I do believe I have recovered from my adventures on Monday to a degree that I can report on them.
On July 7, Aymn, Sharon and I headed to Cairo - I had to get my passport renewed - it expires in September and I do not think Aymn will be back before then - so I insisted that it be renewed before he headed back to Libya - he had planned on leaving on July 7 at night - so nothing like waiting until the last moment - but that is Aymn - he never 'plans' his trips back to Libya - he just up and leaves - usually when things are getting too stressed here he hightails it back to the quiet of Libya. Sharon tagged along because she wanted to do some shopping at a place where you can get crafts made by refugees from the Sudan - we had been introduced to their crafts at a bazaar that the group we belong to held - and we are hooked. We found the place - after not much effort - only to find out that Sharon had misplaced her wallet - so she had no money. Unfortunately all I had was the money I needed to pay for the passport - it is more expensive here than at home - SIGH. She decided to stay at the shop and window shop while Aymn and I ran after the passport. Aymn dropped me at the Consulate - and I found out where I could go to get pictures taken - we tried to get them done here in Alex - but I knew they would not be acceptable - talked with my buddy Margaret and she told me that she had to go and get hers redone - at a place not far from the Consulate - so I decided not to waste money getting them done here. Got into the Consulate and was going to have to wait to talk to the only employee - seems the receptionist knows nothing - but a fellow that was also waiting kindly gave me the address of the closest place - only about a 10 minute walk - Aymn reappeared and we took a taxi to the place - got my pics taken - such glamour shots - no smiling at all - then we walked back to the car - got all the papers I needed - Aymn signed Amal's name - I had to have a guarantor - seems really stupid to me - I already have a passport - should that not be good enough - but no - because I had it done in Egypt - I am not the same person - and of course the only person that I knew that was 'qualified' was Amal (my co-wife - she is a dentist) - Aymn asked her if she would do it - she said yes - so he signed for her - welcome to Egypt. Then back to the Consulate - was so nice - wonderful air conditioning - it was hot in Cairo. Had to wait for about 5 minutes - then I got called into the 'secured' office - so nice not having people barging in front of you - with just a little question. Took about 5 minutes to get everything dealt with - they took the old passport and my birth certificate - not really happy about that - have to head back on the 28th to get the new passport and the old one - need the old one because it has my residency permit in it - and I am really hoping that I can just go and get it transferred over into the new one - here is hoping - nothing is ever that easy here in Egypt - but I can always dream.
We went and got Sharon - she said that in the craft shop there were more crafts than just the ones from the Sudanese refugees - but neither one of us had money - so we headed back to Alex. I ended up driving - Aymn was too tired - could not stay awake - must admit that is something I find so 'interesting' - I enjoy driving - I can make the trip both ways in one day and not be too bagged by the end of it - but Aymn can only manage driving one way.
After Aymn left on Wednesday Sharon and I talked about it and we decided that we would head to Cairo to shop on Monday. According to their website there are two shops - one in Zamalek (which is where we went with Aymn) and one in Maadi. We decided we would head to the Maadi one - and see what it was like. Well we found Maadi - found the address - but they were not there - so we headed back to Zamalek - now let me tell you driving in Cairo is a real challenge - the roads are a mystery - I was very proud of myself though - I only made one wrong turn - did not have to drive all that far to make a U-turn and head back. Found the shop in Zamalek with no problems - I am so grateful that I pay attention when I am being driven around. As we were leaving after our shopping expedition I asked what was the best way to get to the bridge we wanted to get to - unfortunately I missed the turn - and we ended up driving around a bit - but I managed to get us back to the bridge - much more quickly and much easier than Aymn did - man we drove around for at least 20 minutes when he was driving - took me less than five to find the bridge I wanted to get me out of downtown. WHEW. I am very proud of myself - I drove around Cairo - only took one wrong turn - found my way to where we wanted to go and got us out of there with a minimum of effort. Way to go.
On the way home we stopped at Carrefour just before the toll booth on the desert road. Must admit the desert road is much nicer to drive on now. They are busy resurfacing and widening the road - so when they are working on it it is a royal pain - the road is divided - four lanes each way - so when they are working on a section - you have to drive on the other side - two lanes - with the speed dropped to 60 kph. But starting in July they have ceased construction for the holidays - much nicer driving.
I had taken Suzanne, Mom and the kids into Cairo to spend the day at a 'theme' park - much against my better judgment I allowed myself to be suckered into doing it on a Thursday - I spent a bit of time with them at the park and then took myself to visit a friend in 6th of October - not far away. We did not get away from the park until 4:30 and the traffic was a disaster - a trip that usually takes 3 hours took 4 - we were stuck in traffic for over 30 minutes because of a big traffic accident and Egyptians are the WORST rubber neckers I have ever encountered - traffic was backed up for at least 5 km on either side of the accident. And then of course traffic was very heavy because Thursday is like our Friday and it seems at least half of Cairo heads to Alex Thursday after work - ARGH.
Anyway just thought I would post about our adventures in Cairo - I think I could even make it to the Consulate on my own - Aymn has asked his friend Mohammed to take me - because I did not want to have to drive it on my own - but after Monday - I think I could do it - so if he is unable to take me - I will head there on my own. One one hand I will be much happier having Mohammed drive - but on the other I think it would be more fun to do it on my own - at least then I could shop if I wanted to without feeling that I was bothering Mohammed any more than I already was. I'll keep you posted.