Thursday, August 29, 2013

Only in the Middle East

The laminator at my school is broken. Has been for three years. It may come as a surprise but I'm a tad picky about the appearance of my classroom and I hate wasting time making posters every year, so I like to laminate EVERYTHING so I don't have to reinvent the wheel. So last year nearly killed me because I didn't get to really set up my classroom the way I wanted because NOTHING WAS LAMINATED!

So I'm determined not to repeat history this year. No sir. If I have to go out and find a copy center that can do the laminating for me, by God I'm gonna do it! Which brings me today's story.

I'd been told there was a copy shop not far from our school and they could laminate my posters. The thing about Kuwait is the roads don't have names, so when you're told about a copy shop not far from your school, that's pretty much all the details you get. I was able to scrounge up the following information:

  • It was on the street behind one of the big malls nearby.
  • Directly across from the Marks and Spencer.
  • In a little strip mall/souq-esque kind of row of shops.
That's all. I had the name of a street, the name of a shop, and I knew what the logo looked like.

So off I went today on my mission. I couldn't find it as I stood on the sidewalk directly across the street from the Marks and Spencer, and when I stopped a few people to see if they could shed some light, they either didn't speak enough English or they directed me to the FedEx/Kinkos, which I had already tried with no luck.

So I wandered into an optical store that sold prescription sunglasses and other eyeware. There was a Filipino lady behind the counter and a Pakistani man sitting in the back corner. I figured between the two of them, someone had to know the place I was talking about. Here's how that conversation went:

Me: Hi, I'm looking for a copy shop that is somewhere nearby?

Lady: A what?

Me: A copy shop? It's called Kwik Kopy? They make photocopies of things [pantomimes hand going over paper in an ill fated attempt to recreate the act of Xeroxing.]

Man in the corner: What is it called?

Me: Kwik Kopy [pantomimes hand motion over head that is supposed to resemble a business marquee, but just comes off as poorly timed jazz hands]

Man: Oh. They went out of business.

Me: ...

Man: What do you need? You need copies?

Me: No, I'm looking for somewhere that can laminate some posters.

Man: Oh! We do that [stands up and walks behind the counter.]

Me: Oh! That's gr--here?! [looks around at all the displays of designer eye glasses]

Man: No, my other business.

Me: Oh!! Where is that shop?

Man: Downtown, but I can have my man take your things to the shop for you and you can get it back tomorrow.

So there you have it! A perfect example of how things work in the Middle East! Sometimes you walk into an eye glass store and find a guy who can laminate your classroom posters for you! And you can even haggle him down on the price while you're at it.

Hey man, if it gets my posters laminated, I'll take it!

Vicariously yours,

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