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The Art of Miscommunication: The Key Card

I intend to make this heading a more common type of post. Occasionally I get a kick out of misunderstandings, ones that don’t involve any ill feelings or deep emotions. Here is an example of the AoM a while ago.

Me (to the guard): Salaaaam Alikom! [Peace be upon you!]
Guard: Alikom el salaaam. [Peace be upon you.]

I sign the sign in sheet and walk to the door to wait for guard to open the door since I have not yet been given an access key card.

Guard (giving me the key card): Khaleeeh 3andak. [Keep it with you.]
Me (Surprised): Oh..

I used the key card to open the door, and asked the guard.

Me (placing the card on the access box): Akhaleeh 3endi? Wela akhaleeh ehne? [Should I leave it with me? Or leave it here?]
Guard: Aywa, Khaleeh 3andak. [Yes, leave it with you.]
Me (taking the key card): Akhaleeh 3endi? [Shall I keep it with me?]
Guard: La, Khaleeh 3andak. [No, keep it there.]
Me: Ahaaa, Mashkoor. [Thank you.]

I placed the card above the access box. Now, if this wasn’t the simplest for of miscommunication then I don’t know what is! For those who do not understand the arabic version, I’ll explain. In the Egyptian dialect “khaleeh 3andak” can either mean “leave it there” or “leave it with you”.

Why I assumed he’d say keep it with you, I do not know. Maybe I felt he was being generous.

Oh and by the way, the access box is about 3 meters away from the guard’s desk. Just to give you all some perspective on the situation.

21 Responses to “The Art of Miscommunication: The Key Card”

  1. fashionated |

    shame on u for being presumptuous :P

  2. Hamitaf La Bookay |

    Hehehe… sometimes it can happen in ur own dialect don’t you think?

  3. Intlxpatr |

    When will you get your own card? Won’t that be a great day!

  4. Zed |

    egyptian have everything messed up

    laban = milk
    zabady = laban (roub)
    firakh = dajaj
    ta3mia = falafel

    why can’t they just be normal

  5. soul |

    Fi farg!
    khaleeh ‘ma3ak’ means keep it wiz u! Khaleeh ’3andak’ means keep it zeir in za wha6ever!
    How about this!

    Me: abi hatha. Eb cham?

    Shop owner: matkhali ya amar :) (lma tha7ak bain ’6roosa la9eg bafak men 20 sena maybe)

    Me: mashi mashkoor and left.

    Shop owner: TA3ALI HENA @@ enti 7atesra2eeni! Fain el feloos!!

    Me: fe9a5t el ka3ab chan an7aaaash gabbaaaaaa! Ma7ad galah yetfalsaf! He missunderstood me ;p

  6. Elaine |

    Miscommunication happened anywhere. In my language, we also have words that have several meaning…Sometimes, miscommunication also caused by the intonation. Anyway, it’s a good post and it add my knowledge about Egyptian.

  7. G |

    LOOOOOOOL, I know but now you know how it feels ehhh :P but you will get your card soon. hehehehe :D

  8. GreY |

    :D What?

  9. Laialy_q8 |

    hahaha! i totally would have walked away with it

  10. Angelo |

    I second Laialy. This is the first time I heard about this. Thank you, you saved from a future embarrassment.

  11. Very.Q8ya |

    la bas tara fey Kuwaiteyyeen egolon “khallah 3indik ehnee” ya3ni qasda 3ala il-6awla aw 3ala ay-mukan ohwa yaqsidah,

    o tara ohma il-ghala6, 3ashaan enkoon wath7een ma3a ba3ath LOL

  12. Marzouq |

    hahaha! Now thats funny! The access card to the door is right next to it.. so whats the point of the access card?

  13. EniGma |

    haaa sheno laish iz not za same sing?

  14. ::: ShoSho ::: |

    LoL I have no idea what he really meant.. but yeah it seems he meant leave it there because he is too lazy to come and take it back or something..

  15. Amethyst |

    I also have those. My Kuwaiti is crap;\

  16. Navy Girl |

    do you do that all the time :P i tend to talk to them in english way much better and easier .. wela otherwise they will start babbling 3ala rask and you will gooo blank !! :D

  17. Swair |

    In the staff room, I hate it when they put the bread in the fridge, so I take it out and keep it on top of the fridge…

    The other day, one of the teachers goes “Meeeen 7a6 el 3aaiiish fo’ el thalaaaajaa?!” and I go, “Mafi 3aish fog el thalaja..”

    And she walks out of the kitchen area holding the bread going “then what do you call this?”

    I don’t think she felt like laughing when I shrugged and said “Khobez?”

  18. Nasser |

    lol! ;(

    Hamitaf La Bookay,
    yeah it actually can, and would probably be even funnier :p

    I honestly don’t know, and yes it will be a marvelous day!

    lol! Madry ;/

    3andak (3endek) is kuwait for ‘with you’ sa7? so some of these Egyptians here pick up some local dialect, and use it that way :p lol.. and your story!! LOL! Running away with the ka3b would have been funnier :p

    Yeah, there’s always sometimes comedy in the miscommunication itself :D I enjoy that! Glad you got something positive out of it!



    heheh, I should have done that… lol

    hehe, i’m glad you got something out of this man!

    when they add “ehnee” that is fine, but I don’t believe a kuwaiti will say it khallah 3endek, as in leave it there.. lol that would be too weird :p and yes ohma ghala6 lol!!

    loool I don’t know! he should just keep it there for us with no cards to get through at least :p

    lol, madry ask them ;/

    yesss exactly, he was too lazy to get up :p today he got up 3adi lol.

    lol, you can’t have crap Kuwaiti.. you either have it, or you don’t :p

    Navy Girl,
    lol well some times, I don’t want to speak to him in english, no need for that, besides i need to work on my arabic lol. LOL go blank 3ad!

    loool! That’s good :p and why do the idiots keep the bread in the fridge! Its either outside or in the freezer lol!

  19. princess |

    lol, walla 3adi i7na hnee allah iy5aleehum il security walla…

    u walk thru the metal detector it starts screaming its ass off wila 7ata iy6il iyshoof aish fee

    oo la itha u asked them to open the door for u , regardless of who u r ,COMPLETE STRANGER TO THE COMPANY 3ade, iygoom iysalim 3alaik oo iyfichlik il bab ba3ad wiywa9lik lay il person ili u may be wanting to harrass!

    witha mat3arf who u want to see, they will direct u to who best should be visited!

  20. KJ |


    Sign language is the best

  21. Nasser |

    lol! what generous guards you have… :p

    lol! It would surly work :p

Reserved, going to add something here later.