Posts Tagged ‘beach’

Photo: Mariam Ehab.
View of Mandara Beach in Alexandria, Egypt, where floating ropes help the visually impaired enter and exit the Mediterranean Sea, Aug. 23, 2022.

You may have noticed that I love stories about Sweden and Egypt. That’s because two of my grandchildren are half Swedish and two are half Egyptian. How lucky is that!?

Today’s story comes from Alexandria in Egypt. Miriam Ehab covered it for the Christian Science Monitor.

“In a sunny spot along the bustling shores of Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city, a group of beachgoers splash and frolic in the sea. But this is no ordinary beach.

“Holding onto floating barriers and ropes, safe in the knowledge that attentive lifeguards are nearby, almost everyone here is blind or visually impaired. Mandara Beach is the first of its kind in the Arab world’s most populous country, specially fitted so it’s accessible to swimmers with physical disabilities. For many, it’s more than just a day of fun and relaxation – it’s a rare window of empowerment.

“Inaugurated in 2021 for people using wheelchairs, Mandara underwent another renovation last year. When the revamped beach opened again in June, at the height of Egypt’s summer season, thousands of citizens with visual impairments could also safely swim in the calm cerulean Mediterranean waters. …

“ ‘This is the first time I’ve been to the sea,’ Sarah, one beachgoer, says with a beaming smile. ‘I was very happy and did not feel afraid at all when I was swimming.’ … 

“Some 12 million Egyptians live with a disability, roughly 3.5 million of whom face visual challenges. In 2018, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared the ‘year of persons with disabilities.’ … Parliament responded with a slew of laws, including the provision of state-subsidized health care to people with disabilities.

“Other benefits included tax exemptions on the purchase of cars, educational and medical materials, and imported assistive devices. Legal fees, whether for plaintiff or defendant, also were lifted for people with disabilities. And in 2021, Parliament approved tougher penalties for the bullying of people with disabilities.

“ ‘The laws from 2018 are excellent,’ says Hassan Abdel Qader, head of Alexandria’s Blind Association. ‘But the problem is in their implementation.’

“The fact is, say campaigners, that many public spaces and means of transport still lack accessibility, assistive technologies are hard to come by, services for people with disabilities are patchy, and discrimination is not uncommon. Still, change is coming, slowly. 

“Some months ago, Jihad Mohammed Naguib, an employee at the Department of Tourism and Resorts in Alexandria, was inspired by something she heard from the governor of Alexandria, Maj. Gen. Mohamed el-Sherif. He noted that there were never any blind people on the beaches, which are the pride of the coastal city. …

“ ‘The idea ​of ​allocating a part of the beach for the visually impaired … was put forward after we inaugurated the free Mandara Beach for people with motor disabilities and the success that it met,’ Major General Sherif says in an interview. And so, with funding from the Rotary Club of Alexandria Pharos, the work began. 

“Floating ropes with plastic balls were installed on a flat portion of the beach, so that swimmers with visual impairments could enter and leave the water holding these ropes. People in wheelchairs could use a modified ramp, the end of which was fitted with a metal box submerged in the water, ensuring their safety while in the sea. Lifeguards and a first-aid unit were also available – which isn’t always the case on Egypt’s public beaches.

“Those directly affected – and most likely to benefit – were consulted from the beginning. ‘We proposed some things that they have already implemented, and others that they promised would be implemented in the future,’ Mr. Qader says.

“Those suggestions included a whistle for children who feel endangered, and a rope that extends from the entrance of the beach to the water, so that even if a visually impaired person visits on their own they can reach the sea without assistance. …

“The beach is the latest in a recent string of hard-won successes for Egypt’s visually impaired people. The Egyptian Blind Sports Federation already runs several sports teams, including soccer, weightlifting, judo, and showdown – a type of air hockey for blind people.

“But gaps remain.  ‘Most services, and recreational and sports activities for the visually impaired, are concentrated in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, while other Egyptian cities have little capabilities,’ says Moamen Mostafa, the former head of public relations for the Blind Association of Egypt. …

“That makes Mandara Beach all the more poignant for a group who have difficulty accessing recreational and sports activities.  For 52-year-old Mohamed Attia and his 40-year-old wife, Sahar, both wheelchair users, this was the first time they could enjoy the beach together. 

“ ‘I am happy to go into the sea for the first time in my life, after I could only watch it from afar,’ says Ms. Attia. 

“The couple were delighted to find a group of people who helped them move their wheelchairs into the water. … 

“Mr. Attia says … ‘Those who had this idea have a compassionate heart. We really wish this project to continue and spread on all the beaches of Egypt,’ he adds. 

“That wish may come true. Buoyed by the success and widespread acceptance of Mandara Beach, Major General Sherif says there are plans to open a similar facility in Alexandria’s Anfushi Beach. From there, he hopes, the idea will spread through the country.”

