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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Return to Egypt - 2020

We are returning to Egypt for our usual winter weather break from the Minnesota winter and "cultural anthropology" tour.

This is our twelfth January in the apartment although I have been coming to Egypt since 2003 and Linda has been coming, well, let's just say "for many years."

We departed Minneapolis early in the morning on January 6 and arrived in Cairo in the afternoon of the 7th.  January 7th is Christmas Day on the Coptic Church calendar and is a national holiday throughout Egypt.  This display of Santa with his sleigh and reindeer by the Christmas tree greeted us in the airport lobby.

If you have pre-conceived ideas of what Egypt is like, this may surprise you.

The total travel time from wake-up to arrival at our condo was about twenty-six hours with about twelve of those hours actually in the air.

We had only a minor hassle at the MSP airport since Delta thinks we need an Egyptian visa in our passport before leaving Minneapolis.  It is much more convenient to buy one upon arrival than go through the process of obtaining it in advance and our baggage agent soon found the fine print that confirmed that fact.

The Minneapolis airport now has a Prince store in the main concourse - it has been there since last summer.  It is always interesting to see changes in the airports as we travel.

The Rome airport, on the other hand features both smoking booths - similar to those in Paris

and lounging couches - these were well covered by weary travelers looking for a quick nap between flights.

Boston's airport has greatly expanded since our last visit.  It must have been a half-mile walk from our arrival in terminal A to the international departure gate in terminal E.  They have very poor signage for the connecting traveler but we did have about three hours to make the connection.

Alitalia flights on the next two legs were pleasant enough.  The airline claims to have particularly good food and both the lasagna dinner on the trans-Atlantic flight and lunch on the trip down to Egypt were both quite tasty by my standards.

That is a slice of turkey lying on green beans served as an antipasto on the left with the lasagna on the right.

The Airbus plane from Rome to Cairo lacked movie/information screens and we had to take a bus out to board the aircraft - I don't think this was Alitalia's top grade airplane.  With good tailwinds the flight time from Boston to Rome was a bit under seven hours.  Flight time from Rome to Cairo was less than three hours.

Passage through passport and immigration control in the Cairo airport is smooth and efficient.  Those are words seldom used in connection with Egyptian government operations but they are anxious for tourists to get into the country and start spending money.  The exit from the airport is guarded by a large statue of the Egyptian goddess of protection, Serqet.   She is one of four ancient deities who protect the shrine of King Tut.  That is a scorpion on her head, by the way, not a space shuttle.   

Everything was in good order at the condo.  All the stove burners worked, the water heater and other plumbing all worked.  After twenty-four hours, Linda had all the plastic off the furniture and we had only to deal with the telephone and Internet.  We are getting by on temporary cell-phone service at the moment.  The electricity didn't go out until this morning - and only for about fifteen minutes, then.

As the saying goes, "Welcome to Egypt!"


Aliza said...

I love the Prince store!!!!!!

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