Dear Sirs and Madams,
We’ve made it! Finally, after a 9 1/2 hour flight to Rome, a 2 hour layover, and another 3 1/2 hour flight, we are in Cairo. The Airport was almost completely empty and everyone was very friendly. We were met at baggage claim by a kind representative from Viking- the company we were traveling with. two other pairs of passengers leaving with us, a married couple from Florida, and a mother and daughter from North Carolina. Other flights come in separately so I won’t meet everyone else until tomorrow morning at the welcome meeting. For the next three nights, we are staying at the Nile Ritz-Carlton with a Nile front view to boot!
I’m not trying to brag, but it is pretty spectacular 🙂
Anyway, this post is not to tell you about my hotel room, but rather, how I got here.
After finally landing in Rome, Italy, surrounded by a large group of high schoolers from St. Francis on a school trip, MiMi and I were quite exhausted. We struggled to keep our eyes open while waiting for our next flight. after about 2 hours, we board our plane- I was sadly in the middle. This is a bit of a problem, seeing as my legs are quite long. For almost 4 hours, I had nowhere to put them! It didn’t help that the Russian man sitting next to me decided to move his big legs towards me and not the window. I mean, I’m not saying he wasn’t a nice guy, but you KNOW that the person in the middle has the least leg room- it’s common knowledge! the least you can do is try to not invade the minimal space they have. Jeez.
Then, two eternities and one light year later, We land in Cairo, Egypt! MiMi and I were about to explode from excitement. As said previously, we moved through the airport with ease, then went outside in our little group of 6 and got picked up by the Viking tour van which was to take us to our hotel. I had heard about the terrors of Cairo traffic from my grandfather, but the last time he went was over 20 years ago! I thought that by now, at least, it would have gotten better, so I brushed the comments out of my conscience. Oh boy, I had no idea what I was getting into.
at first, everything seemed normal. There were few cars on the road and our driver was using the lanes freely- just with no turn signal. I just assumed that it was because there were no other cars around. I was sadly mistaken. By the time we reached Heliopolis (City of the Sun in Greek), a historic district just outside of Cairo, you wouldn’t have known that there were lanes drawn on the concrete if not for the beginning of the ride. It was a complete mob of cars, old and new, big and small, one person in a van and about 8 fitting inside of what looked to be an old Honda Accord. It made Atlanta rush-hour look like a dream.
Over the next 30 minutes of no turn signals, stoplights, or traffic officers, I picked up a pattern. In Cairo, the only thing giving people driving directions are the other cars around them honking like crazy. I can hear them all outside my window as I’m typing this. People don’t cross the street at crosswalks, you just wait until it gets too congested for other cars to move, then you sprint across and hope you still have all your limbs. sounds like a good time, right?
Well, I mean, we all made it here in one piece, so that counts for something.
It was just so funny to see the beautiful landscape- dancing palms, bright red and yellow flowers, famous ancient statues on almost every corner lining the streets, as you tangle and weave through the main streets of Cairo, only hearing an obnoxious choir of car horns and songs blaring in every language you could imagine.
The sky here is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. the clouds are so thin and low in the sky that they create a beautiful ombré effect with the electric blue of the atmosphere. The sun is so bright and golden, it’s no wonder that the Early Egyptians worshipped it. The surroundings just don’t seem to match the sounds!
well, It is almost 9pm here and I haven’t slept in over 24 hours, so it is time for me to say goodnight.