Posts Tagged ‘airport’

Melissa arrived on Christmas Eve about an hour and a half late into Cairo airport, disembarking what she describes as the worst flight of her life. We immediately jumped on board the Superjet bus from the airport station bound for Alexandria, hoping to exchange time for money, considering how it’s really impossible to catch a cab from Maza to the center of town without getting robbed blind. Question to other expats: how much do you pay — I’ve heard LE 70 is a good price, but who knows some days.

Anyhow, the ride was hellish: Thursday night coming out of Cairo almost invariably is. We spent six hours trying to get out of Bulaq, at which point the driver thought it might be a good idea to take Shar3a al-Ahram, parking us in the middle of the budding night scene. Melissa was a good sport about it, though, considering it was a crash-course in Cairo craziness (traffic, time, and the smell of this bus was particularly foul). We arrived in Alex around 12, missing midnight Mass, but still on our feet. I had most of the things ready for dinner beforehand, so we stayed up only a little later and made a chicken parmesan that, I must say, had quite a superior sauce of my own devising. Around this time, Melissa discovered that the very pretty silver Christmas ornaments on the tree were actually three sets of very pretty earrings that were her Christmas gift, and all was well on the silent night.

We’ve just come back yesterday morning from a three-day sabbatical to Siwa Oasis, where we stayed at the Desert Rose. I’m kind of sad to report that the place has gone downhill as of late: they’ve whitewashed a lot of the awesome decorations, and the staff isn’t quite as a helpful as they once were. Everyone seems kind of worn down by the influx of tourists (and there were quite a few– meaning hordes) rolling into town for New Year’s Eve. We met up with Andrea (who deserves a blog post of his own, including pictures of the almost-finished but definitely liveable house on the side of Shali), and even made some more Italian friends.

Yesterday was spent recovering from the Siwa night bus and desperately trying to finish my last essay for Ann Arbor; last dinner of the year was a good singaal at Abou Ashraf in Anfushi (which Melissa loved), followed by relatively low-key festivities at the Spitfire. No clock in the bar, and everyone argued over the time (all our watches were different), until someone just started the countdown from ten — at which point we all joined in and raised our loving cups high. Melissa pushed me forward to sing Auld ang Syne, and I got to the end of the first verse before I realize that I was the only one singing.


Happy New Year, everyone! Kul sena wentum tayyibin!


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Norman was wondering why this hasn’t happened to him yet:

Nick George handcuffed after discovery of Arabic flashcards in his carry-on.

I wondered the same.

Presently, I wonder if this is an isolated incident, or if it happens all the time. Indeed, I wonder.

If this were me:

“Excuse me, sir, would you please step this way?”
– Sure thing. I’m just going to call the ACLU first.


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My house in bags

Arrived in Cairo 12:30 PM; caught the West Delta bus from the airport straight to Alex, but Ramadan traffic meant getting stuck in the city limits for a good four hours. Wretched, wretched trip — you could feel the smell of the on-bus lavatory seep into you hair like a thick sludge. Bus was packed by the time we got past Midan Tahrir.

When we reached the gates of the Alexandria governate, the driver booked it to Maw2if el-Gedid, presumably to make it there well before the iftar. The entire trip through the maze of sulfur fields and natural gas refineries felt like a race — one that continued when I hailed down a cab to Sporting. We pulled in to the Delta Street midan just as the sunset adhan rang out and the light turned silver. Amm Abdou was there at the front door of the old building when I came up. He greeted me with unusual warmth (and here, I know Nehad would crack cynically, “He’s remembering your wallet.”)

Madame Faten put me up in Fadhila’s old place, facing the street. It’s breezy and a little big, but I imagine I’ll have a roommate at some point.

After I unpacked my bags, I found plate of pears, a cup of icy tamrhind, and some stewed okra on the front table — Amm Abdou was just creeping out. God keep you in your safe return, he said. And welcome home.

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