Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sometimes things just aren't meant to be

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.




Anonymous said...

You are a brave person to venture out into that traffic. At least it sounds like everyone understands that there are no rules to the road, some help that is. I hope you get to the shopping area soon for some retail therapy! Love and hugs to all, The mom of now 2 year old Maggie

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jim also becomes a different person when he is behind the wheel... wait, never mind, he is always like that... sorry. I hope you all were not hurt... it sounds like Disney's Mr. Toads Wild Ride.. I am sorry your car broke and really sorry you did not get to go shopping... That is my favorite pasttime... please email me your address, I do not have that or your phone number,.. I have a new pc so All my other stuff is in the one that won't turn on.. you know how that karen , mother of 5 going on 30 Luke.. Matt is coming tomorrow..YEA!!!!! WITH FIANCE.. NADIA.. she is from Tehran.. pretty nice girl... xoxoxoxo karen

Layla said...


Sorry about the accident!!! I am just glad you all are alright. THIS is why I don't drive here. Even in Alex, it has become such a pain in the neck. Mo LOVES to see how close he can get to another car. It used to drive me crazy. Now I just go with the flow.

Welcome to Egypt!!! ;) LOL!!!

It has become SOOOO cold here! But I am lovin every min of it. Would love to call you this weekend. Email me and let me know when is a good time to call. We need to catch up!!!

Love and hugs!!!

Anonymous said...

A car accident overseas?? How scary is that!! Glad you are alright and that the man had money and followed you all to the repair shop. Hope all is well with the cars, house and family! Laura

Marian said...

thanks for the comments! I'm happy to see you all reading the blog. Love, Marian

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work