Monday, February 15, 2010

Egyptian Style

By Claire
We decided to say something at the front desk—the guy usually says “Hello my darling” when we approach. We asked about getting our room cleaned since it had been two days since last they did anything. He was on it instantly, calling to someone and giving them the key. We saw a guy hustling upstairs and our door open while he worked. Meanwhile, we sat under the computer modem hoping for a connection. We got one intermittently and while Chuck searched for some ways to possibly fix our computer problems, I suddenly realized that my purse and Kindle had been left out in the room. I went up to our room with a certain amount of determination, not wanting to make a scene by racing up there. Mustafa was sitting in his usual chair watching me as I entered the room. I burst out laughing at what I saw.

Note my watch, hat and glasses


I guess he was making up for the lack we had experienced. I went out and found him all smiles waiting for my reaction. The room smelled strongly of some kind of awful perfume he had sprayed around. Chuck came up and enjoyed it as well and Mustafa was pleased with our reaction. This is the guy I asked for more toilet paper and he nodded and smiled like he knew what I was talking about. Chuck grabbed some from the custodial closet we had spied when it never materialized.

We decided we needed to drink. We haven’t had anything alcoholic in probably 6 weeks, we just haven't felt like it and it just seems odd in a Muslim country. Beer was in order. Egyptian beer. We walked over to our now favorite restaurant, Funny Mummy, and ordered two Sakara and some garlic bread. Why did I think I would get French bread with butter and garlic? What we got was really tasty but it was kind of a pizza made of butter and garlic. It was perfect with the beer. What we find amusing is the box of Kleenex that is always put on the table once we’ve ordered (napkins perhaps?) and the candle in the cut off water bottle.

Funny Mummy restaurant

I only wish I had taken a picture of our silverware, wrapped tightly like a mummy.

I also wish I could imitate the guy outside the restaurant who works at luring people in. Earlier, I walked over to see if they had alcohol. He said yes and “Bring your husband and we will save you a table.” He has a line of gab I really wish I could record. “My friend, we have the fish and the chicken and we will seat you by the sea or in the shadow you will love it here.” This is all spoken without pause in a low, confidential tone.

They play really great music mixes and tonight it was some kind of electronic mix that we really enjoyed. It’s never blaring and no one is speaking loudly.

Tomorrow we will tackle the fax problem. We must get that letter extending our storage time for Homer to the Customs Warehouse. Every time we try to fax it we get a message in Turkish. I have emailed our hotel in Istanbul asking for help with this. Once I have a connection again, I hope Ebru at Hotel Surahan will be able to help. I emailed her this afternoon hoping she can call the Customs Warehouse and figure out what is going on with their fax number. But, our internet connection is still working only some of the time. It’s always something.

In the meantime, I just finished a great book: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I plan to start the second in the trilogy immediately but I was very disappointed to see that the third one is not available until May 25!

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson


Diane said...

Now I know what to do with my 64 ounce plastic coke bottle--a candle holder! We should send that one in to Hints from Heloise. Seriously, it's very sweet, especially your special room decoration. Cross cultural communication can be such a delight (sometimes). Keep the faith!

Karin said...

I loved Mustafa's "art work"! What a joke to see your hat, watch and glasses used in such an artistic way...ha, ha! How about that toilet paper around it! Hope you saved it for future use!

We have found in our travels, it is not easy to understand other culture's jokes and sense of humor...but it is usually there, as seen with Mustafa!

I really like the fact you share the books you are reading...I add them to my (already long but hopeful) reading list.

I hope you get your "Homer" situation settled soon. Even though we are in Prague, if we can help in any way, let me know.

Karin from Paros in Prague

Chuck and Claire said...

Oh yes, we saved the toilet paper. It's like gold.