We finally moved out of the Mayfair hotel today, after eating our last delicious breakfast of bread and egg and cheese and coffee or tea and enjoying our last morsels of internet on the peaceful balcony amongst the trees (so we thought/hoped—more on this later. Cliffhanger!).
It was fairly simple for me to get out of my room….I just shoved my laptop into my backpack and neatly gathered my trash into a plastic bag and that was that. For my future roommate Shawna, however, things were a bit more complicated since she’d not had the luxury of losing most of her luggage. She was burdened with a gigantic black bag that had originally been over packed by about 30 pounds, giving you a hint of its size, and a smaller bag that was probably filled with rocks.
However, we rose to the challenge of hauling these things down the stairs, down the sidewalk full of booby traps and curbs, and to the street in order to get a taxi, accomplishing it with minimal complications and only the beginnings of major sweat stains.
The taxi we had hailed pulled over to the curb, breaking away from the street full of typical traffic, and out popped this bespectacled gentleman of perhaps sixty years. He hobbled around the car to the curb and took a look at the enormous black bag and realized it would not fit into his trunk (we understood this moment later on). It then appeared that he was indicating to the back seat of the car, which we knew wouldn’t fit the bag, and was also speaking to us in perfectly clear Egyptian Arabic, which we of course could not understand.
As we remained befuddled as to what he was trying to do, this sturdy Egyptian woman wearing an abaya (robe-like thing) over her pajamas strode over to us looking like she had just come out of her kitchen. Her face was friendly and familiar like a gingerbread house, and her eyes were all crinkly as she looked at us with a mixture of pity, mirth, and the desire to help naive foreign girls. She and the taxi driver stooped down, grasping and then heaving the suitcase onto the top of the car with the same ease as if she were kicking one of her kids away from the stove. I have a feeling she was actually held back by the help of the taxi driver.
Finally understanding what had transpired, I and Shawna thanked the pajama-d strong lady and our grandfather-like taxi driver profusely. She brushed it off lightly and walked away with a knowing smile. We got into the taxi, our lives changed forever.
I have been incredibly impressed by how genuinely friendly and helpful some people have been here in Egypt, and to complete strangers no less. I look forward to more of these experiences.
My baggage came today.