Sunday, May 15, 2005

Street Smarts

BasketCart.JPG, originally uploaded by Miloflamingo.
I decided about a month ago that I needed a wicker basket for some cotton kilims that I use to cover my furniture to protect chairs from the wear and tear of rat terriers.I keep spares so that I have clean ones to put on while I wash the sandy ones. While driving in Maadi, I saw a typical basket cart parked at a corner near the Irish school and stopped to ask the prices. I looked around and couldn't see anyone near the cart, so I asked the guard at the school where the basket seller was. He didn't know, and I went on my way but I stopped by at least three times a week for the next three weeks. I never did see the owner of the cart but the baskets never changed place or position.

Finally this morning as I was cruising past the corner, I spotted a man sitting in the shade under at tree across the street from the cart. Screeching to a halt, I asked if by any chance he was the proprietor of the cart. Yes, he was, came the reply. Just out of curiosity, I asked how long he'd been leaving his cart parked unattended at this corner. Oh, heavens, no. He was there every day according to the basket man...but there was a sheepish grin when I raised my eyebrows and told him that I'd been looking for him for weeks to buy some baskets. Sheepish grins turned to calculation as we decided which baskets we needed and when we went on our way the jeep had our fruits and vegetables packed into the larger rectangular wicker baskets for the ride home.

How many major cities can boast that a cart full of items like this can be left unattended for weeks on end and there not be any theft? Pretty amazing even for Egypt.

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