Monday, February 12, 2007

Simple Economics


Given how much money I was forking over, you'd think my new flat would come with towels and a blanket.

But it didn't. The mattress and pillows were so new that they still were covered in plastic. There was a new bottom sheet (no top sheet) and a new bedspread. But no blanket.

And it's winter. Granted not much of a winter, but I feel the cold.

So I went in search of a towel ($3.10, Egyptian cotton) and a blanket. The blanket on display was 115 Egyptian pounds. $20. More than I meant to spend on something I was tossing at the end of two months. (Or maybe foisting off on the Omani designer flying in from Kuwait on Thursday to join me and Mr. T, the Kuwait office editor-in-chief who is here too.)

"Do you have a cheaper blanket?" I asked.

"Yes, this one. It is wool mixed with synthetic. Only 43 pounds." $7.50.

"What is the other blanket made of?"

"That one is all synthetic."

"The wool one costs less than the synthetic?"

The young woman in the headscarf laughed. "We have many sheep and camels in Egypt. Not so much synthetic."

I bought the wool mix and a top sheet, and still walked away five dollars richer. I like the idea that my blanket might be made of camel hair.

1 comment:

Marie said...

Years ago, Yancey, Mark, and I came to Egypt as tourists. We were on a trip that involved a felucca expedition and had been told to bring sleeping bags. But we were too lazy, and afterwards Yancey and I were going overland (and sea) to Jordan so we didn't want to carry them. "We'll just buy cheap blankets in Cairo!" It didn't work out that time and Yancey and I ended up shivering the first night while Mark went straight for the dirty old blankets the Nubians offered, from the storage area at the front of the felucca. The next day, Yancey and I both made beelines for the nasty blankets too.

And if you like that story, well, I wish I could tell about Traveler X's digestive issues with the stale falafel on board the boat, and Traveler Y caught it too. Course the second announced it to the entire group and I immediately gave him the meds from my pack, while the first suffered in silence, hanging off the rope dragging behind the boat in the Nile... (no, none of us got bilharzia and all of us swam in the Nile. Didn't get it in 2005 either when the raft flipped in Jinja. Don't swim in the Nile, do as I say, not as I do. Or do swim in it, it's fun, but don't blame me if you get a disease after.)