OMG it is intense busyness here. I looked out the window to the plane and saw sand. Yes, that is what I saw...lots of it. As we were landing, I thought wow are we landing right in the sand? They don't have a tarmac? By the way, forgive the typos as I have had very little sleep. The vision I kept getting with this trip is getting off the plane—that is all my guides have imparted to me about this trip. I am not sure what to expect other than getting off the plane. We actually did land on a paved runway road with sand on both sides of us.
So here, I am just getting off the plane, by the way, did you know that planes have a back door that you can leave on? I just found out they do. I just walked down the steps from the back of the plane. Egypt welcomed us with a very windy welcome. There was a two link bus waiting to take us from the middle of the desert to our entry point. Amazing! I wanted to take pictures, but not one tourist took out a camera and I thought probably not a good idea until I am admitted into the country and I learn the rules a little more. So we are herded into the airport security point where you are welcomed by an English speaking man who was nice except he said what he needed to and if you have to ask him any questions, well the thing is that I don't think he understood and repeated what he said in a not so pleasant manner.
I keep thinking about what my twin said in an ethereal way to me...”Don't be yourself. Don't be so friendly and nice. You are in a foreign country.” Mind you those thoughts words rang loud and clear as I looked around to the other side of Customs gate.
Had to go and get a VISA which you pay for and then you are on your way to fill out a piece of paper that by the way, the airlines should have provided for us or at the very least informed us, but they didnt. So what I am saying is that the crew of that Delta was not very good at preparation, or keeping us hydrated (thank goodness I brought water aboard) or feeding us. By the way, as an American after an overnight flight, I would think you would choose to have breakfast upon waking regardless what time it is in the country you will be arriving in, but apparently pizza and a chickpea salad is the customary breakfast on Delta. I digress.
I get to Customs and they take my passport, but don't say you can pick it at the little tiny hole (opening in a black walled area). I was a little concerned to say the least. Then, I look in the little tiny hole and say that is my passport and this man looks up at me and says, this is yours? As if I was asking me surprised. Weird.
All these tour companies are there with signs to pick up there people. I look and look and do not find anyone to pick me up...no April D'Amato signs, no Scarab Tour signs, no Oasis hotel signs. Uh oh is my first thought as I look at the mob of people dwindling down as we get our luggage. My peeps I met on the plane were really sweet and said good bye to me wishing me well. I have to say I was a little nervous and then lo and behold a nice looking young man holds up a tour sign and was I ever grateful. He tells me we have to wait and we make small talk...the small talk consists of him asking me three times, is this your first time to Egypt? I say yes it is. Then he asks me, is this your first time to Africa? Is this your first time to the Middle East and I think oh shit...it is ...Egypt Africa and the Middle East...wow I am here. What the hell I made it...and we sit for about a half hour while I try to figure out how to use this little miniature doll size laptop to send one sentence email to my dad and my friend to let them kn ow I arrive. I was thirsty so I walk over to the counter to buy a bottle of water (now hours later wish I bought ten bottles of water). The price was 7 Egyptian pounds which I do not know what that is in US dollars, but I can't promise you that I ever will since conversion of numbers and money is not my strong suit.
We wait and then my “driver” arrives to bring me to the hotel which is not thee same man who held up the tour sign. The tour sign guy who I do not know his name (he told me, but I didn't understand). Just a quick aside...I highly recommend you know some Arabic if you come to an Arabic country....I don't which is why I say that. Anyway, so here I am with the tour guy bringing me out of the airport which was really interesting experience...walking to the exit is all windows just like at home at an airport, except here you are greeted by a mob of people looking at you...I mean a mob like 100 or so that didn't want to go into the airport to greet you at the luggage area. So here I am, following tour guy out the door with all this luggage. As I walk out I am sadly mistaken to think the driver is right there waiting for me. No he is about a 3-4 minute walk to a car that looks nothing like the name limosene that is on the door (the walk felt like eternity when you are a tired woman on like maybe 3 hours sleep, thirsty, needing to pee and carrying luggage). The car was probably smaller than my honda.