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Monday, February 11, 2013

We Can Hear Again!

Today was "new windows" day for us.

When construction first began on our Cairo condo about five and half years ago, we made a bad decision on our windows.  We went with a low-price option.  Although we did acquire an elegant looking set of French doors for the front balcony.

Unfortunately, the old windows and doors allow lots of dust infiltration and as for the sound from outside, we might as well have no windows.  As the road in front evolved into a freeway, this became a serious problem.  So on this trip, we bit the bullet and ordered a new set of high quality windows for the front of the place.  This process works like a lot of other things here.  Our neighbor had excellent windows and he knows someone who's a contractor who knows a fellow who has a window company, etc.

After checking samples, getting a quote, two sets of measurements, a 50% down payment and a wait of only six days, today the windows arrived along with the installers.  Of course, nothing happens here without an interesting story.

Our installer arrived with his tool bag containing two power tools, both a grinder and drill.  This presents a small problem.  Almost any Egyptian outlet box contains only a single outlet.  Now, you or I would probably use a "tee" or an extension cord with multiple outlets to deal with this issue.  Our installers used another, much simpler, approach.  The cord for the drill has no plug on the end.  They wind an inch or so of bare wire around the prongs of the plug on the grinder and, just like that, you have two machines running from a single outlet.

Well, most of the time it works.  But we happen to have brass face-plates on our outlets.  The resulting short circuits blew the circuit breaker four times.  I didn't realize what the real issue was until they were almost done and I saw the outlet.  Otherwise, I'd have offered them a tee.  I had thought they were just using the normal, "stuff the bare wires into the outlet" technique of plugging things in which I see here all the time.

But the results are beautiful.  Silence from the street noise at last.  We lost the 1920s-vintage look but either our bawab or someone else nearby is gaining a set of doors.  EgyptWindows-4

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