Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Which We Are One for Two

Thursday started off as a day of much happiness in the Typ0 household. It began with my being called at 7:30 a.m. by the Institution to be told that one of my two shipments would be delivered in a few hours. I twittered incomprehensibly to the woman on the other end of the line while I did my pathetic dance of joy to celebrate. This was followed by my singing a song (to the theme of “Jungle Fever”) about how “I have stuff and you don’t.” (Sometimes it really is for the best that I don’t have a web cam recording my every movement.)

Although the promised shipment contained mostly Hubby's nerd books, a quick review of the spreadsheets (on which I had meticulously documented every item in our shipments) promised clothes for both of us, DVDs, and emergency kitchen supplies. The thought of having one of our good Japanese knives as opposed to the dull “cutting tools” we were given by the Institution thrilled the chef in me and I began planning meals for Hubby to prepare.

By two that afternoon, I was on pins and needles jumping every time I heard the elevator doors clank. When the bell finally rang, I literally sprinted to the door like a child looking for Santa. “Hi!” I gushed to the woman on the other side not initially noticing the perturbed look on her face.

She explained that she was from the Institution and had my eight boxes but that there was a problem. My heart stopped beating as I imagined my DVDs sitting in some Egyptian Customs Officer’s office while he and his friends watched Xena and mocked the stupid foreigner who foolishly tried to bring such great entertainment into their country.

When Box Lady moved aside so that her assistant could start bringing our things inside the apartment, I immediately saw what had her so upset. The first box was gaping at the top, torn at the bottom, and was obviously only staying together by virtue of the massive amounts of tape that encircled it.

Back in June when the air shipment guys were busy packing our things up, I blogged about the crap-tacular job they did and my fear that my things would not survive the admittedly short trip from Kenya to Egypt. I went to their offices and oversaw the repacking of one box of clothes and the delicate bubble wrapping of my DVDs that they had initially packed into pink garbage bags. When Rock and I drove back home that afternoon, I trusted that the packers would continue to carefully repack all our things.

Good God I'm an idiot!

Back then when I saw the moving people put all of Hubby’s books into two boxes I implored them to repack. “You can’t put 350 kilograms of hardcover books in two boxes and not expect the boxes to collapse and break apart!” I squeaked at the time. But it turns out that they had more stupidly misplaced faith in the powers of cardboard than any reasonable human being ought to. The result is that neither box of books survived intact although so far it appears that only the journals were severely damaged.

Our clothes, as luck would have it, had somehow ended up in his and hers boxes. His was fine. And in typical Typ0 fashion, hers was not.

It was easy to tell which boxes the Customs officials had riffled through since they used a different colour tape from the shipping company. My initial foray into my DVDs proved Hubby right and provided the first giggles of the afternoon. It was obvious that they had cut through the individually bubble wrapped packages as they had left cut marks on several boxes. Much as Hubby had predicted all those months ago, they had also removed and probably watched “The Running Man” as it was the only DVD that wasn’t still in some sort of wrapping.

During all of these discoveries, Box Lady was insisting that in all her years doing this job for the Institution she had never, ever, ever (her words not mine) seen such horrible packing. She helped me take all these photos and insisted that I sit down as soon as she left and email a letter of complaint to the shipping company. I may have been outraged at the poor handling of our things by the shipping company but she was sincerely offended. I liked her righteous indignation so she’ll be getting a ‘cc on the email I am currently composing (and deleting expletives from) to send to the shippers.

Finally, since I don’t like to end these sessions of ours on a down note, here’s a bit of humor. You see, while our books were treated with less respect than the dust shows the desert, and our DVDs were given more than a cursory glance by Customs officials, those same men did take the time to look at some things more closely than others. At the top of the list of things Egyptian Customs found suspicious was several sealed boxes of condoms. When Hubby and I inventoried our things, we noticed that both of these boxes had been torn open rather forcefully and their contents had definitely been inspected with due diligence.

Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and condoms – it's no wonder Customs didn’t want to release our shipment sooner!


Lynda said...

Doin' the happy dance for you !!!!
LOL at the condoms (now why didnt we think of that!) -- hitting myself for being such a 'good girl'...if I hadn't been so intimidated by the strict 'letter of the law' list of what we could and couldn't take to Egypt I would now be enjoying a huge range of Australian & German DVD's.. all of which my ungrateful friends took from me.. clapping their hands with glee that my misfortune.

Please CC the email to me... unedited...

Went to the ATM today... you have totally ruined my life now with your psychic blog post!!!

Facial was down in Ain Suhkna... but I can tell you some local places if you like

Greetekees said...

Hi there, What's the name of that company please?? I have just called a few relocation companies myself as Marito's employer wants a list of 3 quotations. Just to make sure they are not on MY list. Jeee what a mess!! But at least it arrived. Last June when I left Cairo for holidays, the border police at the airport stopped me and questioned me about my Tampax. Very suspicious looking objects. right? They didn't understand what I explained so they opened one of the wrappers. Still they didn't get it and I had to shoot out one Tampax from the applicators. After that they were still puzzeled, donkeys. I told them to keep it as a souvenir. Hahahahaa!

Anonymous said...

Well, at least one lot has arrived! What was actually stolen/taken/confiscated?
Any news from the pirates on the high seas who may have your other shipment? I see that the French have rescued some sailors from the coast of Somalia so...maybe??
Maybe you need to stay in one place for awhile? :)

Connie said...

How annoying! Well, rifled through or not, I hope you got all your stuff.