EZZabet Ellord

Car repair and maintenance is not always an easy task in Egypt. Usually one needs to go to a garage/workshop or what we call locally ”Mechanicy“. Once you try a good one, you never change. My mechanic lives and works in Azaritah. The journey of getting the car fixed passes by two phases, firstly the mechanic examines it and tries to detect the damage, then gives me a list of all the needed spare parts. The second phase is where I go to find them. I always go to the famous Salah El-Din where I can find all what I need. Salah El-Din is a street in Attarin full of spare parts shops and garages. Once I was there trying to find a missing part when I came across this small shop. The two bays of the shop are topped by pale blue signage with old Arabic calligraphy of the name and the brands which the shop deals with, as it is the norm there. The name of the shop in red reads “Al Zabet Al Lord”. “Al Zabet” means “the officer” while “Lord” is the English aristocratic title. In a smaller font, we can read five brands of cars. One of them is the “Volga”. It happened that some days earlier I read unimportant article about President Putin and his Volga. This car was the Soviet cultural icon that started being produced in the 1950s. GAZ-21 was the first car in the Volga series. A black car with a special blue salon was presented to Yuri Gagarin after his famous flight into space in 1961. At that time the USSR was Egypt’s strongest ally. My parents told me that Russian men and women were present in large numbers in the city. It is obviously the ties between the two nations were strong enough to import not only the Volga car but also its spare parts. This little word in Arabic on an almost forgotten shop-front is a witness of an era.

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