after the escapades w/ purchasing the 4 hookas, i had breathed a big sigh of relief… but unfortunately, my troubles were far from over. the hookas still needed to be shipped, a process that might be simple if we were in america… but not so here in egypt.
due to a small hiccup at the indian embassy, caryn had to take care of some business there this morning, so i had to undertake this mission all on my own. i started off w/ 4 hookas, each in their own little carrying case but soon realized that it’d be easier if i stuffed 2 hookas in each case so i had less to carry. so with about 30 pounds (yes, that’s right, 30 pounds) of hookas weighing me down, i went out in search of a box to ship them in. first i checked w/ a small supermarket, but of course, all their boxes were to small. next i was offered some help from an old man on the street, but it turned out that he actually just took me to his friend’s luggage shop to try to coerce me into buying luggage. and finally, i had the door of another store slammed in my face. nice.
i could tell things were really going my way when the handles to one of the hooka cases started ripping apart. it was only a question of time until the other started doing likewise, so i grabbed the first cab i could find and headed to the post office… still without a box. i had been assured that the post office would not have boxes or packing materials of any kind, but i figured, what the hell.. maybe they might know somewhere that does.
when i arrived at the main post office, i was turned away at the door and told to go around the corner to another entrance. i walked inside there, and to my complete surprise, found that they had boxes that i could use! had my luck finally changed??! no. it turned out that their boxes were also too small, and even if i tried to unpack the hookas, they still wouldnt fit. i was told by the guy at the desk that they would maybe get me a bigger box, and in the meantime, he filled out two forms and told me to go up to the 3rd floor to send the hookas.
by this point, i was tired and so sick of carrying these things under my arms due to the lack of straps. when i got to the third floor, it really didnt look like a post office up there.. just a bumch of small offices in a long corridor. i finally found someone, and they told me that i actually needed to go to the *2nd* floor. grrrr. so i went down a floor… and once i go there, was told that i actually need to go the *1st* floor. so i go back to the bottom floor, and ask them how to ship these damn things. and you know what they told me?? they told me i need to go to the 3rd floor. i couldnt believe it. by now i was sooooo pissed. and to make matters even better, once i got to the 3rd floor and talked to a different person, i was told to go down to the second floor.
this was just getting ridiculous. the person on the 2nd floor now told me that i need to actually go back up to the 3rd floor. arrrrrggghhh!!! i showed him my papers that i had gotten, and told him that i had *already* been to the 3rd floor *twice*. so he tells me that i actually need to go outside the building and around the corner to the left. when i tell him that this is where i was in the first place and that is where i got the papers, he just told me that i should go there anyways.
so i go back down and out. i walk back up to the first guy who gave me the papers, and he asks me if i went to the 3rd floor yet? i tell him that not only have i been there, but i’ve been there twice… that, and every other floor in the building. he tells me yet again, that i need to go up to the 3rd floor. arrgggghhhh. so i storm off and go up there. opening another office door up there, i find a guy who signs my papers, and gives me new official documents. why could someone not have told me to see this guy from the beginning!!!! ggrrrrr.
so with my new documents in hand, i go back outside and to the left, and then proceed to try to shove all 4 hookas into one box. miraculously, they fit. whether they get home in one piece, i dont know… but at that point, i just wanted to get it over with!! the box was wrapped and sealed, i had to fill out *more* forms in triplicate and walk to a bank that was 5 blocks away to get money… and then… i was actually done. phew!!! what a day!!