Monday, April 04, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

There is something very disconcerting about turning into your street at twelve thirty am to find a line of workmen with picks and shovels striding down the road in front of you. We had been at a dinner with the most fabulous food – which would fill pages if I tried to describe it. The invitations were for 9.00pm which is a fairly standard time here for a dinner invitation. The glitterati turn up an hour or so later, and are still coming in at eleven. Dinner was served at ten thirty – actually earlier than usual, and dessert an hour or so later. You can always leave soon after dessert as the main conversation takes place before dinner – rushing serving the meal is considered bad mannered and shows a lack appreciation of your guests.

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.

6 Comments:

Blogger Helen from Canberra said...

Hi Jenny,
I say buy the fake bag and spend the difference on beads. In Canberra over the weekend there has been a bit of an Indian summer (33o yesterday) but it is supposed to go down to 20o today, I hope so.
Regards
Helen

8:07 am  
Blogger Helen from Canberra said...

Hi Jenny,
I say buy the fake bag and spend the difference on beads. In Canberra over the weekend there has been a bit of an Indian summer (33o yesterday) but it is supposed to go down to 20o today, I hope so.
Regards
Helen

8:47 am  
Blogger Kat said...

Hi Jenny

Loved the comment "Madam, this is Egypt".

Your blog is great and I am enjoying it so much - thank you for sharing all this with us.

7:48 pm  
Anonymous Bar Price said...

Hi Jenny - I have just caught up again with your blog - wonderful descriptions and photos, thank you.

5:45 pm  
Blogger Liz from Queanbeyan said...

Jenny,

Have just caught up with your blog, you make the fruit & veg sound luscious...but my keyboard is suffering from drool over your descriptions of the beads...
Regards
Liz

10:59 am  
Anonymous Mardi from Maryborough said...

Hi Jenny,
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. love the photos

7:55 pm  

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