Tag Archives: airport

Delta Surprise!

It took hours to absorb enough light for this photo

At the airport in Oklahoma City, I munched on a third Major Milk Makin’ Lactation cookie while contemplating the news of an unexpected 29 hour layover in Amsterdam. “That is a long layover,” I thought. Actually, I was a little angry at the time, so I believe my thoughts may have had some more descriptive words that connoted my irritation.

Apparently something had gone horribly, horribly wrong. I had been so excited about the future just an hour beforehand, gushing about the beauty of life like a simpleton. But now the beginning to my spring semester was darkened, and the shininess of the attending Delta employee’s bald head did nothing to ease my dread, and the fact he implied that this predicament was my fault only served to incense me. “Who made the reservation?” he said. “Does it matter?” I half snapped, half asked politely. A Muppet friend could have made the reservation, but that didn’t alter the fact that Delta had confirmed it and then changed the flight without notifying me. Someone was going to pay for this.

As it turns out, Delta/KLM agreed with me. In Atlanta, I learned that my flight from Amsterdam was no longer scheduled for Jan. 24th at 5:25 pm, but for Jan. 25th at 5:25, and that since it was not my fault, I would be taken care of in Amsterdam by nice people who would put me in a hotel and feed me.

At the airport in Amsterdam, I talked to some truly wonderful KLM representatives, one of which had a voice like the Swedish chef, and eventually wound up in a hotel nicer than one I would ever be able to afford (as an Arabic fellow making $520/mo.) and confronted with a lunch buffet of my wildest imaginings.

Bread! Butter!  Prosciutto! Little things of jam I could steal! Oh happy day! I even got a toiletry bag from KLM filled with, among other things, spray on deodorant with man-smell (the cooling sensation on the pits is quite nice), and a European size XXL white t-shirt, which translates to an American medium. This was perfect, since I didn’t have pajamas in my carry-on.

bunny bunny bunny!

Later that day, I chased and took pictures of bunnies in the hotel parking lot, went to Amsterdam, and ate a 3 course meal by myself while reading A Confederacy of Dunces and watching happy dinner parties in a lovely dining room lit by hundreds of votive candles and decorated with roses. It has been a most wonderful paid vacation.

A word on Amsterdam: at one moment I thought to myself, “If you’ve never considered suicide, try going to Amsterdam in the winter. There are many lovely bridges to contemplate jumping off of after tying a stone to your foot.” I had been to that city once before, in the summer, when it was sunny. I now realize that it may have been the one sunny day they’d had all year. While wandering around Amsterdam, I felt like I was in the surreal, dark world of one of the characters from a Rembrandt painting, surrounded by people who were hurrying to get home to the light and remember a reason for living. But that’s just my impression. The windows of the city are quite lovely though.

Hopefully I will arrive to Cairo for real-sies today.

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The day after the day of panic

I made some new CASA friends at breakfast….ate a sandwich made with cream cheese and egg on bread with a cup of coffee. The balcony of our hotel is quite beautiful I must say. In the early morning bliss it was incredibly pleasant to be sitting in the open air looking at the tops of the trees growing along the street.

The main thing on my agenda: retrieving my passport. I tried convincing my new best friends to go to the airport with me, touting the benefits of seeing it during the day. I should have advertised the potential to practice Arabic as well, but I did not, and so I went alone. As most trips to the airport are, it was long, costly, hot, smoky, and confusing. But it was ultimately successful. I repossessed my passport and found out my baggage will be arriving tomorrow inshallah. But this is Cairo, so my suitcases could also be headed on unique journey to Addis Adaba. We shall see. In the meantime, my adventure shirt that I just recently purchased is developing some interesting wrinkles in it. I wonder if I can get it read like my palm.

Also, tonight is a little get together with other CASA fellows at a sheesha (that means hookah. Sorry mom) joint downtown, where we will all be sized up according to appearance and Arabic ability….roommates will be scouted. It could be vicious. This morning I was talking to my new friends about how much I hate Canadians so I should remember that first impressions aren’t always the last word.

Still no telephone or apartment.

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My pilot pens!

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…..

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Still at the airport

My flight to New York has been delayed 75 minutes, leaving me with a scant hour and 15 minutes to make my connection at JFK.

In the meantime, I’ve facebooked and emailed everyone I possibly could, finally resorting to opening up my nook to begin reading. It feels so productive it’s disgusting, but I also recognize that I am now superior to other airport patrons who are drooling as they read their cosmopolitans.

For dinner: an egg and cheese on croissant from Dunkin’ Donuts alongside a small coffee with milk and one splenda. Why did I ever consider getting anything else? In what world would I actually enjoy some kind of Chinese sludge or Italian cheese and crust balls instead of my sweet, faithful Dunkin Donuts. I’m sorry I ever doubted you.

I hope I get to New York. I hope I make my flight. If not, I’m staying with Rodney Roth and his mom.

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At the airport

Turns out you need a visa to go to Egypt. I had a mild panic attack when it seemed there was some trouble with the fact I didn’t technically “have” one of these. However, I reassured the nice gentleman that I would be able to get one in the airport once I was there and gently laughed away his insistence that I would need one for longer than thirty days. “I can just get it renewed….” I chuckled.

So I got through eventually, but not before bundling up my curtains, sheets, and hangers and stuffing them into a trashcan, a direct result of the fact my bags were a little heavy. On the bright side, whatever I buy in Cairo to replace these things will probably be resplendent with all kinds of gold thread and flowers.

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