Cairo on the run

You know there are days when you're SO lazy, you just want to bunker down and order out for everything. Happily you can do just that in Cairo, from razors to bread, laundry, home-cooked meals, plumbers or cleaning ladies.

The takeaway food scene is hyper-developed: McDonalds delivers well into the dead of night, another place, Cook Door, has stickers everywhere and has an almost cult-like following for its Viagra burger (grilled or fried, it's a heart-stopping brew: a long white roll stuffed with mayo, calamari and fish), and a lady slipped a photocopied note under my door advertising home-made kofta, a kilo for about $11.

When I needed a plumber, my fixer, Hegazy, whipped one up out of the blue in a few hours, which surely will bring a tear to the eye of any Australian home renovators trying to get a tradie into their homes before 2010. However, friends, some things never change. He smoked in the bathroom, left sticky grease marks on the taps and cigarette butts in the loo. The upside is the price was about a tenth of his Australian cousins.

So my phrase of the week is 'Mumkin te gibli..." Can you bring..." I have a welter of cards, from pharmacists to little supermarkets all with small boys ready to deliver at the trill of a mobile phone. Even if their shops are, literally, next door to my apartment block. The three security-slash-doormen guys have listed their phone numbers and when I run downstairs to grab some foil or tomatoes, they're like, 'Why? We can do it!"

There are so many people offering to deliver - who's doing all the receiving?

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