Thursday, January 3, 2008

Egypt Day One and a Half--Still Traveling

I thought flying to Egypt would be unbearable. It’s a lengthy flight, and I hadn’t had much sleep. Truthfully, the flight wasn’t bad at all. I watched part of Mr. Bean’s Holiday--without sound because my ear phone jack wasn’t working--which was fine. I’m not sure sound makes much of a difference with that kind of movie. I cat-napped and missed some action movies, but I’d seen them before, so no worries. I listened to my iPod until it died; its battery’s getting old, so that didn’t kill much time. I got up and wandered the cabin a little because I’d been told it’s a good idea to do such on long flights. Most other people on the flight didn’t bother; I can see why. It’s a little awkward. There’s only so much room in the aisles--forget personal space. And most everyone on the flight was relatively bored, so there were rows and rows of people who can’t help but look at you while you’re up walking--forget keeping a low profile.

Oh well, I got to stretch my legs and chat with a few complete strangers. Some of the conversationalists were fellow ‘People to People’, mostly excited about the trip. However, one lady I talked to was with a different group. They were traveling to Egypt and a few other places on a ‘spiritual journey’. I’m pretty sure I saw her group a couple times, about a week later, in Egyptian temples. The first time, in the innermost sanctum at Luxor, they were standing with their foreheads and fingertips planted against the walls. And the second time, they were sitting on a balcony at Philae with their eyes closed. Well, I hope the lady and her friends found, or someday will find, what they’re looking for.

The only other interesting thing about the flight was my usual game of observing people and trying to figure them out--it’s a writer thing. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered I’m a horrible guesser. Most people on the flight were obviously with ‘People to People’, a small amount of others seemed to be coming back from or going to visit families, and a few were business travelers. One guy seemed different, obviously an American college student--right?--tall, blonde, early twenties, comfortable traveling clothes, his own music, traveling alone. I think I pegged him for being on some kind of personal-adventure trip. I later learned he was with my mom’s math delegation--I never would have guessed. (See 'Camel ride with mathematician/life guard', pic to the left.) I lost at my own stupid game. (It’s okay. I’m pretty sure some Saturday-morning cartoon once said, we can all be winners, if we learn from our mistakes.

So, eventually the plane did land in Egypt, just in case you were wondering. Mom and I got to exit onto the tarmac via stairs, and, unlike New York, the air was soft and warm--the fairytale had only just begun.

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