Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 1.0 - Monday

After a long, uneventful 10 hours I made it to Frankfurt, where we landed promptly at 8:30 under a light rain. Well, at least it was not cold, and seeing the smiling face of Chrissy was enough to make me feel like the sun was shining. She and her son Phillip came to pick me up, and in less than 20 minutes we were in downtown Frankfurt, where we met with daughter Anna, who took time off her busy schedule to come show me her new apartment (well, a year ago new). It is in the fourth floor of a building without an elevator, but is beautifully located smack in the middle of old town Frankfurt. Pretty cool pad.

From there we four stopped and said hello to Onkel Klaus, and then went to have a Graef Vollsinger beef sausage and Kartoffelsalat at the Kleine Markthalle, for old time’s sake. Then we bough cups of coffee to go, and bummed around the old center of town until it was time for Ana to go (she was allowed to cut work for a couple of hours to come meet her Mexican friend, but she is a working stiff now). We then went down to the River Mainz, crossed the river over one of the bridges, and then went to say hello to our friend Aurora, one of the original group that made the trip to India two years ago.

And that was it. Time ran short in a hurry, and we had to get back to the airport to continue the trip to Egypt. I was so glad to see Chrissy and the kids, who are one of the precious families that took me and Faby as one of their own in our wandering years.

Six more hours stuck in a plane and I finally landed in fabulous Cairo!

As it is, Cairo airport is very modern, and I had little trouble exchanging money (1 dollar = 5.48 Egyptian pounds), collecting my luggage, and finding a taxi. The taxi ride to the youth hostel (15 dollars) was through a modern freeway and wide avenues, and the traffic was no more crazy than what I have seen in Mexico or Beijing. The hostel is actually the Cairo International Scout Center, and is a 6-story impressive building with lots and lots of room for boy scouts from around the world. Unfortunately there does not seem to be anyone here right now, so the place is disappointingly quiet. My fabulous private room (20 dollars) has TV and refrigerator, wireless internet, private bathroom, and a private balcony, so I can tell I am going to be very comfortable here.

By 8 pm I was ready to go in my first exploration of Cairo. First things first; I have to get a plug adaptor so I can charge my computer and iPod, so I asked my friendly host for a supermarket. He promptly asked if I was taking a taxi. “No”, I said, “I need to discover Cairo on foot”. He liked that, and with a big smile gave me very understandable instructions on how to get to the commercial area. Once there I had to try the charades approach to explain what I wanted. I had brought the extension cord I always carry with me, so with a bit of French and a bit of Spanish I gathered the attention of three young workers, who not only got the plug I needed, but insisted on connecting it themselves since it was obvious I didn’t have any tools. Ah, my soul is at rest. Once again I find that kind people are to be found all over the world. I know I am going to like it here.

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