Driving in Cairo is like -- well, imagine the worst traffic jam you've ever been in and then multiply it by 100. Egyptians don't pay attention to traffic lights, streetcars, turn signals or lanes. So imagine . . .
Last night Hassan's friend Shabaan came over with his family to our apartment. We went to a local outdoor restaurant/sheesha bar (water pipe) bar and Hassan and Shabaan smoked sheesha, I craved for a cigarette which I do on occasion and Shabaan's wife who is lovely but speaks no English and I very little Arabic just sat there and smiled at each other while Mira and Maryam (Shabaan's daughter) played.
After smoking two sheeshas Hassan and Shaaban suggested we go to Al Abbas al Akkad -- now get this the "k" is not pronounced at all in Egyptian Arabic so it's pronounced (Albessra Edd). This area of Cairo/Helipolis is very popular for shopping. So we drove our used car (which we drive for such occasions) and Shabaan was driving his "rental" car (long story) following us in the traffic jam. Hassan becomes this alter-ego person when he is driving and riding in the passenger seat is not for the feint of heart. It is quite normal to come within millimeters of touching another car on either side of you. Anyway, the car in front of us stopped suddenly and Hassan hit his brakes really hard and then the car behind us smashed right into us. We haven't had this car long, it's a used Hyndai Excel but we use it for driving in case of accidents. Anyway, we caused a large back-up on Albessra Edd Street. So now we've experienced our first car accident -- I've heard about how things are handled here.
The man who hit us came out of his car - luckily he has money. Hassan drove directly to the car shop and got a quote to get the car fixed. So now he's been gone all day today getting the car fixed. There is no such thing as car insurance here, actually insurance in general is pretty non-existent except for some health insurance. So the man who hit our car did the right thing and paid to get the car fixed.
The point of the story is that I still need clothes and shoes and need to plan for another day. I think I'll ask a friend from school to go with me -- she lives around El Bessra Edd and she's about one size smaller than me at this point.
Another person came and looked at the apartment today when Hassan was out. Let's see there was an Egyptian man and another man who I thought spoke English but he's Egyptian and speaks Italian. In any event, whoever can find us a nice big apartment/house here in Rehab can buy our apartment. Hassan thinks the incentive program will work, I think we ought to just put an ad in the paper to buy an apartment in the area where we live and rent out our apartment and just sit on it until it doubles or triples in value.