Kaddee’s Cairo Chronicles

August 21, 2009

Things are Different Here

Filed under: Learning Curve — Kaddee @ 10:58 pm

NSTIW – we had been home for 4 days.  During that time, I’d freaked out numerous times because of the HUGE, shiny and expen$ive shopping experiences that were necessary.

On the day in question, I’d decided it was time to COOK AT HOME.  (For Cairenes you know how strange and impressive an idea this was!)  I’d found a marinade I wanted for our steaks and set out to QFC (large, chain grocery) to get the necessary stuff.  Which was EVERYTHING.

Soy sauce, garlic, ginger, beef broth, hoisin sauce and sherry.

OK – armed with a list (all y’all who know me can stop snickering about the list!), loins girded for the big market syndrome, I headed out.

On the way to QFC, I realized, “Oh Crap!  I’m going to have to go to the State Liquor Store to get the sherry!!  Damn – now where is the SLS?  I think there is one…..

Miffed that I had to make ANOTHER trip to ANOTHER shop to get the ingredients, I soldiered on.

Still miffed, I got my cart and walked into the QFC.  As I did, what to my wondering eyes should appear?????  A display, as tall as my shoulder and, perhaps, 2 meters wide, of………………..

You guessed it………………..


OMG – I can buy WINE (and thusly, sherry) AT MY LOCAL GROCERY STORE!!??

I got misty-eyed with the realization.

Welcome in America!

August 13, 2009

Recycling overload

Filed under: How it works — Kaddee @ 7:49 pm

Our shipment arrived.  The boxes were a tad beat up, but nothing was falling out or OBVIOUSLY damaged from the outside (unlike our boxes from Namibia – but that is another story).

Nineteen boxes take up most of our living room – full or empty.

When they arrived – full – there was a mere path through the center of the room.  It has gotten no better since unpacking 15 of them!  As a matter of fact, I think it has gotten WORSE.  Before, all the haget was CONTAINED, now it is piled in every room of the house – mostly in my “office”.

We have no shelves or other horizontal surfaces to pile things on, so all piles are on the floor, making navigation difficult.

So far, only  one casualty of the trip!  One of my alabaster plates split and crumbled along a lovely translucent vein in the stone – oh well, could be worse.  My alabaster lamp made it!!!  As did all the ceramics and the mashrabiyya screen.  Mabsoota awy.

In attempting to “settle in” we bought chairs!!!  We can sit down comfortably in the livingroom (surrounded by boxes and stuff).  YIPPEE

With most of the boxes (not the plastic totes) empty, we have a GIANORMOUS pile of cardboard (from the boxes and wrapping of stuffs), a HUGE box of paper (from wrappings) and another IMMENSE box of bubble wrap to deal with.  I think the dump will take the boxes and paper as recycling, but what to do with the bubblewrap??  Where is TypO when you  REALLY need her??

August 6, 2009

Ramblings from ?home?

Filed under: Being There — Kaddee @ 1:35 am

It is true – we are back Stateside.

I’ve been relatively quiet lately due to lack of internet in some of our cool vacation destinations, only having one computer for both gozi and me (sharing is HARD), being busy just enjoying the vacation, and getting home to no communications opportunities in the house (no landline phone, no internet, no TV, no….).

So  now (still no internet – using the wifi at the Seattle Public Library – GO LIBRARY SYSTEM!!) we are ?home? – back in Seattle, in our (empty) house – reacclimating to ?normal? life.  I think not.

  • Our totally cool vacation adventures make the “mundane”  return to Seattle disappointing.  Although there IS the Space Needle, it doesn’t really compare to Angkor Wat.
  • Not surprisingly, my shipment from AUC has turned into a total CF!  The office that takes care of these things says that there is nothing wrong, however:
    • My shipment arrived in Seattle BEFORE I did.  Only by a few hours, but by the time we got to our messages, there was already one from Lufthansa Cargo.
    • The cargo company was calling because my shipment arrived with no paperwork.
      • For those who don’t know – that means that all the pain and agony we went thru to make a detailed (kinda) inventory of each box, the multiple customs forms and power of attorney forms etc. were simply not sent.  My shipment arrived in the States as 19 boxes/630kg of “Personal Effects”.
      • This has caused  no end of problems – including my having to go to the cargo office to print out my inventory and then to customs to get the boxes released from AGRICULTURAL hold.  Apparently the US customs officials are MOST worried about plant/animal importation problems so if there are no papers, it gets held in agriculture.  Joy of Joys.
    • Lack of modes of communication (see above) has made the sorting of these problems more… exciting.  We have mobiles (Thanks Pat!!) and Skype,  but no internet at home to check Skype for messages.  Getting this worked out.
    • We can’t take delivery  of the shipment (should it be ultimately released to the forwarding company to be delivered) until next week due to scheduling issues at the house.
  • We (I guess I should say, I) made the mistake of suggesting to stop into our favorite watering-hold for “just one or two” the day after we got back.  OOPS.  We stayed a LONG time.  Friends kept insisting on buying us drinks.  I wasted most of the next day with a hangover – my own doing….
  • Shopping here is TOTALLY WEIRD.  Everything is BIG and BRIGHT.  There is TOO MUCH of everything and it is all TOO EXPENSIVE.  The shops DON’T ALLOW hagg^H^H^H negotiating on the prices!!!  Who do they think they are!?
    • Not news to anyone who has moved recently, but we’ve spent EXCESSIVE amounts of money on NOTHING lately.  Stupid stuff like cleaning supplies, paper towels and toothpaste.  It is mind-boggling.
  • Also not surprising, but frustrating, is that I don’t fit in a lot of the clothes that I left here!  That severely limits my clothing options until the shipment arrives (see above), which is not likely to be soon enough.

Ahh, welcome home!  Change is hard.  Life is an adventure.

I guess I live in interesting times.