Thursday is the new Friday in Cairo, and what does one do on a weekend evening, you might ask? If you’re me, you go to the Carrefour hypermarket to purchase a plethora of Christmas decorations.
City Center in New Maadi is a shiny, new mall built around an all-inclusive supermarket. It’s a french chain, so its pronounced carfoor, but if you’re me you regularly butcher it and end up telling everyone you’re going to kara-four or car-four. What can I say? I took Spanish.
Lucy, Ben, Henry, and I hailed a city cab, and by hailed I mean Lucy called 2 hours ahead of time so they would know to drive into the desert to come and get us.
I was on a mission, and upon arrival we immediately wrangled a ginormous cart from the corral and I proceeded to the center of the store where I had spotted the decorations last week, nearly avoiding crippling small children with my cart-driving skills on the way.
Seeing the crazed look in my eye, my friends eventually scattered and there was nothing left to stand between me and bucketfuls of tiny, deranged Santa Claus figurines, silver pine cones, and enough Christmas lights to tastefully dress the Pyramids of Giza.
I grabbed a medium-sized faux tree for the coffee table in my apartment and added it to the growing assortment of baubbles and trinkets in my basket. Fake snow, check. Garland, check. Santa wall hangings, double check. I forgot about a tree skirt and had to make due with some fabric I had picked up in Tanzania in 1998. I knew I brought it for a reason!
Navigating my way to the checkout counter, multiple children pulled on their mom’s skirts and exclaimed on the splendor of my decorating choices.
Getting a taxi back to campus was easier, and in a fit of joy (most likely induced by the high levels of lead in the decorations) Lucy and I decided to sing every Christmas carol we knew. I gave the driver an extra 5 pounds for putting up with me, but that probably wasn’t enough.
So here I sit now, with my little nook in Egypt all jazzed up, and enough hot cocoa mix to supply the entire women’s side of the dormitories. Next order of business...Christmas party!