . Stay tuned :) 


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Country #36 - Egypt πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬

You know it is never a good idea to get black out drunk before flying early ? I don't seem to understand that concept . Guess I got carried away last night and to this minute I don't know what I did or how I got home but I do know that somehow I set my alarm for 4:30 AM and when it went off I was still absolutely smashed but somehow registered that it's go time . Jumped in the shower packed my bags and jumped into Karl's car and we sped off to the airport . I should have set it earlier because I was very late , honestly thought I was gonna miss this flight and I was pretty much mentally prepared for the let down when I arrived at airport 6 minutes before boarding . When I got to the counter I explained my bags and was waiting for the hefty charge for my 3 bags and rack of sticks I was hauling .... somehow , someway the final cost was £65 ????? I'm not gonna delve further; I paid it with a massive hidden smile and started running . Security was light and I made it to my gate just as people were boarding the flight . Now let's hope the gear makes it also :) 


The flight was not really too exciting and there was no movies or anything for both flights . First one to Frankfurt is always a small plane with no entertainment but the second one was actually to another continent and really on a 4 hour flight you should have something ? Maybe I'm just spoiled by Air Canada since they even have entertainment for short 1 hour flights . Anyways I put my headphones and listened to some old school hip hop and really tried sleeping but was stuck with middle seat between two people that knew each other and yeah they were not really interesting either . My flight arrived late into Cairo and when I got off I tried getting on wifi to message the guys but for some reason I couldn't :( I got my visa upon entry for $25 USD which I have to say is much cheaper then the $125 CDN fee that the private company in Toronto wants .... yeah that's another story , we will sort them out another time !!!! Scam artists at their finest :( 

When I got to the last security point I was asked if I had anything to declare , I checked and said no even though I had 3 massive bags and that rack of sticks . Of course security needed a peak into this ..... they were confused beyond belief . First guy asked if its golf equipment I said it's for ice hockey , he called another security guard over and he said this must be for golf . Again I said no it's for ice hockey , this didn't register with either of them . A 3rd guy came over and I looked at him and said do you know hockey and he said yes then I said this hockey is on ice ! They let me through but I'm sure they are still wondering wtf . Usually you pass that last door and everyone is standing there waiting but it was a ghost town . Still trying to get the wifi I had a guy start bugging me if i need a taxi and I said no my friends are waiting for me . He pointed to the exit for the building and that usual crowd outside the gates was outside the building . Due to security reasons people are no longer allowed to hang out and wait inside . When I got outside I saw 2 guys approaching me wearing hockey jersey , i knew it was Ahmed and Ayman :) 

The guys helped me ram all the gear into Ahmed's car and we were off to his place but first let me tell you about the driving here .... WTF ? There are lines on the roads but they mean absolutely nothing , there are street lights in some places but again who cares . I saw a man with his small child in his lap steering the car , everyone fully talks on the phone , vehicles with more stuff packed on them then you can imagine . It's absolutely mental times ten ! I would definitely avoid driving here . You almost have to be a dick to drive here , I mean there is no waiting and honking seems to be a pleasure since everyone is doing it and oh yeah driving at night with headlights off is a thing here . I don't even wanna understand that one hahaha ! When we got to Ahmed's place we brought all the donated gear up and I could see the guys faces light up . It was an awesome sight for me and I'm very proud of my accomplishment here . Everyone here loves sheesha so we went for some before our ice time . I did visit a Vodafone to sort out my phone which cost me £95 Egyptian which is roughly $6 CDN hahaha . Everything is dirt cheap here ! Also grabbed some toiletries which I though I forgot in Birmingham but I didn't . Everything sorted . Time to hit the ice . 


We got to the rink and had to put the nets together as they had to make them movable from rink to rink which means it is not one solid net but a collapsible one which makes them both easier to transport from rink to rink . The rink we are at tonight is Ice Planet which has been around since the late 80's and actually used to be a much bigger rink .... apparently it was 3 times the size but was shortened to make room for other stuff .... I notice the ping pong tables are busy and I'm hoping the ice didn't shrink for that but I gather that it did for that reason :( as I was getting my gear on people were piling in and there was a great turnout with around 15 skaters showing up for this 3 on 3 ice time which was 1.5 hours . Very mixed group with young kids ,adults and even a young girl playing with no gloves , but that's gonna change today ! I already mentioned that I want to see her wearing gloves for our next ice time . Everyone is super excited and for good reasons as this may be the start of something good for ice hockey in Egypt πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬ let's hope so !!!!