More at the Monitor, here.

Read Full Post »

Monarch caterpillar bulking up on milkweed in order to work a miracle.

Plenty of Monarch butterflies swooping around here lately, and I keep wondering if the hungry caterpillar I captured on video is one of them. I hope so. As much as I love birds, I hope they eat something else. We need our Monarchs.

In the first photo below, we see that something has been doing a good job of pollinating the sunflowers. Maybe Monarchs? Pollinators have also been working on the Black-Eyed Susans scattered through a field along the Greenway.

The Rose o’ Sharon and the Trumpet Vine are flourishing. So much beauty! I had to bring some of it indoors — Russian Sage and Potentilla.

Next are views of a lily pond, Fresh Pond, and a West Side New Shoreham beach, including long shadows from artists of various ages who work with stones. There’s also a shot of the Mohegan Bluffs.

And for good measure, another glamorous nature scene, but one that Caroline H. sent from Utah.

Read Full Post »


In July I took pictures in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York and will be sharing them bit by bit. These are from New Shoreham, Rhode Island.

The first one is a view that caught my eye through a bathroom window. You have to grab these shots when you see them.

Next is the endangered wildflower Blazing Star, which is doing very well in the protected Land Trust area. Then we have an offbeat signpost. People seem to get especially creative in summer. There’s a feeling of “Well, why not?”

In the backyard of the tiny Three Sisters restaurant, you see some of the goodies that go into the delicious sandwiches. In the front yard, Queen Anne’s Lace. By the way, today I helped chef extraordinaire and walking partner Sandra pick Queen Anne’s Lace so she could make a jelly that the late taxi maven Thelma used to make. Here is a recipe we found from the Edible Wild Food site. If you make it, be sure you know what you are picking. As my husband reminds me, there are plants that look like Queen Anne’s Lace that are not safe to eat.

At John E’s tughole, I loved the shadows beneath the still water. And at the beach I saw dragons in the driftwood. (Do you see them? I admit, the photo would benefit from sharper contrast between the sleepy dragons and the background.)

As the tide came in, it drenched my favorite Tom’s shoes, given to me by my daughter-in-law some years ago. I may have to get new beach shoes soon.

No New Shoreham post would be complete without a photo of the Painted Rock. This one features a Ninja Turtle. Read how the rock first came to be painted for a Halloween prank in the 1960s, here. (And for some of the better Painted Rock art, check out Tumblr, here.)

The final picture shows the excellent job the state is doing to plant beach grass and protect the island’s west side from erosion. (Can you see the burlap-like covering holding the plants in place as they establish themselves? It’s a tried and true conservation technique at the shore.)












Read Full Post »

There’s just one thing you probably can’t figure out from this picture story: what the guys are singing …

“All my exes live in Texas/ It’s why I hang my hat in Tennessee.”






















Read Full Post »

I find so many more photo ops in summer than in winter, although that may mean I am not paying enough attention when it’s cold out. Surely there are great shadows everywhere.

Here are a few pictures from the last two weeks.

From New Shoreham: a field with Fresh Pond in the upper left corner, yellow lichen taking over a stone wall and trees, roses growing by a gate, children warming up in the dark sand. In Providence: a shady walk on the west side of the Providence River, a painted butterfly on the path, a swan preening, a distant view of the so-called Superman Building, public art with a muskrat fishing (?), a poster explaining the art project. In Massachusetts: shadows on a tree, a chipmunk on a lichen-covered rock.








































Read Full Post »

A bouncy boat ride in heavy rain last night. A warm sunny morning. Here are a few photos from my last island weekend of 2015.

An especially nice autumnal theme for the Painted Rock. Whoever painted it was lucky to have their artwork survive nearly three days. That would be unheard of in the summer, when birthday messages get painted over by wedding felicitations several times a day.

Down the bluffs on a steep path. Waves breaking on the beach. Tide pools.

I was delighted to find a little urchin (I don’t think I ever had before) and a slipper shell with a smaller slipper shell hitching a ride.







Read Full Post »

The little state with the big heart. Showing an intriguing old house in Providence, and island scenes in early morning and late afternoon.

This is the peaceful side of things, contrasting with the stories we just heard from an exhausted policeman we know who spent the last five days trying to control unruly 4th of July crowds, working from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. “And we have only two cells to put them in,” he said in exasperation.

So hard to understand why, with all this beauty around them, people would do so much damage to themselves.








Read Full Post »

On this cold and rainy day, I am remembering how Saturday in Rhode Island felt like summer. Here are a few pics: dawn, a flowering shrub, white iris, a beach fence, a cobwebby view of my younger grandson and me, the harbor, the boat’s wake in the sunset. (Erik gets credit for the jeweled-cobweb shot.)








