The flight from Amman to Cairo smelled like cardamom. Oh, to be back in the Middle East where every day is a feast for the nose.
Cairo: I wait at the baggage claim for my luggage. I continue waiting as everyone else leaves. I ask Mr. Man in broken Arabic if there is more luggage. There is not. I go to the claim desk and have a lovely conversation with the man there and he tells me they will bring my luggage to the airport when they find it. I’m not hopeful, but I think to myself, “I musn’t forget my passport” since I had given it to him while he was searching for the luggage.
I find the driver for CASA and there’s another student waiting with him speaking what sounds like perfect Egyptian colloquial. I, on the other hand, listen to a stream of sounds come from the driver’s mouth and realize he’s asking me where I’m staying. We finally arrive at the May Fair hotel after maneuvering through the labyrinth of concrete, neon, merchandise, construction, and people that is Cairo. I’m talking to the man at the desk in broken Moroccan/Formal/and Egyptian Arabic and he asks to see my passport since it’s required for everyone to stay at the hotel. I begin sweating…this is the closest to panic I’ve been in a while. I realize my mistake and stare off into space after fumbling blindly in my bag. He asks me where it is and I try to explain, jabbering in some dreadful mixture of “Arabic.”
“Emily?” He says. The baggage people had called the hotel. They have my passport. So far, only one out of three essential things has made it safely to my hotel in Cairo, and that is my body itself.
Also, the thing I was most worried about losing were my little spoon and my year-long supply of Pilot pens. How will I write without them? I’ll just have to go home…..