We have a very good friend in Cairo. We’ve grown very close over the past year and we do a lot of things together and have a lot of great conversations – the kind that really connects you as individuals and makes you feel as though you understand Life through another person’s eyes. He invited us to join him and some other friends for dinner and we accepted knowing the evening would be long and the memories would be good. He said he would call us at 6 pm the next day to arrange where to meet. Perfect.
I’d been watching and waiting for the perfect day I could make an apple pie for him and his family (his kids especially are fond of American food and culture). The day had finally come. We would be home by 5 and he said he would call at 6 which gave us approximately an hour and a half on Egyptian standard time to buy apples, make and bake the pie. Perfect.
Our bus dropped us off on-schedule at the AlRehab souq where we picked up 4 red apples and a pineapple for later, and made the short walk home. Once home, I set about making the pie crust and apple filling with my lovely assistant, Brice. The pie was finished and put into the oven and I checked the time: 5:35. Assuming our friend arrived when Egyptian time predetermined, the pie could cook and cool all before he reached our flat. Perfect.
At 5:37 my phone rang. What? He should not be calling for 20 more minutes! Can you ever remember a time he was early? No, can you? No. *gulp*
Friend: “Ah hello! Are you ready?”
Distraught Me: “Uh… yes?”
Friend: “Ok, good. I will be at your place in 10 minutes. We must leave right away because some other friends are waiting for us downtown.”
So we took the perfectly-timed apple pie out of the oven uncooked. And I groaned at the unpredictability of the culture I live in.