Oct. 29, 2007 – Cosmopolitan Hotel – 11pm

Egypt Travel Blog

 › entry 14 of 27 › view all entries

Every time I go on a trip something seems to go wrong, and it’s interesting to see how creative I can be in solving a problem that would be easy back at home. Below is the drama of the day:

Every morning at the same time I walk to my Arabic class and pass many of the same people. Today, one of the local shopkeepers said his typical β€œhello” and replied with the same and continued on my way. But this time he called after me, β€œMiss, miss!” Thinking he wanted to sell me something I ignored him and pressed on through the crowds and the crazy traffic with its non-stop honking horns. A moment later he had his hand on my back, saying something in Arabic. Startled, I told him emphatically that I was in a hurry and turned to keep going. But then he grabbed my arm and pointed to the skirt that I had just bought the day before, and now I noticed the zipper was down, revealing a slice of my left hip and a peak at my pink underwear. Embarrassed, I thanked him and continued down the sidewalk, pulling my top over the zipper area and switching my large bag to my left side. I made it to school and told my teacher Angy about my problem. She said it was typical with the clothes here and that she knew of a local shop that could fix it.

At the tailor that Angy recommended, a man named Ahmed greeted me. I showed him my skirt, which I had pinned together, and he called a colleague (also named Ahmed) over to help figure out what to do with this dilemma – because I was wearing the skirt. After debating the issue, Ahmed left and returned with yet another Ahmed and a large white bed sheet. β€œHere, put this around you and take off your skirt.” Oy vey! I’m supposed to take off my skirt in a small room in front of three Ahmeds?!

I found a small adjoining room – basically a closet filled with scraps of material, light bulbs, and broken pipes – took off my skirt and wrapped the sheet around my waist. While I was in the room, the three Ahmeds made the decision to add another button to the skirt to tighten the gap from the broken zipper β€” a temporary fix since I couldn’t leave the skirt there. Fine, I agreed with the plan.

I sat in a chair and waited as the three Ahmeds argued about which button to put on and where exactly to add the button. One Ahmed was getting very frustrated and told the other two to let him handle it. He ended up adding an additional button next the original so the zipper wouldn’t look broken. It worked for a quick fix and I was able to at least get back to my hotel.

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