Read Full Post »










Inside my neighbor’s lotus flower is something that looks like a shower head. I think I will make a new year’s resolution on it (the school year, say): “Because you can never imagine what’s inside the lotus, try to be alert to the subtext.”





































lotus down-the-street-bloomed-082814




Read Full Post »










I have a bunch of island pictures for you again, having had a few days to take my time with things. The slow pace makes a nice change, but I wouldn’t want it every day of the year.

At least it has helped me make a serious dent in the first volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s multivolume memoirish novel.

The pictures don’t need much explanation. Wonderful clouds. Tiny jellyfish like diamonds where the waves pencil their retreat on the sandy shore. An approved path down the bluffs to a rocky beach.

Rhode Island taught me what the English meant by “shingle,” the smooth round stones that Matthew Arnold describes: “Listen, you hear the grating roar of pebbles, which the waves draw back and fling at their return up the high strand.” I first heard that sound in a Misquamicut motel at night, decades ago now.


seaside-summer-evening - Copy



























Read Full Post »

Even though she lived in Paris for several years, Melita is frequently startled by how kooky and fun the French can be.

Today she told me she just learned that they’ve been making a Riviera-type beach along the Seine for the past 12 summers.

I checked out Wikipedia: “Paris-Plages … is a plan run by the office of the mayor of Paris that creates temporary artificial beaches each summer along the river Seine in the centre of Paris, and, since 2007, along the Bassin de la Villette in the northeast of Paris. Every July and August, roadways on the banks of the Seine are blocked off and host various activities, including sandy beaches and palm trees.” More here.

The mayor’s website notes, “The summer transforms Paris. The cityscape dons greenery and the riverside thoroughfares become car-free resorts. The Paris Plages (Paris Beaches) operation kicks off on or around 20 July and lasts four weeks.  …

“A Seine-side holiday. That, in a nutshell, is what Paris Plages is all about – complete with sandy beaches, deckchairs, ubiquitous ice cream sellers, and concerts for French and foreign guests. …

“The first beach [opened] in 2002. It spans three kilometres through historical Paris, and features open-air attractions (rollerblading, tai-chi, wall climbing, boules etc.). Refreshment areas, play areas and deckchairs are available for your time out unwinding by the river.” More.

Photo: Wikipedia.org. Many amusing pictures here, too.

Read Full Post »

Someone has finally recognized seaweed for the artistic creation it is.

That someone is Josie Iselin, whose book An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed was reviewed by Dana Jennings in the NY Times Science section Tuesday.

Jennings begins, “The secret to finding unsuspected beauty, artists and naturalists will tell you, is in knowing how to slow down and really look. The writer and photographer Josie Iselin certainly knows how to do that, as she shows in her beguiling new book, An Ocean Garden.

“In her introduction Ms. Iselin … writes, ‘I fell in love with seaweed at the kitchen counter.’ (She would bring back samples and study them there.) And it vexes her that others don’t share in her tidal pool crush. …

“The 100 color photographs here, though, just might convince some people …  The book focuses on seaweeds found in Maine and California, both states she has lived in; the species names tickle the tongue in the same way that the seaweeds themselves can tingle bare feet: knotweed and bladderwrack, bull kelp and green scrap, pepper dulse and sugar kelp, Turkish towel and Irish moss.” Read more about the book, here.

We’re headed to the beach this weekend with John and his little ones. Maybe we will be able to identify some seaweeds there.

Photos: Josie Iselin
Clockwise from top left, seaweeds from Josie Iselin’s new book: Macrocystis, Ulva lobata, Calliarthron tuberculosum, Egregia menziesii, Gloiosiphonia verticillaris and coralline algae.

Read Full Post »

Photo and Art: Andrés Amador

Much obliged to Paul for posting about this sand-painting artist on Facebook.

Andrés Amador, of San Francisco, creates lovely designs with a rake. He maintains that his work is “more about the process and less about the result.”

The website Viral Nova explains that Amador “uses a rope as a guide so that he can make the geometric patterns. … By raking up the wet sand at low tide, he is able to make contrasting sand colors.”

And he apparently takes orders — for marriage proposals (“Love Letters in the Sand”?) and even for corporate team-building exercises.

If I lived in San Francisco, I might ask Amador to create a message about something — maybe peace or kindness or helping the homeless. Some year, a sand painting could be my donation to the San Francisco-based Homeless Prenatal Program, an outstanding organization that Suzanne told me about.

Check out the collection of Amador’s other works is at Viral Nova, a site that bears watching.

Photo and Art: Andrés Amador
I caught my breath when I saw the inevitable happening to this painting. With sand art, it seems that “Ars longa, vita brevis” becomes “Memoria longa, ars brevis.”

Read Full Post »

More summer days and nights.














Read Full Post »

There’s nothing like good weather in Rhode Island in July. Good for walks and going to the beach. Good for a hardworking fishing industry, too.

Here are a few recent photos.







Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: