I find that the lyrics to Feelin' Groovy are very applicable to me, right now.
Got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
When I was pregnant with Rachel I remember my mom asking me, often, if I "felt faint" but I never really did. Perhaps I looked like I felt faint, but from what I remember I felt just fine through most of my first pregnancy.
I'm 17 weeks along now and still exhausted. Part of me thinks it might have something to do with the nice little heat wave that kicked in this week. And by heat wave, I mean the average temperature that will be sticking around from now until the end of October. Today we maxed out at 41.6°C/107°F (in shady Maadi--I hear that out by the pyramids it was more like 46°C/115°F).
We get no respite at night, either. It drops a couple of degrees, but stays hot by anyone's standards (except maybe Kuwaiti standards). The only way we survive the night is by having fans blasting our faces at full power. We wake up parched--Rachel had 6 glasses of water when she woke up this morning--but it's better than waking up all sweaty and sticky. We could use the air conditioning because we are lucky enough to have it, but it is so expensive to run and they are old and clunky. They are the box kind, stuck right into a hole in our wall, and sound like an airplane is taking off.
Yesterday when we decided to go to Carrefour for some shopping it was around 39°C/102°F. The taxi, of course, was not equipped with an air conditioner. Instead the windows were open and hot air was blasting through. I keep hoping, because the current weather condition is "sand," that this heat wave will blow over, but I know it's still going to be hotter than Hades next moth and the next month, and the next, and the next.
I was so glad when we got to the mall. The promise of an air conditioned building was very alluring and I hurried Rachel inside while Andrew paid the cab driver (10 LE because that's what his Egyptian friends said they pay to get out there). I wasn't feeling very good but thought that I would start feeling better once we got inside. I didn't, though.
After walking around for a few minutes I either had to find a place to sit down and rest or, I thought, I was going to faint. Everytime we stopped the cart I had to bend over and put my head down between my legs. Finally I remembered that we were in Carrefour, the hypermarket of all hypermarkets...at least...here.
We wandered over to the camping/outdoors/garden area and I sat in a display chair. Andrew and Rachel took the list and continued shopping. I was joined by a little old lady who was dropped off by her grandkids to have a little rest. We smiled at each other and said our hellos and then sat in silence.
It didn't take her long to realize that I wasn't testing the chair I was sitting on anymore than she was testing her chair. She kept staring at me, trying, I'm sure to assess what was wrong with me.
I thought about trying to tell her I was pregnant, but I had no idea how to say that and would probably end up sounding like an idiot.
"I'm sitting here because...in my stomach...there is a baby," was about as close to "I'm pregnant" that I could come up with in Arabic.
Chances are she figured it out even though I'm not really showing all that much (apparently; this is from what people say, not how I feel). When Andrew and Rachel swung by to see how I was doing, Andrew taught me how to tell people that we're expecting. He said the lady was giving me weird looks. Whatever. I have an excuse.
"أنا حامل/Ana hhaml/I'm carrying."
I got up and tried to help with the grocery part of our shopping trip, but in the end I had to head back to my lawn chair until Andrew and Rachel had finished. The old lady was gone and I was left in solitude. I'd just smile and nod at everyone who walked by. No one said anything, except one store employee who told me that it was "forbidden to sit" in the display chairs.
I stared at him blankly--I've perfected my blank stare here--and he repeated himself. I told him that I didn't understand and stayed seated. It was either sit there or sit on the floor. And he should be happy; I'm sure I was an excellent marketing tool. I was doing my very best to make the chair look comfy and I think I did a good job of it.
I really don't understand why he felt he had to tell me it was "forbidden" to sit in the chairs since no other staffers tried to stop me. I also don't understand why they even sell patio sets here since I know of like 3 people who actually have yards. Most of the general population shopping at Carrefour is not in the market for a patio set and probably never will be.
Everything is forbidden in Carrefour though. Enforcing arbitrary rules is something Egyptians love to do. You give them a little bit of power and it goes to their head and they feel like they can enforce the stupidest rules. Cameras are not allowed in Carrefour and "the eating or drinking of food or beverages is expressly prohibited within the hypermarket," among a whole list of long rules posted at the entrance to the market.
Lucky for me they were handing out free samples of mineral water. I hate mineral water, but I knew I needed to drink something so I drank my sample and Andrew's. And then went and sat back down. That was the only good thing about getting up from my chair.
After shopping, Andrew decided that we should treat ourselves to Cinnabon. We haven't had a Cinnabon cinnamon roll since we lived in Amman. It seems to be something we only consume in the Middle East. It was nice to get something in my stomach, though.
We also bought several juice boxes and I drank one of those with Rachel. Juice boxes are how I'm going to survive the summer pregnant. I freeze them and then eat them with a spoon. They're like Otterpops, only bigger.
Then Rachel and I sat in the hot sun while Andrew scouted out a taxi to go home. There's a taxi mafia outside of Carrefour and you basically can't park within a mile of the shopping center unless you agree to be part of their little scam. The scam is that you won't take people home for less than 25 LE, but you'll ask for around 40-60 LE, which is ridiculous because it only costs Egyptians 7-10 LE. We finally found a driver willing to take us for 15 LE but ended up paying him 20 LE and he still threw a fit about that.
I was just happy about getting home so that I could sit with my feet up and a fan blowing at my face.