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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Coming Home from Egypt

Once Linda had booked our flight from Cairo to Washington, D.C., she found us a flight from Washington to Minneapolis and we began preparing to leave.

Because of the dust that infiltrates everything in Cairo, we wrap the furniture in plastic before we leave our condo for the trip home.  We start with 50 yards of plastic.  It comes to us as a long tube about four feet wide and the first job is to unroll it and slit it to turn it into a long plastic sheet.

This year we had purchased and brought with us some "furniture bags" for the sofa and two chairs.  This simplified the process.  We also keep a number of bags to use in covering lamps, electronics and the like.  Even so, we still use most of the 50 yards of wrap.  It is a long process.

Our condo cats are going to miss us for the next nine months.  We think Grayson really wanted to come home with us.

Our Egypt Air flight was departing at 11:00 a.m. so we had a chance to head to the airport in daylight.  For some reason, most of our flights home have previously departed around midnight to 3 a.m.
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The plane was packed with about 370 passengers.  There were embassy employees rotating out and some ESL teachers who had been preparing Egyptian military for their studies in the U.S. and a general assortment of folks who were just stuck for a while.  Masks were quite common.  I rode the middle-seat for the ten and a half hour flight while Linda had the window.
Return-2  Return-1-3

We arrived late Friday afternoon at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, just west of Washington.  Our flight to Minneapolis would not be leaving until 6:00 the next morning so we took shelter at the airport Marriot which is very close to the terminal.  What a wonderful welcome to the U.S. to see the cherry trees in full bloom just outside our room. The trees in the courtyard were as close to Washington's famous cherry blossom festival as we (or anyone else) could get since the festival was cancelled this year.

We quickly discovered that all restaurants in the hotel were closed, however, room service was available.  Unfortunately, the phones were not working - so it took a while to get our order placed and have a wonderful hamburger dinner - with bacon!!!

We took the 3:45 a.m. shuttle to the airport where we discovered that there were no large crowds.  Our tickets from Washington to Minneapolis on Delta Airlines cost only $107 each.  But we would be charged for each piece of baggage to the tune of $120.00. That called for negotiation - after all we had tickets home from Cairo on Delta which permitted two free bags for each of us. Short version of the story: we negotiated free baggage.  But we were shocked that the ticket agent, the gate agent, the flight attendants and virtually everyone in the terminal was unmasked.

With no other planes taking off and with very few passengers on our plane, we quickly departed Washington just before sunrise and in two and a half hours approached the Minnesota border.  (That peninsula in the St. Croix river is part of Kinnickinnic State Park.)  There was still a covering of snow on the ground, just as when we left.
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Once we reached home, we unpacked and examined our Egyptian purchases.  Fabric, a map, blue pyramids, some souvenir coins, a pound of coffee, a tote bag, the pillow cushion covers and, of course, eleven rolls of toilet tissue - we had heard about the shortage here while there was no shortage in Egypt.

Within a couple of days, one of our dear neighbors across the street sewed custom masks for us as a welcome home gift.

We are now halfway through our self-imposed fourteen days of isolation.

Regular blog readers, do not despair.  I still have photos, culled from the six thousand I took this year, to support a multitude of additional blog posts and will continue to post highlights of this year's Egyptian adventures over the coming days and weeks.



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