WE MADE IT TO CAIRO, EGYPT
Trip Start Dec 09, 2005
25Trip End Jan 01, 2006
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Yes, we retrieved our missing luggage from Delta Airlines, even though no one could (or would) tell us a word about where our three bags have been for the past 16 hours since we arrived yesterday at JFK Airport in New York City. To top off the fact that our luggage didn't arrive with us yesterday, we discovered some damage to our brand new luggage - one missing rear wheel on the largest piece (why couldn't it have been the small bag?) and an excessive amount of dirt on the other pieces (okay, I guess the bags couldn't stay brand spanking new forever)
Although we were able to shower last night at our hotel, I didn't think I could take another 24 hours in the exact same clothes, so I decided to at least change into my sweat pants, plus I wanted to spend the 10 hour flight to Egypt in as much comfort as possible. Which is why I also took out my contact lenses, which I had been wearing since 7 a.m. yesterday morning, in exchange for my glasses, and we headed from Terminal 3 to Terminal 4 to check in for our international flight.
Michael, in his zeal to move on from the missing luggage incident, sped past me down the escalator onto the Air Train, and just as I was about to board the train the doors began to close and I stood frozen on the shiny tile floor and watched as my sweetheart became enclosed in the moving vehicle. What I had hoped to tell him as I caught up to him was that this was the wrong train AGAIN! We needed to be headed in the other direction, just one stop over for Terminal 4. Thank God for cell phones. We did eventually reconnect at the appropriate terminal, after he took the scenic route around JFK Airport. What the heck will we do in Egypt if something like this happens; when our cell phones will be of absolutely no use to us because neither of us has an international cell phone plan. Oh well, no need to worry about that now.
After check-in, we grabbed a bite to eat, did some people watching and then headed over to the gate to await the call to board our flight. While waiting, we discovered two unattended electrical outlets, and we couldn't resist juicing up our cell phones, rechargeable batteries, camcorder and laptop. Are we carrying way too much technology on this trip, or what? Well, there we were basically stealing electricity from JFK and making our final calls to family members prior to leaving the country, and a thought occurred to me - perhaps there's a wireless Internet connection we can tap into so we can send out yesterday's travelogue. Never one to miss an opportunity for anything free, Michael tried it, and sure enough, he got the connection. No sooner did he log onto travelpod.com then they made the announcement to board our flight. In a frantic rush, Michael quickly cut and pasted the travelogue and sent it out to all of our family and friends. I'm sure the people around us suspected us as being some kind of spies or something. But who cares? We got the log entered and sent and still made it on board in plenty of time for departure.
Once on board, we were bombarded with the sounds of various languages and accents coming from the other passengers. It was then that reality set in - we're really on our way to Egypt! As we settled into our seats and peered excitedly out the window into the darkened space, illuminated by the numerous airport lights, the plane took off and we were on our way.
The in-flight entertainment include three hours of Arabic TV with English subtitles, then an American movie, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), with Arabic subtitles. The movie sucked big time. I'm glad I didn't spend my money on that one at the box office!
Here's the interesting thing about the flight. Periodically, we experienced short bursts of fragrance being filtered through the air vent system. These smells filled the cabin with various scents ranging from citrus to floral to very perfumy. It was sort of like in-flight aroma therapy. Soon enough we realized that it was most likely Egypt Air's way of boosting sales for the duty free items they were hocking, which included cigarettes (which totally baffled me because ours was a non-smoking flight - thank God!), and, of course - perfume.
After a flavorless meal of fish, vegetables and potatoes, and a few hours of sleep, we awoke semi-rested, and peeped out the window to be greeted by the bright sun of the skies over Paris, France (according to the in-flight monitor). Just three more hours and we'd be in Cairo. So we freshened up and enjoyed the rest of the ride, experiencing the awakening of the other passengers on board flight 986.
The landscape of Egypt is surprisingly more green and lush from an aerial view than I had imagined. But there is quite an expanse of desert land. As the plane descended on the city, I could see clusters of buildings in various shades of beige, all of which were sprinkled with several satellite dishes. A smooth landing and we were finally at our long-awaited destination.
Inside the airport, we hustled over to get our Visas (a very easy process), then in another line to receive the stamp in our passports indicating entry into Cairo, Egypt. There, we made it - and so did our luggage! And we were off. Enroute to the Cairo Marriott, our driver weaved effortlessly through the city's traffic, and within 30 minutes dropped us off at the Palace Entrance of this 5-star hotel with golden columns and intricate trimmed accents, marble tile floors inside and out, and an ornate, yet quaint lobby that featured, much to my surprise, a miniature Christmas display, complete with faux snow, a train and three Barbie dolls dressed up like ice skaters. And what could make this day any better for us? How about some sushi! I know that sounds strange, eating sushi in Egypt. But we love the stuff, even though Michael's nieces and nephews think it's more like something straight out of Fear Factor. But what a way to cap off the day. Needless to say, we're looking forward to exploring the hotel and the city tomorrow. But tonight, we need to rest.
We are still working out our strategies for upload our travel log to the web for your reading enjoyment. Michael brought along his laptop but getting a wireless Internet connection appears to be more difficult then we first imagine. So we will probably write out our thoughts of the day's event, copy to his data key and use the hotel business center computers terminal to access the Internet and upload our file for posting to our Travel pod. Our pictures and videos will be another problems but we hope to do the same as we figure out the best means of doing that too. Look for more postings along with updates as we discover all that Egypt and Jordan has in store for us.