Lilly’s birthday is November 5th. We had collected a few things to send and our friend Stacey Conners from home who works for FedEx set it all up for us. It was scheduled to be sent Monday the 12th, but, as the Egyptians say all the time “welcome to Egypt!” Nothing is ever simple. What should be simple is an adventure. There are large adventures and small adventures. This one was small.
Catherina from the school, who is wonderful, looked up the FedEx address and she wrote it out in English and Arabic. After school was done, Judy and I found a taxi, showed him the address and off we went.
We got to a street in an area called Smoha. He stopped the car and indicated:“we are here”. He gestured that the actual address was right around the corner so off we went. Around the corner was a ramp. At the top of the ramp was an elderly security man. We asked if he knew where FedEx was and he, in Arabic, gave us all sorts of helpful instructions. We set off again. There seemed to be nothing there.
We found another fellow. We got the FedEx point across to him. We pronounce FedEx differently so that took a few minutes. This man, and this has happened so much I am convinced that it is a cultural characteristic, walked us all the way to the FedEx office. Such a nice thing to do.
We thought that we were home free. But, oh no, we then were told that we had to go to the FedEx head office but, not to worry, said the smiling young lady, “it’s just around the corner”.
Off we went. Again. And we found it!
So in we go. It turned out to be the shipping department as far as I could tell. We gave an employee our package and Stacey’s documents. No problem so far. Then the guy says: “ Passports please.” Our hearts sank. Then Judy in a stroke of genius says: “Will our driver’s license do?”. “Sure”, the guy says. Excellent. This is going to work out. “But I have to inspect the contents to make sure the inventory list is true”. I remember some chocolate money I threw in at the last minute. Sweating a little bit. They beaver away at the package. Then I can see them taping it all up again. We’re over that hurdle apparently.
He comes over to us and gives us a bill. 75 Egyptian pounds. We cobble together the money. I give it to him. He says: “ No. It is 750 pounds, not 75.” Ten times what we expected.“ We gave you the invoice that we have to pay already.” I said.
I was getting a bit agitated at this point. One of the other guys intervenes and they have an animated conversation. Our guy comes back, cheerfully marks “paid” on the package and tells us it will go out that night. He also apologized a few times. We went out to dinner to celebrate.
And there we go, simple as pie, the package is on its way to Toronto, Canada!
Happy birthday sweetie!!