Hi Ho, Hi Ho
Anyway – I am allowing myself to be distracted.
Watching the line of men walking in rather dusty moonlight (it looks like pink fog until you breathe) I started to sing the first few lines of ‘Hi Ho Hi ho, it’s off to work we go”. It actually wasn’t very appropriate as most of the men were big – but there were seven. It was a bit of a concern that they were in the street at all, and very odd after midnight. It was even more worrying when they stopped just in front of our house. Our guard – Ahmed was on that night – opened the gate and let us in.
As we swung in through the gates I realised that others had started to dig a long hole right across the road just beyond our house. I said “I wonder what they are doing?” It was a rhetorical question. As the car stopped in front of the house Mohammed our driver said, “They are putting new computers in the school opposite and need to put new electricity lines.”
He always is out of the car and has my door open before I can even pick up my bag. Possibly it helps to sit behind him – Bob has to be behind the flag which flies from the other side of the car. As I got out of the car I asked “Mohammed, how on earth did you know that?”
“Madam,” he said, “this is Egypt.”
Several days later, I am in Kuwait. I am teaching five days of quilting classes here, then five in Dubai, then five in Abu Dhabi. I was in all three cities last year, and it is exciting to be back.
I just walked through the mall next door. It is packed with Armani, Prada, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Gucci – shops and handbags and clothes and the most extraordinary shoes. I saw a wonderful bag that I thought my daughter would like and priced it. Almost one thousand US dollars – and I had thought it was small and I might be able to afford it.
Cairo is also full of Gucci and Chanel and Prada bags – and they are all knock-offs. They sell between twenty and ninety US dollars. A friend was recently shopping in one of the ‘bag cities’ with three Australian friends, one her pretty young niece. This lass had a bag on her shoulder – a Chanel, from Malaysia. Definitely a fake.
One shopkeeper’s eyes lit up as she walked in. “I like your bag.” Is it from Italy, or France?
“No, from Malaysia.”
“It is very good. First quality fake. New model. “
In the end she handed over her fake and received a new second quality fake so they could keep it overnight and copy it.
No comments on the morality of all this. It is just a story I thought was amusing. Looking at the prices on the real thing, I am now pondering the morality of a thousand dollar orange lurex bag with a silvery sheen and chunky orange leather straps thinly edged with lime leather, as soft as butter.