Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Temporary Office

Yesterday, I caught the Metro over to Dokki, to go to my office.

I haven't been to the office much, because it doesn't have furniture, internet, phones, or that many walls yet. But I like to show up. I have this notion that it encourages the builders to work harder when someone is stopping by unexpectedly to get updates. I take photos and send them back to Kuwait and New York with progress reports. I say totally unreasonable things like "When will we be done? Can we bring in the new employees next week?" Of course not, but I learned last year from Mr. Fixit that if you move the employees in around the builders, the builders finish at the speed of light.

The Metro was cool but unfortunately, while it does go to the office, it will not be stopping in Zamalek for a few more years. They haven't built the station or the line yet. I walked to the other end of Gezira Island to take it. (It's less than a dollar to catch a taxi to Dokki, but I do love to examine public transport around the world.)

The Metro was clean, efficient, and prompt. The fare was 1 Egyptian pound. Eighteen cents. A bargain! I'd heard tales that it was packed, but I was traveling in the middle of the day. Most people were seated, with only a few standing. And I got on the women's car. Almost everyone else wore a headscarf, but no one looked at me funny. I'm sure plenty of foreigners take the Metro.

The furniture was arriving when I got to work. It was supposed to arrive on Saturday. My Egyptian colleague, before he'd left for Kuwait, had said "We'll plan on Monday then." So Tuesday wasn't bad.

Unfortunately, there are not too many freight elevators in Cairo, and the passenger elevators are tiny.

The furniture delivery men were carrying the desks—probably 20 desks—up 12 flights of stairs. One at a time. They even broke one while I was there, but took it right back out and replaced it.

I didn't hang around long. There wasn't much point. So I went back to my hotel, to work at my makeshift work station. Which looks kind of like this. It's really not so bad. The laptop looks the same no matter where I am sitting to stare at it.

1 comment:

Steve Buccellato said...

Eighteen cents! That's highway robbery! Why, I remember when the subway in New York was only a quarter...but that was New York! The subway in New York is so good, I bet they already have a stop in Zamalek!

Of course, my dad talks about the subway being only 5 cents, but now I'm just silly...

...Comes with senilty. As do stories about how cheap things were in the "old days..."