The Sacrifice begins

You could be forgiven for saying Egyptians just can't wait to begin the Sacrifice - the annual celebration of Abrahim offering to sacrifice his son for God's wishes. "The streets will run with blood," said friends ghoulishly.

So it was a bit of a surprise when I came home tonight for a few hours' power napping to find that a few people just couldn't wait, and my doorman, Hosni, was busy slaughtering a sheep in the foyer, with a butcher and a third strapping fellow to hold down the wriggling brown sheep.

"Hello, would you like to take a photograph?" asked the butcher in excellent English (weirdness number two).

Then he invited me to do as the locals do and dip the palm of my hand in the animal's blood at print my hand on the wall. Which I did. If this is a taste of things to come (in about four hours' time) I can't imagine what tomorrow brings...