copy Excellent Adventures in Egypt

Enter here to share Joni's adventures living and working in Cairo courtesy of the U.S. Fulbright cultural exchange program. Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization. - Mahatma Ghandi

1/13/2005

We spent the first two nights at the Shark’s Bay Bedouin Lodge, a once-funky, beach-hut style, older resort located near the original Sharm town center. Mary arrived the night before and reported a great “dawsha” (noisy fracas) at the upper huts where we had planned to stay. So we moved into complex’s lower cabins where we enjoyed relative quiet - whenever the pick-and shovel terrace renovation work outside our window was not underway. Mary’s window-sill dialogue with the workmen (in Arabic) at 10 pm on an otherwise blissfully quiet Sunday evening: “What are you doing?” “Fixing the wall.” “Do you know what time it is?” “No, what time is it?” “It’s 10 pm.” “Ah.” Work continues. “Do you do construction work at 10 pm in the middle of a hotel where people are sleeping?” “Ah.” Work halts. Mary retreats into the room and shuts the window. Loud conversation ensues as the workmen discuss whether they should be working at night. Mary opens the window and tells them to stop talking. Quiet settles in. Twenty minutes later, the picks and shovels start again. Mary puts on her clothes and stalks out the door. “Khallass! (Stop it, enough!)” “But tomorrow is my vacation and I have to finish this work.” “Your vacation is not my problem (followed by a number of comments that are probably not repeatable in polite company - Arabic is supposed to be a marvelous language for insults). Picks and shovels are hastily packed away and the workers retreat to the lower terrace where they huddle together for further consultation. Mary returns to the room. Being Egyptians, the conversational volume quite naturally rises to shouts. Mary flings open the window and tells them to stop the dawsha. The workmen flee - returning the next night for a second similar - albeit briefer - exchange. Customer service is a concept that has not quite made it into the Egyptian hospitality’s sector’s collective consciousness.  Posted by Hello

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