Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Yes, We Can

I know that you probably haven't slept in anticipation of the great question, "Can Pam open a can yet?"  The answer, "Yes, she can!"

John arrived home yesterday after an hour and a half long visit to the airport to claim our luggage.  He had called our friend, Ehab, who has a larger van that could accommodate all of our bags.  Ehab and John walked to the entrance of the airport and were told they would have to enter a different way because they weren't passengers.

They complied and found the obscure door that led to a small office with a few men inside.  They immediately knew what he was there for (I wonder how?) and asked him to fill out some customs forms listing the contents of our bags and signing that he had received them.  John said that they were all quite polite.

They instructed him to go retrieve carts and pointed the direction for him to go.  He returned with 2 of them and began to load the bags, but not before they asked him to open the first tote.  He did.  They asked what he had inside and he told them household stuff.  They investigated and indeed did find dishes, sheets, etc.

He thought he was good to go, but they asked to see totes numbered 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.  By the seventh tote, they were convinced he was being honest and told him not to worry about the 8th one.  Ehab told John that they are nervous about what's happening in the country and they are trying to be extra careful.  We certainly understand.

He called to let me know they were at the entrance of our apartment complex.  I went to meet him and began rolling the totes down the long sidewalk to our door.  I dropped off one and turned to be greeted by two girls from the village carrying another tote.

"Uh…thanks," I said.  One was probably 14 and the other around 9.  The oldest one made her way into our apartment and was going to make her way through the hallway.  I told her that she could place the tote right inside the door.  She kept walking and I thanked her again and told her that this would be fine.

She shrugged and began a long stream of Arabic.  I had no idea what she was saying.  She looked at me waiting for a response.  I just gestured for us all to go back out to retrieve more totes.  Soon another girl came with one as well as John.  The 5 of us continued to roll the bags until they were all inside the front room.  

We introduced ourselves and thanked them for their help.  The older girl began again in rapid-fire sentences.  I think she was asking if her mother could clean our apartment.  I think.  We told them all thank you once more and John walked them out to the gate.  The landlord's family was intrigued by all this so they were outside too watching everything going on.  Always a 3-ring circus with us.

Like kids at Christmas, we began unpacking dishes, vitamins, pots, pans, candles and my photo collection.  Once the candles were lit and the frames in place, it could really begin to feel like home.

We worked like beavers for about 3 hours until the last tote had been emptied and John had them all nested in a side room.  I sat down for a "union break" and asked John if we could go into town tonight.  After all, I had been cooped up for several days now and frankly I needed out.
The Market

He smiled and said, "Let me get cleaned up and we can go."  I think he would have preferred a sharp stick in the eye rather than go out after a long day, but he has gathered wisdom over the years and has a keen sense of knowing when his wife is on the edge.  Good man.

We called our friend, Yusif, to ask his opinion about us being out for a bit.  He said that it should be fine since most people assume we're tourists.  John asked him if he should put on shorts and wear a tight t-shirt.  Yusif laughed.

We walked along the corniche (road along the Nile) and found it almost empty.  The road was still barricaded keeping cars from driving through.  Most stores were closed.  John and I wondered if anything would be open.  We walked passed one barricade that had soldiers sitting in chairs talking amongst themselves.  I diverted eye contact and kept walking.  Men were posted on tops of buildings keeping watch from above.

Two men asked us separately if we'd like a horse-drawn carriage ride.  We thanked them and declined although I thought it would have been the most awkward scenario ever riding in a carriage through the soldiers and barricades.  I appreciated their fortitude though.

Neighborhood Mosque
We rounded the corner to step into the door of McDonald's and noticed that there were no lights on and no one inside.  Bummer.  We had walked a long way in hopes of finding something open.  This was our last hope.  I went to the door just to double-check and to my happiness it was unlocked.  They just hadn't turned on the lights for evening yet.  Woo hoo!

I saw the manager who is one of my closer friends since I've met her now 3 times.  She smiled and welcomed us.  We ordered our meal and sat down to discuss what we had just seen.  (For those of you wondering, one night of dining out is permitted in my Menu Plan Writ O' Order.)

Soon a couple more families arrived and children were running and playing with their new Smurf toy that came with their Happy Meal.  (I hate Smurfs with all my being and they follow me to Africa.)

We finished up and walked to the KitKat dukon (small store) to see if they had any Coca Lights or Bebsi Diets.  They had a few Coca Lights in cans.  I nabbed those and told John that the supply was getting smaller and smaller.  I only knew of one other place in town that carried these.  Detox is coming.

It was almost dark by now so we decided to take a taxi back to our flat.  The driver was the quiet sort so after the initial greeting he slumped down in his seat and began weaving his way through the back streets to avoid the barricades.

A few cars were out but mostly the streets were still empty.  We were told our city was under curfew and then we were told it wasn't, however, most people are acting as if it is so we are following their lead.

Closed Stores
We returned to our gate and were surrounded by some of the village children who had heard about "The Great Tote Carrying" by their friends.  We had been reported as "a friendly" which gave them courage to see for themselves.  We chatted with them for a few minutes and made our way back to the flat.  It was time for everyone to be in…we think.

I went to the kitchen to pour ourselves something to drink and thought, "Will we be able to make it in this troubled place?  Can we forge friendships in difficult times like this?"  I glanced at the counter and saw a shiny new can opener that we had discovered in our luggage.  It's a small thing, but it made me smile.  If I can now open a can, then I am able to access soup, which means I can make Popover Chicken which means I can invite people over, which means…Yes, we can!


Today's BOGO Blog:  Happy Love Feast

Empty Streets

New apartments under construction

No comments:

Post a comment