La shoe qwah! May 9, 2016


It was dawn, before sunrise, and I was somewhere south of Luxor on the water. Within two minutes of awakening I was on the top deck. Only a few early rising Japanese were able to outdo me. Light was good so took some pics of life along the Nile before the intense midday sun washed out the contrast and color.

Yesterday, just after lunch, my first meal aboard, I noticed that the small room refer was not operational. Wanting to keep my beer, water, pomegranate and orange juice cold, I went to the desk. They would send someone up to assess the problem. Five minutes later there was a soft tap tap on my door. Upon opening the door, I encountered three staff members. One in a uniform, two in maintenance work clothes.

They entered and I immediately noticed that one of the maintenance workers had in his right hand a 16 ounce framing hammer!! A fucking framing hammer to fix a inoperable mini refrigerator? No ohm meter, no tool belt, no tool box or tool bag. Just a fucking framing hammer!!

They moved the cabinet out from the wall and checked the plug, exactly what I first checked. Then they stood and talked, all three, back and forth, for three or four minutes. I wish I understood arabic, as I could not fathom why it would take four minutes to discuss what to do next. Simple solution – replace it with one that is working from an empty room and take the broken one to the maintenance shop aboard for the ship’s electrician to diagnose and repair. What were they discussing for so long? Then they abruptly left, leaving the cabin door open. Not a word was said to me. I closed the cabin door and 10 minutes later they returned and replaced the refer with one that was working. Problem solved, just as I thought.

This morning after breakfast I moved the mini sofa around 90 degrees, opened the large window/door, took off my shirt, and sat down to watch the constantly changing landscape roll away before me, distant from the chaos of Luxor and the aggressive touts, the incessant cacophony of horns, constantly dodging cars, motorbikes, donkey carts and horse carriages. Away from the trash, horse shit and unending attempts to get my attention and money.

The verdant banks of the Nile were passing before me, the distant barren rocky hills, the soft breeze rustling the window coverings. I took out my maps and books on Egypt. Alone, quiet but for the soft splash of the bow wake and the occasional distant braying of a donkey ashore, peacefully secure in the cocoon of my room.

On walkabout. Time for some Mozart…….

We passed through two sets of locks at two dams that were less than 2 km apart. The lift was about 15 feet on the first lock and much less on the second. The locks were  enough for two cruise ships to raise in the same lift.

Went to the desk to talk about getting the inet connection. Another gent, french, was also inquiring. I listened as the desk attendant assured him that the signal was strong, fast, consistent. He asked in the desk attendant in english several times and in several ways. Always the answer was “Yes, does not stop. Very good. No problem.”

I signed the voucher for 90 Egyptian for 24 hours, handed over the iPad and the secret password was entered. I sat down and tested the connection with Speedtest, an invaluable app when traveling. Download speed was the best I have seen in Egypt, >2mbps. So, I sat down and started to upload. The connection broke. Back to the desk to get the secret password reentered. They will not give it to me. This time I was successful getting “All Aboard” uploaded, but it was slow – the speed had dropped. Then the connection broke. The frenchman was also already at the desk, asking for his money back. I was assured by the manager that once the ship stopped, the signal would be strong and secure. We shall see, but I would guess it will be about the same. Will try pics upload.

Such is much of Egypt. Thank goodness I met Moro – friendly, helpful, honest, a friend I can trust. His only agenda is friendship.

I reflected back on my two visits to Luang Prabang in the north of the Lao P.D.R. No pressure, fair prices, no haggling, safe, friendly. The world is a big place.

Last PM, after running the gauntlet from the Sarah to Venus, I lamented to Jimmy about the incessant barrage of touts. He taught me an arabic word, I’m not sure of the spelling in english, but phonetically it is “la shoe qwah.” It easily translates to “no”. It can be spoken softly, between friends or with increasing volume as the situation demands.

I tried using it on an incessant tout. “la shoe qwah.” He continued to harass me. Again, a little louder and more forcefully, “la shoe qwah.” He persisted. “LA SHOE QWAW.” He departed and I thought “I cannot forget this word.”

Now moored ashore, the time for “Good inet”, per the desk manager. Speedtesr report: .01 mbps down and .03 mbps up. Thought so..

I feel like a blog Nazi (vs. the soup Nazi on Seinfield).

“No pictures for you.”

“la shoe qwah.”
“la shoe qwah.”


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