So I was able to get all the electrical issues from a few weeks ago finally remedied. By 3 o’clock on the day they were scheduled to come at 11am, I finally left the house in a huff and just wandered Maadi for a few hours to cool off (figuratively, of course). Ron dropped an email to the head of facilities regarding the no-show and we got immediate response. The Director promised to get someone there the next day and even called me to verify that I knew they were coming. So the next day I had two electricians, the maintenance supervisor for the compound and even the Director of facilities show up. They were here for several hours, and managed to connect the ground wires in the kitchen (which merely meant to me that the little do-hicky tester thing Ron showed me, indicated everything was connected correctly), and they fixed Ron’s bathroom zap-switch. So no more exclamations after his showers.
I’ve been having some “fun” tracking down whom I need to speak with regarding painting our new apartment, finding out what paints I can use, and learning what furniture is available for us to possibly swap out once we do move. I was delighted to learn that I was completely wrong in assuming I would have the option to pick from a mere handful of paint colors. I was able to borrow the paint sample book, which encompassed pretty much all the colors available in any hardware store back home.
Then I had to find out whom I could speak with to see the apartment before we move in. After a string of emails, phone calls, and referrals, I got through to Madgi who is the Maintenance Supervisor for our new building (good person to keep on speed dial, I figure). I arranged for us to come see the place last week. My intentions were to take some pictures, see the colors of the floors and counters so I could better pick matching or non-clashing wall colors, and take some measurements as I’m planning on having some furniture and stuff made (poor Ron has no idea of the breadth and depth of my plannings).
So last Wednesday I took a shuttle into the embassy, ran up to Facilities to borrow the paint sample charts again, zipped into the APO (post office) to return some items from our continued online shopping ventures, and met Ron who had hopped out of work for an early lunch so he could join me in checking out the new apartment. We grabbed a cab, and shot over the bridge to Zamalek, up to the Marriott and around the side where we hopped out, and walked two blocks over to our new building, loving called “FBOZ.” (Not sure what it stands for, but the government does so love its acronyms.) We will be in apartment 1B, which is on the second floor at the back. Like Europe, Egypt has Ground floors, then First above that, Second, Third, etc. We walked in to find the place empty, except for the 27 men diligently painting all the walls. I stood in the middle of the living room, with the embassy furniture piled in a mound in the middle, wrapped in heavy brown paper, staring at the institutional eggshell walls. “Do you like the color?” one of them asked me. I looked at him, smiled and said, “No,” as I held up the 700 paint samples. I went through, took my pictures, some measurements, and we explored our new space. There are positives and negatives in comparing it to Maadi, but I think we’ll really like the area and we’ll just have to make more of an effort to see our friends in Maadi – instead of hopping up to someone’s apartment at any time of day like we’re living in a dorm. I spoke with Magdi afterwards and told him I’d make the paint decisions within a few days so he could let me know how much it will cost (the embassy will paint it white for free, but if we want color, we apparently pay for the paint – so I just have to see how much it will cost).
We opted to give Cairo a break on the July 4th weekend and spent it in relaxation at Ain Sukhna (again) with two other couples from the embassy. I definitely needed some time away from all that is Cairo, just to detox and refocus. I was feeling a bit bogged down by the heat, dust, dirt, poverty and animal suffering. We’d been told that moving overseas infects people initially with a Honeymoon-like feeling of joy and excitement, but then is followed by a harsh reality of the differences from what you’re used to and I was definitely in that space. So Ain Sukhna helped me tremendously. (See photo of the view from our room.)
Ron enjoyed himself in the waters of the Red Sea, working painstakingly with the kids of our group in finding fish, hermit crabs, small crabs, and dead blue jellyfish. For the same reasons Ron was so enthralled, I opted to spend most of the time at the beach under the umbrellas reading a book. We swapped places though and I thoroughly enjoyed the huge gorgeous pool and waterfall while Ron sat on the side and read. Maybe we’ll be able to better-coordinate our water interests in the future (though I don’t see my fish-phobias departing anytime soon – therapy may be in order).