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Published: February 3rd 2010
Day 58: Saturday, January 23, 2010.
Athens, Greece to Cairo, Egypt.
I check out of the hotel around 9:30am and head over to the metro. It's about a block away and isn't that bad, if it wasn't for Monstro strapped to my back. I get there, buy a ticket for the metro that goes to the airport, go one station, switch metros and then about 5 stops later, get onto a tram that takes us directly to the airport. Not as exhausting as it sounds, and it's only 6 euros vs. a taxi being about 35-40 Euro.
I get Monstro checked and have about an hour before my flight so I decide to tempt fate and see if the airport has wi-fi. They do! And, they have the first 45 minutes free- yea! I then updated the rest of the blogs so for the first time on this trip, the blog site is up to date- yea! Now that I think about it, I could have used those 45 minutes to watch the latest in Grey's Anatomy. Hmmm, guess you guys are more important 😊
So, hop on the bus that will take us to the plane (sigh) and
while waiting for the bus to go, I hear two very obvious accents, and one is Texan. I say that I love hearing familiar voices and ask them where they are from. She's form Austin, TX and he's from San Antonio. However, they both have lived in Athens for the past 2 years and work at the American Embassy. Very cool. We only have time to go to and fro a bit more before we have to board and we're on opposite ends of the plane, so that ends that for now.
The flight was uneventful, had the whole aisle to myself so I didn't have to act like I was ignoring any uber cute Greek guys. We fill out the weird custom thing that you have to fill out when going into a new country, land, and disembark and hop on a bus to take us to the airport. Sigh, I just want to walk into a terminal again. I meet my fellow Americans and find out that she helps Greeks get tourist visa's to the States and he is the Embassy Photographer. That got my attention! I try to talk to him about it some more but
we've arrived at the airport and we're being ushered into Visa lines. While I wait, I dig out my business card to give to them, finally get my visa and turn around and they're already going thru customs. They wave and it looks like they'll wait for me.
I get into the customs line and the custom officer didn't like the group of Asian tourists ahead of me. He ends up sending them all to the back of the line- oh joy, what mood am I going to get? I hand over my paperwork and do my "Hi! I'm a American, you all love us!" smile. He looks at my papers and, after glancing at me twice, says "Can I tell you something" (without looking at me.) I think "oh shit" and go "sure!" and prepare myself. "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen." Well hell! Go Egypt!! I smile and thank him and try not to think about the fact that he says that to each woman, still gives me an extra glow.
I get out to the luggage carousel and don't see my new American friends anywhere- dammit! I wandered a bit (after
grabbing my bag) and wait and about 3 minutes later a man comes up and asks if I'm with Contiki- yea! So, we get me loaded into the van and they shuttle me off to the Victoria Hotel
. I really wish I had given the American embassy folks my card in time- would have loved to hear how you get a photog job with them. Gives me another avenue to look into when I get back to the States.
It's only about a 20 minute car ride to the hotel and the guy keeps apologizing for the traffic but it reminds me of LA so I'm not worried. We get to the hotel, I get checked in and, so far, it looks like I don't have a roommate for this trip- yea!!! Don't know how I lucked out on that, but I'll take it! I toss my stuff in the room and since we're not supposed to meet up at the hotel until 7pm (and it's now 4:30pm) I go to walk around a bit. I walk for about 30 minutes but the hustle and bustle of Cairo isn't doing it for me so I head back to the hotel
and take a nap before heading downstairs.
There are about 26 of us on this tour
(there were 47 for the Europe one) with folks from Australia (majority), America, Canada, New Zealand, and Brazil. After we get all the info about the trip, our guide, Sherif, recommends places to go for dinner. There are about 12 of us that want to try one place called, "Gad"
so we head in that direction. Along the way I get to know Julie (from Boston) some more. We stop at an ATM and myself and Alex (from NYC) stop to get money. As I try to leave, the guard at the ATM gate keeps saying something to me. Finally, someone in the group figured out that he wanted tipped- that's huge here. Everyone wants a tip for everything. He wants a tip for allowing me to walk to and from the ATM without being attacked. I give him 1 Euro and he motions for more so I give him 50 cent and walk away as he indicates it's still not enough. Oye.
We find the restaurant and head upstairs and since there are so many of us we break into 2 tables.
8 at one, and 3 at the other. I'm at the table of 3 with Brent (from Perth, Australia) and aforementioned Alex. We have fun talking about this and that and staring in horror at the dish that Brent happily orders- stuffed pigeons. It wasn't that bad to look at 'til the end when he had picked most of the meat off and their little neck and heads were suddenly very obvious. Then one of the heads fell off and rolled on the table. I asked them if they had heard Bill Cosby's skit about "Fernet Branca"
and they said no. I said it pertains, they should check it out. Just then, Brent mentions that the birds aren't sitting right. I laughed and told him that was the main problem Cosby had with them too. (Note: Next morning he said he was still tasting the pigeons in his burps.)
We pay our bills and head on out. Everyone except Julie and I want to go to a liquor store to stock up for the overnight train ride tomorrow night. So, we wave goodbye and head back to the hotel. We stop at a ATM for her (where she doesn't get harassed by the guards) and then at a local food stand to pick up some water and munchies for the trip tomorrow. We head into the hotel and I grab a shower before everyone else uses the hot water. I'm smurt! However, I'm not so smart that I can figure out how to stand in the bathtub. It looks like a normal bathtub, just shorter. And then you step in and almost die. The first 1/3 (by the drain) is flat and normal. The middle 1/3 does a quick incline up to the the last 1/3 where it is a gentle slop. I'm guessing it's a bathtub made for sitting in and showering that way. However, if you would rather stand in your shower, like me, then that means if you step out of the first 1/3 then you instantly slip and start to fall and madly grab on to whatever you can find. Seriously, I almost took a major fall at least 3 times.
So, tomorrow we're off to see the pyramids and the sphinx, the museum, and there's a camel ride in there somewhere before we get on an overnight train to Aswan. Should be fun!!!
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