A Long and Tiring Day...but a Good One!
Trip Start Dec 18, 2010
20Trip End Jan 04, 2011
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Where I stayed
Our own beds for the first time in more than two weeks
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
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
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
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
Take care and may God Bless!
Dave & Sandy
P.S. Now, if can only download those 1000 pictures!!!