Monday, April 12, 2010


Zdraveytey everybody!

So I told you last time that I was going on some secret vacation to somewhere. I went to Egypt and this is the first of my series of posts on my trip. There are going to be a lot, however I have no set number so I’ll just tell you when it’s over.

Today I want to talk about the trip to Egypt and the players in this game. I suppose I’ll start with the latter because it’s a shorter story.

First, I need to start with Dawn. Without her this wouldn’t be possible at all. Otherwise it would have been way too expensive for any of us to stay here.

Next, we have Anna. You may remember her from New Years. She was also the first one I invited to Egypt. We had spoken about it earlier before there were any plans and she had expressed a reasonable amount of interest in going to see pyramids. I can’t imagine why.

This is Anne and Josh. They are one of the three married couples in our group. Josh is a teacher, like me, and Anne works as a Special Education (provider?). Anne was most certainly super excited to go. Josh wasn’t as outwardly excited but I can assure you that he was as excited as “The Cookie Monster in an Oreo factory” or a hippopotamus.

Now we have Carolyn. She also has a tendency to understate her excitement but there were definitely clear moments of utter joy during the last couple days. Scuba diving in particular brought out the small child in her. Not the kicking and screaming part of being thrown into the water for the first time, the part where she’s having too much fun to hide.

Last, but not least, we have Matt. He’s yet another teacher (we’re all teachers except for Anne) and he’s from one of the groups that came before us. He’s a super smart guy and happened to be my roommate for the duration of our stay in Egypt. He also eats super slowly like he feels like he needs to squeeze out every last nutrient into his mouth before swallowing.

And I suppose that there’s me.

So on April 1, we were all to meet in Bourgas for the trip to Cairo. The plan was to take one of the daily overnight buses into Istanbul then get on the plane to Egypt. Carolyn came to my place the night before so that it would be easier to arrange the transportation and we could keep each other company. That was a great choice, by the way, because the damn train ride was over 5 hours long. We both knew it was going to be a rough 48 hours.

Upon arriving in Cairo we met with Anna, Josh and Anne. Matt was going to meet us in Istanbul. We had Chinese food and walked around the city for a few hours then made our way to the bus station. We checked in and were led to a very dark corner of the city. A little unsettling, perhaps, but it was the right spot. It was time for a 9 hour bus ride.

Not many things happened but there were a few highlights. I met a Turkish man from Varna who was studying to be a doctor. We went through a strangely low security checkpoint at the Bulgaria-Turkey border. We made friends with the bus’s conductor. And the damn bus ride was 9 freaking hours. There’s no getting around it.

There weren’t any more problems for the rest of the trip to Cairo. We got to Istanbul, checked in at the airport and sat around for a couple hours. The only things to note are the 10 Euro sandwich that I ate and the strangely delicious salmon they served us on the plane. So everyone knows, Turkish Airlines has amazing food.

When we met Dawn in Cairo things got a little worrisome. After piling into the tiny van, the driver got stopped by someone in the airport parking lot and his license was taken away. After some ‘discussion’ he got it back but was stopped at least 4-5 more times after that. Also, we may or may not have almost gotten into a car crash. I say “may or may not” because crazy driving is the norm on the road. Anne got a little stressed out from all the weaving we did.

When we got to the apartment building, it turns out that it was way nicer than we expected. ‘Way nicer’ means that those apartments would be something to strive towards later in life. Dawn was able to get us into the two extra apartments in the building and those, plus her extra room, meant that we all had very comfortable lodgings for our time there.

Finally, to end the day, we all went to City Stars mall. It’s the largest mall in Egypt and if you were to tell me that it’s the largest mall in Africa I’d believe you. There aren’t any words to describe the mall other than insanely huge. It was also nicer than any other mall I’ve ever been to. Anything we wanted we could find it there. We even had Fuddruckers for dinner.

After we arrived back at the apartment the general consensus was to fall into bed and sleep. We had a very early morning the next day.

This isn’t the Peace Corps so I don’t have to say it is for the next few entries.


1 comment:

  1. I thought you were going with the cheese picture?