Thursday, 1 August 2013

Another Baby Step

Didn't expect to see a store with this name in this part of the world...

Ladies shopping downtown 
 Last night around 8 pm we received a call from our friend, Yusef*, to let us know that he wouldn't be able to join us for more appliance hunting.  Instead he was sending one of his friends, Mahmud* at 9 pm.  We had not ever met Mahmud, but you learn to roll with the punches.

At 8:30, Yusef called again to let us know that Mahmud would be closer to 9:15.  No problem, we said.

Souk area decorated for Ramadan
Sure enough Mahmud rolled up to our place, greeted us and took off toward downtown. He's a father of 3 or 4.  John heard 3 in the description and I heard 4.  At least we got that he's a father.  As he continued talking I wondered why I was having a difficult time understanding him.  One reason is that he talks very fast.  I currently only understand slooooooooooow Arabic.  Second, we're in the south!  South Egypt, that is.  I suddenly had sympathy for any foreigner landing on US soil somewhere in Arkansas and trying to understand what was going on.  What if this guy is speaking with a Southern drawl?  

John continued to make chit chat with him as we crawled through Ramadan traffic.  Mahmud pulled up to the appliance store where we had visited before.  The owner greeted us with a nod and sent us toward the back.  A younger man that I'm assuming was his son talked to Mahmud about a refrigerator and a cooker (stove).  He had them in stock and they could deliver them TONIGHT!  I was very excited about this.

I was ready with the money and was in the "Git R Done" mode.  He smiled and pointed to chairs for John, Mahmud and I to sit and wait in his sparsely decorated, cramped office.  "In stock," didn't mean "in store."  They were coming.  Sigh.
Magazines, snacks. propane...

Mahmud and our host began talking about politics but lost me after the first third.  It takes a lot of concentration and energy to listen in another language.  It takes even more to come up with intelligent questions to insert.  This is all after 10 pm.  Not a good combination.

We heard a persistent horn announcing the arrival of the appliances.  Hooray!  We inspected the items and paid our bill.  The driver would be on his way to our flat shortly.  Mahmud asked us if we would like to go anywhere else.  John asked him if we could purchase a line to go from the stove to the propane gas bottle.  He nodded and began driving toward the souk (open air market).  He found a parking space but just as he was about to exit the car, a blackout occurred for the whole downtown area.  (A common event for Egypt these days.)

I wasn't sure what we should do.  He told us to stay in the car while he went to go find the part.  John wanted to go with him, but he said it would be better if we stayed with the car.  He returned from the dark market with a stove part in hand.  More success!

A very nice produce stand.
We were finished with this evening's list and made our way back to the flat.  A few minutes later the men arrived with the items.  I ran to unlock our flat so they could bring the stuff in.  I turned around and saw a giant refrigerator box coming toward me.  One man had it on his back and was carrying it while the other "help" guided him in.  Next came the stove.  

They were going to drop and run, but I smiled my best friendly smile and asked if they could unbox them and put them in the right places.  They complied and I  laughed inwardly thinking that their wives would want the same thing.

Around 11:30, the appliances were in and the flat was locked.  We thanked Mahmud profusely and said goodnight.

Another baby step toward setting up life again...spending time with new-found friends over a meal cooked with my shiny stove, a cold drink from the fridge and sharing the Bread of Life.  Alhamdulillah! (Praise be to God!)

*Not their real names


Today's BOGO Blog:  Going to Church in Cairo


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