Saturday, November 01, 2003

Sending Things To Egypt

I got a notice from Fedex today that Tim Weber from Accu-Logistics LLC in San Leandro California sent me a blogger sweatshirt. Thank you, Tim. I don't think that this is anything that I ordered, so it must be some kind of gift, and the commercial invoice is labeled promotional item. But the downside of this is that I won't be able to collect it. Unfortunately, to get my sweatshirt will cost me roughly 6 times its value, payable primarily to the Egyptian customs department for importing clothing and some to Fedex. I had a long chat with a nice young man in the main office for Fedex in Cairo about the necessary steps to claim my sweatshirt and I decided that overall, it was probably best left with the customs people. It's not that I don't want a Blogger sweatshirt, but some things are better left unpaid. I'm sure that it will eventually find a good home, and if I see someone in a Blogger sweatshirt, I'll have a good idea where it came from. Items like that are supposed to be destroyed, but I've lived here for a long time and sometimes things slip. That's ok with me in a case like this.

The whole situation is one of the classic Egyptian scenarios. You have to be careful what you ship to Egypt because certain things are, fairly reasonably, protected by tariffs. We produce a great deal of the cotton sports clothes that people buy in Europe and North America. Our cotton goods are fantastic...and luckily some of the best aren't even exported but saved for us. I remember volunteering at an event in the US a few years back and being given a complimentary t-shirt with a "Made in Egypt" label in the neck. Cracked me right up. Sometime later one of my kids swiped it from me.

Book usually come through ok, although there is usually some duty to be paid. But Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Noble will be happy to know that they do good business among at least a certain segment of the population. Posters and such somehow often get lost, as my son found to his dismay when moving his treasures back from New York to Cairo this summer. Live and learn.

By the way, apologies to those who might check this site occasionally. I haven't written in a long time, but I have a good reason. I'm changing the direction of my life here and moving from a Cairo suburb to a very rural setting over the next few months. I have before me the daunting tasks of renovating the villa where I currently live to rent to others and also building a small house in the country to which I plan on relocating myself and my January. Living in Egypt is going to get interesting. I'll post more on this later because it is a very unusual experience for someone like myself...but right now I have a contractor coming by to tell me how much its going to cost to make this old house presentable.