All / Originally Posted on Skirt

The Diana Incident

Caroline and I were out hunting for flats the other day.  We tried the questioning-the-doormen method I mentioned before with a fair amount of success, although as often as not they directed us to a simsar (real estate agent) to show us flats in their buildings.  

One of the women showed us a beautiful (and out of our budget) flat in a fairly upscale building on a road Caroline and I both like.  Then she took us to another place which I at first thought was a much more run-down and still-uncleaned flat.  It turned out to be her office, but when you walk in there is a large living-room-like area with a TV in it and the actual office is in the back so we didn’t know. 

The very first thing we all noticed upon entering the living room was an enormous larger-than-life image of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.  I mean it was HUGE.  It covered the whole wall to our right and was framed by curtains, as though it were a floor-to-ceiling window.  At first we thought it was a fresco but Loreli walked up and noticed it was actually a hand-painted rug.  We all looked at each other and remained very quiet. 

This has to be one of the more absurd things I’ve seen on our flat-hunt.  None of us could figure out why a simsar on a quiet street in a small district of Cairo would have an epically-scaled and meticulously crafted rug commemorating Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.

The best part was when we went into the actual office room where the computer was and I noticed Loreli edging over to look at something on the side table.  I don’t remember exactly which it was, but there in the ashtray was a postcard or a large box of matches bearing the exact same image of Di and Dodi. 

As we passed the giant painted rug on the way out, I overheard Caroline in a hushed tone of reverential awe telling the simsar how lovely the portrait was.  “Dee hilwa, kwais ‘awee!” she said.  This is one of those rare occasions where I felt it was unfortunate that I understood what she was saying because I nearly snorted aloud trying to hold in my laughter. 

The simsar beamed with pride.