CAIRO AGAIN

I arrived yesterday and was met by one of the administrators from the school, and a driver, who got me to the hotel by noon. After dealing with priorities  (restroom, shower, food, and a reconnaissance of the golf course), I collapsed and spent the next 12 hours pleasantly snoozing among about 8 pillows in the luxury level accommodation. Occasional periods of awakening demanded a short trip outside on the balcony, to decide where to position my approach shot to that green in the event I am able to play.

As has been my previous experience on Turkish Airlines, the food and service were excellent, the planes exactly on time leaving and arriving, and my baggage arrived when I did. Why can’t our domestic airlines do that? I received an email from my co-chairperson, flying United; he’s already missed two flights and will be at least 5 hours late getting here.

On the day of my departure, I awoke early and started on “my list” at 8:30 a.m., mailing a package of Korean trinkets plus my new custom cashmere pea coat (don’t ask, I don’t know either where I’ll wear it in Thermopolis—but it was so inexpensive that I had to order it made!). I went back by the school we had just accredited, and had lunch with several of the staff. A few  more  hours killing time, then the bus to the airport. Again, I was excited to see all the flowers, trees, grass, modernity, mountains, and other characteristics of the Korean landscape. I had taken this bus at 4 p.m., it is the last one of the day, to the airport. I then wandered the huge terminal for the next 6 hours, pausing to sample a Korean dinner based on a local version of cabbage supplemented by a few small portions of beef, from ribs. It was in a soup format accompanied by small dishes of unknown food items, and the usual bowl of white rice. I’m even getting “just ok” using chopsticks, at least I wouldn’t starve to death). The meal was delicious, but as it turned out, a bad idea. Over the next 24 hours, I was constantly reminded of the nature of cabbage in the system, and enjoyed its effects with periodic visits to the plane’s facilities. There was enough gas gurgling through my upper and lower body that I could have fueled a small city for at least a week.

The first flight was about 12 hours, quite smooth, and we reached Istanbul at 5:30 a.m. I had been able to sleep for several hours, in short bursts, on the plane; certainly a first for me. Note that I had now been awake, for the most part, for about 30 hours, with more to go. After a two hour hiatus, we boarded for the Cairo flight, and I finally reached the destination. Flying into Cairo, the pyramids were easily picked out of the surrounding areas, and were boldly lit by the morning sun. I still need to research why it is, or how it is, that the Nile is now so far away from them; from the air it looked like a couple of miles between.

The hotel is typical of the five star level—lots of amenities I wouldn’t use, like terry bathrobes, slippers, shower cap, cash bar, etc., and lacks the stuff I expect—free internet, sufficient number of drawers for my clothes, microwave for my popcorn, refrigerator for snacks. There are 99 channels on the TV, but only about a dozen in English, and one of them is Fox news.

I met the pro at the golf course, and almost had a heart attack when told the green fee yesterday was 350!. After regaining consciousness, it was explained that is in Egyptian pounds, about six to the dollar, so it was only about $55, with cart. And today, Sunday, the price drops to 200—that’s because in the World of Islam, Friday and Saturday are the weekend, Sunday a work day. Most of Friday is spent on religious activities. I think I can afford $35, plus club rental, this a.m.  And avoid Fridays.

Tomorrow, the school has arranged a City Tour of all the  major points of interest except the pyramids, which I’ve visited before. A highlight will be the Cairo Museum, which was off limits during the revolutionary activity—it’s on Tahrir Square where the rioting occurred.

I hope to spend some hours today working toward finishing my report from the last school, and preparing some flash drives for my new colleagues. And I hope my co-chair makes it here!

Always Be Happy!                                                   To Our Youth

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