Thursday May 5, 2016
Yesterday was exhausting however, fulfilling! We started out for the day by dropping my grandson off at school. They are all finishing exams now with the final day being May 22nd. I took a picture of the front of the school from the car and was admonished, in Arabic, by a parent dropping his child off. Since I didn’t understand not A WORD he was saying, my son-in-law handled him in a most respectful and diplomatic way. By the time he was finished speaking with him, they were like bosom buddies! Seems his son and my grandson are classmates, so they became the common ground from which this bond was fostered.
We then proceeded to the Egyptian passport/visa office, where my daughter needed to apply for an Egyptian passport and I needed to have my 30-day visa extended. The hours of operation for the passport are 8 am-12 noon. Then the hours for the visa are 2-4 pm. Oh, I forgot to mention the traffic was horrendous! There was a 400-pound fee for the passport that had to be paid at a particular bank. So my daughter and I got dropped at the beauty salon while my son-in-law went to pay the fee and run some errands.
We were the first to arrive to the Ramaj Salon at 10:05 am, so I was finished within an hour, since I simply had my hair shampooed, blow-dried, and flat-ironed. And that was it – no oil on my hair – before or after – after washing out all my expensive shea butter shampoo, conditioner, and argan oil I had JUST put in my hair 2 days before! I will remember NOT to do that in that order again!
While waiting for H to pick us up to go back to the passport office, my daughter and I ventured across the street to a “Ladies Only” café. It was small and a little stuffy, but nicely furnished. My daughter informed the attendant that we were just checking it out. There was a play area for small children and also a bar with stools, in addition to the tables and loveseats where patrons could relax. They boasted Wi-Fi access and had a nice menu of food and drink to be had. There was no one there, so I asked for a cup of tea, just to patronize. The attendant brought the tea and a bottle of water (which I didn’t ask for). I inquired if there was milk/cream or any tea biscuits available. I was provided a full cup of milk and a pack of tea biscuits and proceeded to have my refreshment. My daughter inquired as to whether anything else was on the menu i.e. croissants, and was told “No, the chef is not in yet” She also asked if there was Wi-Fi available, to which the reply was also “No.” My daughter then asked for a cup of Nescafe. As the attendant prepared it, H called my daughter and said he was outside. My daughter let the attendant know we had to leave, invited her to have the Nescafe and asked how much we owed. The attendant said there was a 20-pound minimum charge per person and what we had cost 22 pounds. So we needed to pay 62 pounds! A minimum charge FOR WHAT? My daughter began to engage in conversation with the attendant in Arabic. The young lady got on the phone with who I imagined was the owner. My daughter’s phone was ringing incessantly. It was 11:20 am and my son-in-law was growing impatient, since we need to get back to the passport office by 12 noon. I plopped 22 pounds on the counter and left my daughter there, haggling in Arabic with the attendant.
Shortly thereafter, my daughter emerged and joined us in the car. Unbelievable we were expected to pay a “minimum charge” for being in a “café”, unprepared to accept patrons with no food or even Wi-Fi, no air conditioning, and no written or verbal notice of this “minimum charge.” I asked my daughter what happened after I left. She said she explained to the attendant how unfair it was for them to expect a 20-pound “minimum charge” per person without informing us, made a comparison of them to another exclusive ladies’ café, told her we would not be coming back and left! Khalas (means “finished” in Arabic – I’m catching on)!
We reached the passport office 20 minutes later. I stayed in the car while H and A went in. There was a WHOLE ‘nother situation that occurred inside there about my daughter’s birth certificate. Fortunately, H had one in the car and came to retrieve it (I tell you, that young man is a planner!). I could only imagine the expression on the clerk’s face when he returned in minutes with the document as opposed to having to come back another day! From the way H and A explained it, Egyptian civil servants hate their jobs and love inconveniencing others with their passive/aggressive antics!
We went to pray at a nearby mosque, run some errands, and returned at 2 pm to apply for my visa extension. My daughter and I remained in the car this time. After about 45 minutes to an hour, my son-in-law came back to the car. We have to come back 8 am on Sunday! Whew!
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By this time, it was going on 4 pm, so we proceeded home. I was hungry! I asked if we could stop at Cook Door, the burger joint, and got a big old juicy burger with everything on it! It was delicious – unlike any fast food burger in America. You could see the burger was freshly made and put on the grill; the lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle (the sweet kind) were all fresh! And the bun was that same old, fresh bread we get on a daily basis here in Egypt. Yuuuummmmmy! I thought I couldn’t eat the whole thing – but I did. Needless to say I skipped dinner, so graciously prepared by my oldest granddaughter before we arrived home.
I contacted my blog consultant and attempted to Skype or Facebook messenger him to get some advice/suggestions/direction for improvements I want to make. There was a bad internet connection which was very frustrating. Plus, I downloaded a beta Skype app instead of the standard version but didn’t realize it until we after we gave up trying to connect. We opted to have him make a video to answer my questions and send it to me today. So look for a new and improved look at murielblogs.com to come soon!