A Long and Tiring Day...but a Good One!

Trip Start Dec 18, 2010
Trip End Jan 04, 2011

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Where I stayed
Our own beds for the first time in more than two weeks

Flag of United States  ,
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I waited until Wednesday morning, January 5 to write this final chapter in our trip of a lifetime.  We actually got home last night about 8:30 and after going through the mail, we both dropped in bed like rocks.  

We got picked up by our guide and taken to the Cairo Airport about 9:00 pm on Monday, January 3. It was about two hours before our flight, as we checked through our first round of security, a young lady said, "Your name is Colee?"  Yes.  She reached in her drawer and pulled out Laura's hairdryer that the Israelis had confiscated (for some unknown reason).  We thanked her for her kinness.  We checked in where another security guard asked us about when we came to Egypt, why and where we had been.  Most intensive questioning we had received.  Checked into the flight with Delta, and on to the gate.  Our original man in Cairo, Mohammed met us for a minute or two to say good bye...we tipped him well and asked if he would meet Laura as she flew back from Israel to Cairo later this month.  I'm confident he will.  Headed to the gate and to our amazement, the flight was boarding 1:30 minutes before takoff.  Then we found out why.  Two more security screenings to go through.  Well, at least I felt safe we didn't have a terrorist aboard.

Got on the plane for the 12 hour flight to NYC.  Sandy and I slept for 4-5 hours and dozed off for another two, maybe.  Landed in NYC at 5:00 am on Tuesday, January 4.  We first cleared Immigration...and you know, the guy who checked us in, who I am sure was tired too, said, "Welcome home folks."   And that made me feel good. 

Then it was on to Customs, and that as easy too.  We didn't spend much over there on souvenirs (sorry to disappoint you!). 

We boarded the tram to get our rental car...after two stops, found out we were on the wrong train and got off, took the other one and finally got to Hertz.  Rental car was a breeze, but my Garmin wasn't working, so we used the MapQuest directions...thought we were lost a couple times, but after a 15-minute traffic jam due to an accicent (that was mere child's play compared to the traffic in Cairo), we made it across the bridge to Jersey.

I knew we were going to be close to Hackenack and Jersey City, so I wanted to compare a challenge I had seen on the Travel Channel on the best "sliders" in Jersey.  Most of us in the midwest know Sliders from White Castle.  These are two restaurants with very similar names, one in Hackensack (White Manna Hambugers) and one in Jersey City (White Mana - with only ONE "N" Hamburgers).  Found the one in Hackensack with no problem and we were their first sale of the day at 8:00 am.  They fed us on the plane, but the food was terrible, which surprised us because the food flying over was very good.  Anyway, White Manna (with two "Ns" was very good).  Interestingly, there is a White Castle right down the street from this place!!!   We drove the ten miles to Jersey City and after almost getting lost and heading back into NYC, we found the other one.  It was not quite as good (in my humble opinion).  After almost getting lost again, we finally found our way to I-95 and on the Philly to drop some things off at Laura's apartement.)

After doing our parently duty, we had a few hours to burn before our 4:25 flight and headed to Independence Hall for a look at the Liberty Bell and where the Declaration of Independence was signed.  We had been there before, but that was sort of a nice welcome back to America as well.  And being the historian I am, I was able to answer some of the tour guide's (who was outstanding...and you know, I didn't even have to tip him!) questions as he gave us the tour.  As we walked back to our car, a nice parking police lady was just about to give us a ticket, as our meter had just expired...she smiled and said, "Enjoy your day." and moved on.

Took the car back to Hertz and got a surprise there...nice lady said, "Would you like a ride back to the airport?  If so, you hop in the back (meaning me) and I'll have this gentleman drive you over there."  Never had that happen before, have you?  Nice service!

Checked into the flight, headed to the gate and ate a Philly Cheesesteak (not as good as Gino's), and got on the plane to Detroit.  We were planning on sleeping for a hour or so, but as luck would have it, we were seated in the row in front of the exit aisle...you know, the one that doesn't relcine...that, and a screaming infant made sleep near impossible.  

Made it to Detroit and on to the BMI flight.  No problems.  Actually got in Bloomington a little early.  Bryan and Kevin picked us up at the airport and after dropping Bryan off at his apartment, we were home.  We all three slept very soundly, safe and secure in our own beds for the first time in a while.  Kevin fell asleep next to Grandma in our bed...Grandma didn't seem to mind.