The skill level varies and the stick handling is really choppy but I'm sure it will get better if they had someone actually show them how to play . There are a few Canadians here in the mix and I'm hoping they can show these guys the ways of the game . Like no digging at the goalie when he freezes puck lol πŸ˜‚ I was dying on the ice with no other goalie and playing 3 on 3 meant that I was bouncing back and forth constantly and needed a break . I drank 2 full water bottles filled with cold water and then our ice time was done . The ice itself felt a bit dry but overall I would say this facility is very in favour of the guys here playing ice hockey there . In fact the rink manager is a good friend of Ahmed's and I'm sure he doesn't complain about ice hockey being played there . The guys told me they never receive complaints about them playing ice hockey so that is really nice . 


We had to pack everything up after and then we went for some sheesha :) I mentioned that everyone loves this stuff here right hahaha ! It was around 1 am when the guys decided to take me for a traditional Egyptian meal called Kushari which is mixed pasta with fried onions and tomato soup type sauce . It's good but it's kinda late for me to be eating ? Over here dinner time is actually late , when I told them it's around 6 pm back home they laughed . Seems to be a western thing eating so early because a lot of countries I've been too have that same idea of eating much later then we do I Canada (typically) . I couldn't finish my meal and not because I didn't like it or anything . Just wasn't in the mood to eat so late so I felt a bit bad . The guys ordered me a bigger plate too thinking I was dying of starvation lol . We got dropped off at Ahmed's car which was near sheesha bar and we called it a night . Ahmed is suffering from indigestion and I really hope he feels better in the morning . 


Monday, April 24, 2017

2 For You Small Heath

What a day we had yesterday . Don't even know where to start :) woke up showered and left . Today is like Christmas morning for any footie fan in Brum ... the second city derby is today and the city is buzzing hard ! I'm shaking with excitement pacing about just ready to go !!!!! We all met up at Minty's and he made us breakfast and it was well needed because we are gonna get pissed hahaha . After we ate we called a taxi and headed straight to the pub . Today we are off to The Sacred Heart . 


Place is rammed to the tits and we had to show our ticket at the door to keep them blue noses out . Don't want any of them inbreds near us or trouble will definitely kick off and I'm sure a bunch of people are looking to do some ass kicking on the day ? Not me though :) I just wanna have fun . It took 40 min to get a pint as the lineup was big . Those idiots that rode the Kidderminster bus to Brighton with us in November were all there being idiots as usual :( each and every one of those idiots jumped the queue moaning how they should get preference over every one because they go every week . Listen up though ok , I don't f'ing care how much you are there ! I'm sure I've paid way more to watch the Villa then any of those ✊️πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ’¦'s (wanka) . The whole lot of them make me ill , they had no manners when we went to Brighton smashing up the bus and things haven't changed as they smashed glasses and acted like total idiots . Anyways they should be ashamed of themselves but like the idiots they are they don't realize it . 


We grabbed 3 pints each when we finally got served and set up shop in one of the corners and got some drinking in before the match . Then out of the blue Dave Wordley showed up and we hung out until kickoff . Great seeing you buddy ! When we got to the ground we walked up the stairs to the Holte ... I was fighting back tears , love my Villa ! It was so exciting to be there, nothing like this match out there and this is the center of the universe for me today :) when I got to my seat there was this guy standing in front of my seat ... I said hey I think you're in my spot and the guy arrogantly said "I'm a season ticket holder " I said yeah I don't care your in my spot . So instead of this douche saying sorry and moving on he tells me he's a season ticket holder ? I then noticed there were 3 of em taking up the 2 seats . They tried pushing in front of me but I wasn't having it so I stood as far forward as possible and crossed my arms and stood firm as they tried jostling with me , they even switched amongst themselves trying to muscle me but there was no chance these 3 pussies were gonna get my spot . F that ! They stressed me out and I didn't want to call the steward because I'm not like that . Anyways the first half was less then exciting and seemed like an even match . At the half it was 0-0 


Went down to grab a few bottles of beer , chugged mine then headed back to my seat . The 3 idiots came back and started pushing me asking me to shove over and that was that .... I lost it . I told them listen I'm not moving so you fuckers can take my seat and I'm not pushing my mates over to make room for you dickheads . I got in 2 of the guys faces and I think they knew i was gonna smash their heads in and then just right before I clocked him Reece grabbed me and switched spots with me . I think everyone near us knew they were being dickheads and pretty sure some people would have liked to see me pound these guys .... I honestly would have fought all 3 of them . No joke . You don't really wanna see me when I get like this . You 3 are all very lucky .... 

