Week 20: Homeward Bound

Monday morning bright and early, Andy (our professor), Mary-Elizabeth, and Isaac (roommate) walked me to the bus stop which would take me from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.  It was surreal (again) walking along the Old City (Jerusalem) walls with my professor and friends to fly back to Kenya.

When the bus finally pulled up, a woman about my age walked up to the bus as well.  Stacey is from Indiana and has been teaching in Korea for the past year and half.  We started talking and discovered that we were both flying to Cairo and had layovers until 11 PM (we were arriving in Cairo at noon).

It was an interesting bus ride to Tel Aviv as we picked up several Jewish people with cool hats.  They had to take their hats off in the bus because they could not fit otherwise.

We arrived to the airport and had the joy of going through Israel security.  Not just Israel security, but Israel security a day after a ceasefire had been declared with Gaza.  So, it was a bit hairy.  It took me 2 and a half hours to get through security.  All of the inspectors were pretty grumpy as well.

When it came to searching my checked bags, luckily, I had a really nice women.  I had an entire bag of things that were donated from my seminary group which added to the interestingness.  The fun began when she pulled out 11 bags of M&Ms and 4 bags of Reeses.  Luckily, she was just jealous!

Then she came upon the feminine products I was bringing back to Kenya to donate.  Luckily (once again), she just found a small box of tampons…at first.  This is when it became fun for a second.  She looked up at me with a bewildered, worried face and said “um, why do you have tampons?”  I replied simply, “there is a project in Kenya, where I’m going, where we donate feminine products to women who otherwise would not have them.”  This was a satisfactory answer and she carried on with her job which included taking about 5 more boxes/bags of feminine products out.  Fun times.

Thus ends the checked baggage search.  I was grumpy at this point, but they had a security guy take me over to the check-in desk and rush me through so I was less grumpy.

I then found out why he rushed me through when I was blessed with the gift of going through “Line 1″ of the carry-on security.  Here I got to take out everything electronic…which if you know me…was almost everything I had.  My Mac’s power cord was what became my Achilles’ Heal.

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As you can see I have duck taped my power cord’s box because it sits on the floor in Kenya which is usually wet during the rainy seasons.  So, I duck taped it (logically).  Well, that wasn’t a good enough answer so security…so I had 3 officials come and look at it.  Finally, they deduced that I was a not terrorist and I told them that I appreciated the sentiment.  I went to the gate and had a few minutes before the plane began to board.

We arrived to Cairo around noon.  Stacey had never been to Cairo, so she wanted to go see the Pyramids.  I had spent a week with them and wasn’t so down with spending money, but decided that it would be fun and “you only live once.”  Egypt Air has a tourist deal where rather than buying a visa to sit in their airport ($15) you can pay $20 and have a tour of the pyramids and a nice dinner.  I was very weary of accepting this offer, but we did it.  We hopped in the Egypt Air bus which took us to the Pyramids (20 minute drive).  On our way there we picked up our guide (we didn’t know this was going to happen).  He was old and everybody knew him wherever we went which made me quite sure he was some sort of God Father Pyramid Man (you never know).  So, we saw the Pyramids.  It was just as impressive as the first time and cool to see them again through another angle with another presenter.

First Sighting of Pyramids Round II:
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Looking at Pyramids in between the Sphinx and the Pyramids:
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The Sphinx Round II:
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The Nile:
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Then we were taken to a perfume shop (part of the catch).  We sat through a short speal about perfume and smelled some.  It was funny because Stacey hates perfume, but was gracious and sat through it anyway.  At the end, I told him kindly that we were not interested and that was that.  I was relieved that we were pressured.

Then we went to New Cairo which is on the other side of Cairo by the airport.  It is a thriving area with nice apartments and a big outdoor food court.  There was a McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and many other chain restaurants.  We went to the one restaurant that was not a chain which I liked.  It was a very nice dinner which in the States would cost $15 at least and it was included in our $20 for the entire tour.  Not too shabby.

We then returned to the airport around 7 PM and hung out until my flight boarded at 10 PM.  It was great to be with Stacey for the day, a fellow traveling companion who was from the States.

Stacey and I after a long day:
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I took some Tylenol PM once on board the plane for my 5 hour flight back to Nairobi.  I slept most of the way with our plane arriving early at about 3:30 AM.  I didn’t want to call anybody and wake them up so I just sat down right outside the airport and fell asleep on my bags until Rodgers arrived to pick me at 5:30.  On the drive home I fell asleep again which is really hard for me to do usually.  And I was finally home, in my bed, after being in transit for almost 24 hours.

I like my bed.

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  1. Series – Egypt Trip | rtqblog - July 16, 2011

    […] Week 20: Homeward Bound […]

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