It truly was a great trip.  We saw and were a part of many beautiful and fantastic things on our trip.  We had walked in the footsteps of Jesus, seen where he was born, raised, preached, betrayed and crucified.  We spent a very special Christmas Eve at the Churck of St. Catherine in Bethelhem.  We saw some teriffic sites in Jordan, including the spectacular Petra.  And we saw the wonders of the pyramids, and tombs of the Pharos of ancient Egypt.  We found the people of Israel very strong in their faith, beliefs and convictions.  We found crossing borders to be a pain.  We found the people of Jordan to be warm, friendly and with a great sense of humor.  And we found Egypt, although dirty and Cairo smoggy and the traffic truly unbelieveable, a magical place where a proud people have lived and prospered for thousands of years due mainly to one large river.

And in the end, we also discovered that it's good to get back home and that travel to countries like this, while it broadens your mind and perspective on the world, makes you appreciate what we have here in America.   

For those of you who have sent me messages after reading my blog...thank you.  Makes me feel good that you at least were interested.  And I actually found myself looking foward to updating the blog daily.   I'll do it again.  Sandy and I on more than one occasion, found ourselves saying, after a funny or not-so-funny incident, "That's going in the blog."  Thanks for playing along! 

Take care and may God Bless!
Dave & Sandy

P.S.  Now, if can only download those 1000 pictures!!!                        

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Mike Dahlkamp on

Welcome Home Dave...glad was a great trip and all went well..nothing like being back in the good ol' US of A....as for Philly, glad you are a true believer in Steak and Cheese...Geno's is the best especially the cheez whiz...and don't cross the street to Pat's...once again, welcome home

Steph Kinney on

What an adventure you two have just completed! Enjoyed following along with your blogs, when my work day would allow! Glad you two are home safe and sound. I'm certain this was a trip you will cherish forever. WELCOME HOME!

Barb Haab on

Dave and Sandy - what a trip of a lifetime. Lori shared your blog with me so I've been following it daily. I feel like my world has been opened up being along with you virtually. Dave, you did such an incredible job of detailing your trip, I agree with some others that you should write a book! Hope Sandy takes some time to rest up before heading back to the Farm. Thanks for sharing your experiences with those of us back in Bloomington (and elsewhere). I know it's not a trip that you will ever forget - imagine being in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve - simply priceless! Can't wait for the pictures!

Jack Vetter on

Thanks Dave, for all the effort you put into this. We enjoyed it. You may have a second career started!

Lynnette on

Welcome Home!!!

Thanks for sharing!! It has been wonderful reading about your adventure!! I think that you have found a second career.

Kay Robertson on

Dave, I had no idea you were this articulate - in fact,am sure now that Sandy wrote most of this. Seriously, thanks for taking us along on your trip. It was darn nice of you. It may even be worth a lunch.

Debbie Bull on

Welcome home! Glad you arrived back in the States safely. I so enjoyed reading your blogs and even read some of them more than once. If you don't write a book of some sort during your retirement - you are CRAZY! Looking forward to pictures if you can figure it out.

Janice Kiedaisch on

Glad you are home Dave and Sandy. Enjoyed reading your blog everyday as did some of my children. Hope to see both of you in February when I travel to B/N.

Emily Dunham on

Hi Dave,

I felt like I could hear your voice as I was reading this blog... I enjoyed hearing about your escapades, now I want to see those pictures :)

ISU Pride!

Dan on

Welcome home my friend! Loved these missives! Look forward to seeing you next week.

Mark Collins on

Dave / Sandy - thanks for sharing your incredible experiences and adventures with everyone. I really enjoyed your postings and looked forward them. Actually, I am a bit disappointed that your trip is over so I guess you will have to blog about Bloomington now!

Thanks for sharing!


Curt on

Oddly enough, I think the rest of us are bummed your vacation is over! :) We've enjoyed going on your trip....

Neubs on

Dave, glad this experience was all that you hoped for and then some. Your travels from what we've read were not like in the movie Stripes where Bill Murray likens going to Chezcklozovakia to going into Wisconson. Anyway, welcome home, and as others have said, thanks for taking us along through your blog.

Rustyl on

Thanks for the blog emails. I took my family to Disney in Floriday for the first time the exact same time you left on your trip. Therefore, after catching up on work emails this week, I will admit that I have not read all of your blogs, but so far they are intersting. Did you have Dipzz withdrawals? It is in stock... Take care.

Steve on

Double Eagle...thanks man, Andrea and I felt like we lived every experience with you. We went to the desert as well. Welcome home!!!

Ray on

What can I say that hasn't already been said. Reading your Blogs made us all feel like we were right there with you. What an incredible adventure you were on and I'm sure you won't forget it. Thanks again for sharing and welcome home!

Kent Krause on

Welcome home, sir! Thanks for sharing your amazing trip with us.

Kristy Funk on

Wow, just finished reading about your trip of a lifetime! Amazing. Glad you had a great time!

It sounds like you are going to have to come out of retirement with all the tipping you had to do! Yikes!

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