The Saga of the White Fridge.

Shall I tell you a little story? Go on then, you’ve twisted my arm!
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin………….

Once upon a time we had a very small fridge, and it fitted inside our sideboard cupboard. As our own apartment is quite small this suited us very well for our first twelve months, or so, of living in Luxor. Then one day, Freda decided that we needed a larger fridge; one which would fit under the kitchen bench (if we had a kitchen or a bench, that is), one the same as we had in the guest apartment. She already had a ready buyer for our little dinky one, so it was duly sold and we “borrowed” the fridge from the guest apartment downstairs until we got a replacement. We had no guests coming for a week or so, so there was no problem.

The following tea time, we had a call from the lovely Geordie lady who owns the Tuttie Fruttie Café here in Luxor. She had two friends who didn’t like the apartment which they had rented and could we possibly accommodate them. Of course we could! That’s what we are here for, what a silly question! It wasn’t till we put the phone down that we remembered that there was no fridge in the guest apartment, and they were arriving the next day!

Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring, don’t panic!!!! There are at least five shops in Luxor which sell fridges, we are not in the Dark Ages here you know, contrary to popular belief.

At the time, there were the two “Government” shops (they don’t belong to the government at all, but that's another story), on Station Street there is “B Tech” and the multi-storeyed shop opposite and on T.V. Street there is the small electrical shop opposite the Ahmed Abu Nakhra store. We would surely score in one of them tonight!

As you all know; the shops are open till there are no more customers, so we set off after a late tea. (Actually it turned out to be an early dinner, as we got nothing else that night!) We started off by having a look in the Government shop on Karnak St beside the St Mark Hospital, nothing there that took our fancy, none were white and all were too big. Next was the multi-storeyed place opposite B Tech, we only found one there, but the door was damaged and the staff were run off their feet with Egyptians spending money as if it were going out of fashion. We had a quick look in B Tech, but the only white one there looked cheap and nasty.

Next we trailed along to Television Street to the little shop at the bottom on the right. We’d bought stuff from here before, so were reasonably confident that we would make a good deal if he had what we wanted. Had a look in all the boxes in the shop, but there were no white ones. Well, you have to have white really, don’t you? “I have white in my warehouse, the boy will take you.” Right enough; two boys took us, on the arabeya, up to the “New” Television Street and around the corner to the man’s lock-up. No lights, of course (are you mad?) so we spent about 15 minutes, with four mobile phones as torches, moving boxes containing fridges and looking for a white one. You guessed it, no white fridges tonight!

Time was getting on, and we were starting to forget Corporal Jones’s encouragement to not “panic”! We got back on the arabeya and the two boys jumped off at the shop (at least they had paid the fares lol) and we stayed on till Station Street and went back into the shop opposite B Tech. It was a lot quieter now, the Egyptians must have “spent up”. After a bit of discussion with the girl, it was decided that they would have another white one at their warehouse, undamaged and still in the box. Hurrah!!! We paid the girl in the little booth, and the manager told us that the man with a van (little mini-truck actually) just outside, would charge 25le to take it to our house. Freda went off to open the doors and await our arrival, while I got in the tiny truck and went off to the warehouse just around a couple of corners. We seemed to have collected another man by the time we got there; I’ve no idea where he appeared from! A stern looking lady was shaking her head at the van man’s order form. “No problem, no problem” he kept saying as we drove off. We didn’t get very far, actually a bit closer to our house, when he stopped at another warehouse in a back lane. They went in with the order form, and came out with a large, fridge sized, box. “Are you sure it’s white?” asked I. “Yes, yes, Don’t worry Mr Edward.”, came the reply. It became apparent that the second man was there to “hump” the fridge up the stairs; he was a “humper”. After all, why pay only one man when you can pay two? Stupid question, really.

The strip light in the guest apartment kitchen had been working itself for a while and I had forgotten to get it fixed. After it had been on for an hour or so; it would go off, and then come back on after it had cooled down. It had just gone off before we arrived, us being so long. The humper managed our 63 stairs very well with the fridge on his back, so I was feeling quite generous when everything was in place. I got out the 25le for the van man and another tenner for the humper! Freda arrived from upstairs just as they started to laugh and demand 100le for their services. I didn’t get the chance to argue with them ‘cause Freda was chasing them down the stairs “Get out of my building you clifties!!!” She’s good at things like that, it’s where her natural talent lies.

Relieved that I no longer had to bargain with the workmen, I got the fridge out of the box, screwed on the feet, and slid it into place under the bench. Put the plug in and made sure it was working. Close to midnight, but everything was OK, we’d managed it!

As Freda got back up the stairs and into the guest apartment, the kitchen light came back on to reveal a lovely BEIGE fridge. As you can imagine after all that, it’s still there!

Only in Egypt!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. You had me in hysterics Edward, Its a good job us britishers no how to keep laughing in Luxor!!! And when all else fails. Carry on Captain Mannering!
    Lots of Love from Lol x