Monday, September 22, 2008

I think I threatened our Bowab...

I don't know if we could have DIED from the heat and mugginess, but I bet we could've, I don't know, passed out or something. That definitely could have happened last night. Oh yeah, by the way: ALL FOUR of our A/C units broke. Or we thought they did. Then we went to a BBQ at the CSA (Community Service Association) with some people from church, and Eric told us that it was probably the fuses that blew. There are lots of power surges here.

Eric offered to come fix the fuses later, but then it got to be pretty late and we decided it'd be better to do it "bukra" (tomorrow). Then someone suggested we ask our bowab (doorman) to have a look. She told us the Arabic word for "air conditioning" and the word for "fuse." Somewhere on the 10 minute walk back to our apartment, though, Lindsey and I forgot both. We decided that if we could just get Moussa (the bowab) up to our apartment, pointing to stuff might work.

We found Moussa in the elevator and I tried to tell him that something was broken in our apartment and that it was really hot in there. I didn't realize it right away, but I had used the wrong word for "broken." There's one word to indicate "not functioning," while the other "broken" means that something has been physically crushed or smashed or something. That got his attention, though.

Moussa took a look at the fuse box and didn't seem to know what to do, but he took a screw driver to it anyhow. Lindsey had wrassled up an Arabic-English dictionary by this point, and I quickly flipped through so I could tell Moussa to be careful with the electricity. I ended up spouting out something like "elec-- elec-tro...cute?" in Arabic. Moussa shook his head and laughed. Then I laughed, realizing what I'd said and how it must have sounded.

Long story shorter, Moussa took a really long time fixing the one fuse, but I'd been watching and fixed the other 3 myself with Lindsey being my Scalpel Girl-- you know, like in every hospital scene in Hollywood: I'd say, "Scalpel," and she'd hand me a Phillips-head :)


Not quite. As I transferred this story from my journal to the computer, Lindsey thought it would be a nice touch to include the actual Arabic script for "electrocute." She looked it up in the dictionary and I looked it up online. Result? We found that the phrase that I had used to warn Moussa means "execution by electricity." He is SO never coming to help us again.

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