Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Special Deliveries

The thing about moving abroad is you don't know what to take with you.

When we were packing, we weren't sure whether we'd be living in a tower block, a hut on the beach, or - as we eventually decided - a villa in the middle of the desert. We also had no idea about 'decor.' Indeed, when Mark first looked around our place it was an interesting yellow green colour, with a scary amount of wooden panelling:
Sadly, the pool table was removed at the same time as the slime coloured walls.

Anyway, inevitably, you don't pack half the stuff you need. So you have to go shopping. Which is nice. But then the shopping needs to be delivered. Which is not always so nice.

First, the Ikea delivery arrived, accompanied by three charming, if slightly sweaty, men who assembled the furniture at a speed that would put Craig from Big Brother to shame. After all their hard work they were starting to look a bit warm. So Rachel offered them a bottle of water.
There was silence.

The men put down their electric screwdrivers and began growling.

'No?' Rachel queried tentatively.

'Madam,' hissed the only man prepared to speak to such a silly woman. 'It is Ramadan. We are Muslims.'

Chastened, and too embarassed to confess she didn't realise fasting meant not drinking as well as not eating, Rachel speedily shoved the water bottle back in the fridge and went to hide in the car with the kids to eat lunch and to worry about the poor growly men getting dehydrated as a result of 'Benno' the shelves and 'Mikael' the computer desk.

The next day, a new set of men came to deliver some random furniture Mark had ordered, without telling anyone, from a woman on the internet. Rachel was a bit grumpy not to have been consulted, but decided to wait and see what Mark had bought.
  • Firstly, the men explained the light was broken but that Rachel should take it anyway as she would probably be able to fix it.

  • Secondly, they unrolled a beige rug that looked like a very old dog had been living on it for a very long time.

  • Thirdly, they handed over a box of melted wax, which had apparently been candles before being left in the sun

  • Finally, when she went to check the bed Mark had ordered for Jody's room, Rachel discovered the matress was about two foot narrower than the base.

All irritation forgotten, Rachel gleefully stored up ammunition to blast Mark with next time he wanted to buy any nasty man-furniture for the house.

Meanwhile, feeling newly educated about Ramadan, Rachel, Amy and the kids repectfuly drank their water in shoe cupboards and behind the sofas to avoid offending the Muslim delivery men.

An hour later, one of the men approached.

'Madam,' he said indignantly. 'These men, they work hard, they need water.'

Rachel decided she still had a lot more to learn about Ramadan.

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