On the way to church yesterday we were stopped by our self-proclaimed "eccentric" Polish neighbour. Eccentric may be an understatement. She was running down the street in her pyjamas, screaming.
"Big problem! I need help! Big problem!"
We could tell without even using a breathalyzer that she was hopelessly drunk. Again. And it was 9:15 am. She had left the door to her apartment hanging wide open so we thought perhaps there really was a problem. We stopped to see if we could help her.
"I need block off street!" she slurred, breathing heavily, "Mubarak comes, visits me. Here. Today. Mubarak. You understand Mubarak?"
"The President?" Andrew asked.
"No!" she corrected, "His wife, Sylvia."
"You mean Suzanne?"
"Yes! Suzanne! I need block the street! I already ask guards [she indicated violently up the street toward some military police] if they can help and they laugh at me. You see? Big problem. Mubarak. Here. See me. I need block the street!"
"Oh, I don't know..."
"Here. I phone with Polish Premier. You speak Arabic? Please talk him for me! Polish Premier."
"Uhhhh...doesn't the Polish Premier speak Polish?"
She thrust the phone at Andrew. It was ringing a man named Taha. I can almost guarantee he's not the Prime Minister of Poland.
"Yeah, I actually don't speak Arabic very well," Andrew lied, handing the phone back to her, "We should probably get going."
"If you go," she warned, "You might not make it back. The whole street will be blocked. You will not be able to come back home. Mubarak is visiting me in my home! Today!"
That was a risk we were willing to run. Mostly because there was 0% chance that either Mubarak or his wife would come to our neighbourhood, let alone our apartment building, for a friendly Friday morning visit. When Suzanne attended the opening ceremonies at AUC the campus was closed to students and the roads to campus were cleared for hours beforehand.
I'm afraid our neighbour was all worked up to a tizzy for no reason. Of course, we'll never know if she got her visitor or not since we were at church all morning and into the early afternoon. Suzanne could have come and gone and we would have been none the wiser. I highly doubt, however, that she did come.
Also, this morning the same neighbour stopped by wearing her bathrobe...and I'm quite sure only her bathrobe (she is Polish, after all)...to ask to borrow 200 LE to pay her housekeeper. The first time she did this we actually lent her the money because she said it was an emergency. This time her housekeeper was right there and said it was alright if she didn't get the money until next week. So we said we were going out of town and didn't have that much cash on us.
We're not really out of town...but we aren't staying in our apartment, so that's kind of like not being in town, right?