Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's the Egyptian system

I loved being in Egypt but I could never live there. The more time you spend there the more idiotically frustrating things happen to make you wish you were at home in Blightly where at least they don't spray human sewage on the lawns every morning.

Take this classic example of the 'Egyptian Factor' which occured on our last day.

Nick went to get ice creams. He was gone for over 10 mins. First he went to the ice cream display counter. There weren't any labels on the ice creams, and all the tubs had the lids on, so he had to call the barman over from the other side of the hotel lobby to tell him what flavours they had.

After Nick selected a chocolate cone for me and a strawberry cone for himself the barman had to walk back over to the bar to fetch the cones, which for some reason where not kept by the ice cream but by the cocktail-making equipment. Then he walked back to the ice cream counter to remove the tubs. Tubs in one hand and cones in the other he disappeared off into the kitchens in search of a scoop.

Time passed slowly, presumably as the kitchen staff searched for a suitable implement to dispense the ice cream. The bar man returned with the ice cream cones, and the tubs under one arm.

Nick gave the man a 50LE note for the 20LE cones. The barman didn't have any change. In fact he didn't actually seem to have a till. Nick refused to put the ice creams on the hotel bill, and so the barman had to hunt through his own pockets to find some change. When he didn't find enough he nipped along to the reception desk to ask the man there.

Nick by this point was feeling like he'd stepped into a sitcom and asked the barman why shop-keepers in Egypt never had any change, or even tills? Surely a till was a crucial piece of kit for an establishment that owed it's survival to the exchange of money in return for goods.

'I don't know,' shrugged the barman. 'It's the Egyptian System.'


Blogger Tracy said...

I would imagine it's because you are more likely (through sheer frustration) to just tell them to keep the change?

8:33 AM  

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