The guy standing at the end of row said hi to me and right away I knew he was not from here . We introduced ourselves and he ends up being a Canadian from Toronto !!! Karl was his name and we ended up hanging out the rest of the day :) ok back to the game . I was still angry and only one thing would make me happy now and that would be a Villa goal . Then next thing you know Gabby Agbonlahor comes off the bench . Wouldn't it be amazing if he scores ???? Well not much longer after he did and we all went absolutely bonkers . WOW ! Gabby scores against Blues in front of the Holte ... I'm never gonna forget this for the rest of my life . This is one of the best moments in my whole life !!!!!! Still buzzing about this .... I even gave the 3 douche bags high fives . They were hesitant after I yelled at em lol ! 


We planned to go into the Holte Pub after and I didn't hesitate to get there , put my head down and walked there as fast as I could before it got full . I was one of the first ones to the bar lol . Unfortunately Minty never showed up :( but we carried on and kept on drinking . We stayed until we were pretty much last ones there then we went to the Aston Manor for pints 🍻 at this point all I know is that I got wasted .... then my memory goes blank . Completely wankered , don't know how I got home but I do know it was around 11 pm which is way later then I planned but you know how things are when having fun hahaha ! Hoping that someone can help refresh my memory later and I'm really really hoping that A) didn't do anything stupid B) didn't pass out in a pub ..... for some reason I think and feel like I probably did both . Oh well πŸ˜” 


Almost forgot to mention my good friend Aideen who we hung out with after the match with her friend Helena ( hope that's her name) we had a good time as usual . Now hopefully my memory comes back to me hahaha ! Yesterday I achieved hangover status for my flight today YAY !!!! UTV :) 

Short trip to Sheffield

What a whirlwind of a trip this has been . Ok so I'm a bit behind on my posts and I'm on a plane now flying to Cairo so I found myself a little time to do some writing . Slept really well in Sheffield at Daz and Sarah's new house , when we got up we took our sweet time and went to the Tinsley Transcafe BUT we went too late and it was closed :( yeah it's pretty much a tradition when I'm over . Well the tradition is that we eat there and not get there to see it closed .... we actually thought it might be shut down but it wasn't . I'm sure they just closed up early when breakfast ended . We had to eat so we went over near the rink to have a bite to eat . I had a burger and we then headed over to the largest ice hockey shop in the whole UK πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ 

This shop is called Puck Stop and it's across the road from Ice Sheffield , its big ! Great selection of goalie gear and everything you could ask for to play the game :) this is probably one of the biggest hockey shops that I have seen outside of Canada πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ . I ended up buying myself a long sleeved shirt .... Cross Check was the label on the shirt . Never heard of em but I will look them up at some point . We killed quite a bit of time in there then went to the rink to watch the university tournament that was going on .... we ended up watching first period of match between London and Edinburgh . The hockey was ok but nothing fantastic , they roll 2 lines only which was interesting and for the most part the level was quite even between the 2 teams . Couldn't stick around though ... had to catch bus :( 


Now I'm just hoping this bus stays on schedule as I have plans to go hang out with Mike Steede aka Minty . It was his bday on Friday so I'm gonna head over have a few pints and shoot the breeze but first I have to get to Birmingham with my National Express coach ! Bus showed up on time and the ride was pretty uneventful aside from having some girl fall asleep on me .... yes again ! And she slept well , I must be comfy LOL ! 


So I made it to Brum on time ! Had to take taxi to Smethwick to drop my hockey kit off , take a quick shower and head to the shop for some beer before jumping another taxi to get to Minty's place . I got there in good time and Minty made me a nice home made curry . He's quite the cook ! We hung out back of his house and made plans to meet back at his the next morning before heading off to watch the Villa . At around 11 pm we decided to call it a night and quit while we were ahead :) so back to Smethwick where Karl was lounging .... we hung out for a bit , watched some hockey and crashed out . Man oh man am I ever gonna need my rest ! 


Have to thank Dax and Sarah for being quality hosts and thanks to the Sheffield Squeelers once again for allowing me to skate with you guys . And of course I can't forget Max .... he was sad to see me leave so soon . Sorry buddy ! See you all soon enough .