My karma paid off in truck loads today. Santa delivered. Whatever metaphor you want, I scored today, and I scored BIG.
I don’t know what I have done to deserve, but I am gonna take it.
Today was the Annual European Christmas Bazaar. It is held in early December every year here in Cairo. All the embassies and development agencies and NGOs and companies that work in Cairo get together and rent out the tennis courts and surrounding area at the Nile Hilton.
They set up tables and sell Christmas-y type items that are indicative of their respective countries. They also sell other, non-christmas related items that typify the country in question.
We didn’t know about this affair last year. Some friends were talking about it this year and we decided to go. Kaddee wanted to go shopping for some small christmas items, and I had heard that they had imported beer and wine.
I figured, I would sit in the beer garden and drink what I could get my hands on.
Now, if you have read the blog, you know that I am kind of a beer guy. We spent 2 weeks in Belgium, the sole purpose of which was to drink beer. You can read my trip report starting here.
Anyway, I had figured if I was lucky I would get a couple of German lagers. Maybe a darker christmas ale. Hoo boy, was I wrong. And I gotta say, I have never been happier to be wrong than I was today.
First off, I almost didn’t even go. It has been a late night weekend for us and we haven’t gotten a lot of sleep. Combine that with Kaddee’s usual end of the semester cramming-everything-in-at-the-last-minute, and we were both tired.
We were supposed to meet people outside our apartment building at 9am.
I rolled over and looked at the clock and it was 8:45. Uh-oh. We gotta get moving. Maybe I’ll just stay in bed. I decided to get up.
Jump up, do the college shower (brush teeth and hair, quick swipe with the deodorant, baseball cap and good to go).
We take a taxi to the Hilton and the traffic is all screwed up. Morning traffic usually isn’t this bad. Well the traffic was screwed up because of the BUSES of people going to this Bazaar.
Many of the ex-pats, and almost all ex-pats with children, live in a part of Cairo called Ma’adi. Which is, on a quiet traffic day, at least a 1/2 hour drive from downtown. So many of the various organizations, embassies and companies, rented buses to transport people.
We get into the Hilton and I buy my ticket to get in and I am handed a ticket and a slip of paper with the rules for purchasing alcohol.
It said that purchases were limited to:
- 2 bottles of hard liquor/person
- 12 bottles of wine/person
- 2 “boxes” of beer/person
Now I wasn’t really awake yet, and I was very confused by this. I looked at one of our friends who told us about it and asked “What do they mean ’2 boxes’”. She replied, I guess that means 2 cases.
My knees felt week.
My mouth dried up.
It got very warm.
I stood in place and tried to parse this information.
I asked, “you mean they are selling european beer and wine TO GO?”.
Her response was
To quote my good friend ChrisD, “Why was I not informed.”
There was a lot of “I thought you knew” and “well yeah, why do you think all these little old ladies have wheeling suitcases.”
So in we go. Kaddee and I split up to locate beer.
She found it first.
At the Belgium table.
She called me on my phone to summons me.
I arrived at the table and they had 6-packs of Duvel, Leffe and cases of Hoegarten.
My knees got weak again.
In comic book fashion, my jaw dropped to the ground, my eyes bugged out, my hat jumped off my head.
And the really unbelievable part: I was speechless.
I really was having cognitive difficulties.
I could turn around and see the Egyptian Museum. And then turn back and see Belgian beer.
I could look down the crowd of people, and see women wearing headscarves. And then I could look back and see Belgian beer.
I could look at another table and see hand painted ornaments with santa riding a camel. And then I could look back and see Belgian beer.
I think I stood there for what seemed like forever trying to process all this.
Finally, the brain engaged and I got traction.
“How much [at this point I am pretty sure my voice cracked and I sounded like an underage youth trying to convince the nice man at the liquor store that I was of age] can I buy.”
The nice man said 2 boxes per person. A box being a case of 24 bottles.
I had no way to carry the beer. The nice man said, that’s ok and waved over one the Hilton porters.
I bought 3 cases of Duvel which took all the cash we had and was as much as the porter and I could carry.
I hightailed it outside, got in a taxi and went back to the apartment.
Put the beer away, grabbed a rolling suitcase and headed back for my last case.
They were sold out of the Leffe and Hoegarten [which is ok with me really.] So I bought another case of Duvel.
And some Hungarian sausage.
And some Italian sausage.
We celebrated with some nice cheese croissants and an Irish coffee.
Kaddee and the women folk went off to another sale at a pottery shop.
I went home to hoard my gold^H^H^H^Hbeer like a dwarf in a mine shaft.
It is going to be a VERY Merry Christmas, this year.