I Spoke Too Soon

I should have known.

When leaving late at night, its best to book the hotel room through the next day so that housekeeping doesnt surprise you as you’re about to step into the shower. Or so hotel management doesn’t call you multiple times to find out when you are leaving. This is just sound advice from someone who didn’t do just that.

I scrambled to call the hotel loyalty program to secure the room for the rest of the night to avoid being physically removed. It worked out in the end. But I was so close to perfect!

While I was packing and changing, I noticed that my bathing suit bottom had a little tear on the inside lining. Odd that I didn’t even feel it. Upon further inspection, I noticed that the entire rear of my bottom was actually threadbare. When I put my hand under it, I could see straight through to my palm. I took a deep breath and wondered how many people I inadvertently flashed with my bright white butt crack for the last 5 days. At the pool, at the beach, walking to and from my hotel room. How many innocent guests trying to enjoy their holiday had been blinded by the eclipse that was my ass? Instead of finding this out earlier in the trip, where I could have switched bottoms (tan line uniformity being my major concern) I didn’t learn this until I was packing to go home. I threw those bottoms away and cursed them, shaking my fist in the air at the gods. How unfortunate. But not at all unlike me.

So now I am here, in South Korea, waiting for my final flight home. I am going to scamper off and see about finding a shirt that says ‘I got Seoul’ even though I am not in Seoul. Or am I? I don’t even know.

I do know I have been up for 24 hours and I am fading fast. I still have 14 hours of flight ahead of me. Before I board, I am going to check to make sure my fly is zipped and there’s no toilet paper hanging out of my jeans. Just in case.


Lessons Learned

As my time in Thailand comes go a close, I feel the usual swelling in my throat that means only one thing: I don’t want to go home. It’s not that I have it so bad there, because I don’t.  But I just so love being out floating on this planet, it physically hurts to think I need to end it.

I suppose going home allows me to leave again, so I try to look at it that way. A positive spin from a classic cynic.

I feel like this trip has been a study in human behavior in many ways. The fact that I can truly only communicate with so few people is both romantic and gratifying.  Aside from the usual things one needs to discuss at a hotel, like transportation or lounge access and the much needed “how much?” with street vendors, I have had very few conversations.  When I hear people speak English, let alone American English, I turn my head and pretend to be Arab. No understanding here! And it’s perfect. Not sure what this says about me, but I am confident it’s unflattering and I accept it.

My time in Thailand has taught me so much: I learned that bikinis are truly one size fits all. I was perhaps on the fence about it prior, but I have since been educated. Most of the time the ‘because you can, doesn’t mean you should’ rule is in effect, though.

Personal space is optional. Be it the Russians on line at the Egyptian museum who were all too happy to step on and over me like a weed or the French who view me as nothing more than a speed bump in an airport. I am either tiny, invisible, inconsequential or some combination thereof. But no one anywhere can get the hell out of my two foot zone for even a minute. Such a big planet we live on and everyone has to step on my manicured toes.  I guess it’s only fair to say that there’s a slight chance that a few men who clearly regard women as second class citizens may or may not have gotten hit with luggage or a bag or an elbow. Here we have my ‘if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me’ rule.

Traveling teens and 20-somethings: stop with the duckface, peace sign selfies. I suffer secondhand embarrassment when I see this. You are neither a reality star nor at a peace rally, so knock it off and be regular. Then you’ll really stand out!

Other fun facts: garbage pick up in Phuket is at night rather than the morning. I like this.

When there are sun showers, people get out of the pool. Why?

Adults who wear arm floaties look really insane.

I way over packed even though I tried so hard not to. I didn’t grossly over do it, but could have done a little better. Now I know for next time. And there will be a next time.

And finally,  I plan one hell of a trip. It was perfect in every way and I’d not change a thing. I did everything I set out to do and then some. I avoided crowds and prison. I ate new foods, I visited crazy places and saw some even crazier things. Could not have asked for more.

I now have 24 hours of travel ahead of me and I am sure I will reach new levels of misery. Stay tuned for that.


Because Why??

Yesterday, I spent a glorious day snorkeling the Andaman Sea and shuttling from island to island on a small speed boat. It was perfect, fluffy white clouds sailing along a bright blue sky. Couldn’t ask for more.


The snorkeling was so good you could walk right into the water and be in your own personal aquarium.  Did not even need the snorkel gear to see the fishes swimming about your legs and feet. As many times as I have experienced this, it will never get old.

As you can see from the above, this island has room for many boat tours and people from all over the globe. Which is a shame. You should not be permitted to get on the boat without taking an idiot test first.

This has been bothering me since yesterday and I need to exercise it. So I am going to paint with broad strokes here. No, no I am not, I am going to call out a whole culture of people who continue to confound me, but I won’t be specific.

This is what happened. While enjoying the abundant natural beauty surrounding me and the peace that comes with it, I encountered this group of people and was most curious.  For here they were, in knee deep water in the middle of a tropical sea, dressed as if they were hiking the Himalayas. Wide brimmed hats, long sleeve shirts, long pants, water shoes, sunglasses and a layer of sunblock so thick it must take a firehose to wash it off.

I watched them stand in a group taking what must be the most absurd Facebook pictures in the history of the world. I mean, why memorialize yourself dressed for a blizzard at the beach? But they seemed to be enjoying themselves despite having difficulty bending about the joints, what with all their sopping wet snow suits.

As I mentioned, the fish are right there, but you can still opt to buy bread to really work these beautiful and delicate creatures into an instinctual frenzy. Fun! And these people did just that. All the while hooting and hollering. Then I saw the very definition of an idiot. One of these idiots thought it would be fun to catch an incredible tropical fish in a plastic bag and hold it up like he just won it at the county fair. I watched in horror as this idiot proudly held the fish in a bag for all his immobile idiot friends to see and of course, smartphone photograph.  The fish in this tiny plastic bag was as you’d imagine – TRIPPING OUT. Swimming frantically and crashing into the sides of the bag, bumping all over in every direction, just losing his mind. Who wouldn’t?

I watched this unfold, my bitch face now twisted and knotted into sheer disgust and anger, shooting laser beams at said idiot and his audience. I hoped someone would be self aware enough to look around and notice me. Nope. Eventually, the idiots tired of this game and released their captive back into the wild.

But why? Why do this? I prayed for a rogue shark to appear and exact revenge for his fellow ocean dweller. And where are the Thai to yell at them for endangering the local environs? (No, I cannot watch the Sarah McLaughlan ASPCA commercials, too emotional).

But a few minutes later, I received the satisfaction I longed for. The idiot who caught the fish got bit by one. I like to think it was by the very fish he caught since it clearly wasn’t a shark.

Other than that, it was a gorgeous day with crystal clear waters and gentle waves.

This island is so fascinating. Just a few roads exist where I am, with actual stores and establishments juxtaposed along side what can only be described as a shanty town. Simply modified storage or container units from trains, with corrugated metal roofs reinforced with metal rails. Clothes hang from windows, off porches, and in window pains; I am unsure if they are for sale or just drying. You can find anything and everything to buy between the two – cell phones, fruit, clothing, New Year’s decorations, flowers, tourist trappings, everything. And to be honest, it is so amazing to me I would love to walk around and visit each one. But alas, I don’t have that kind of time because I am too busy doing this:


Why yes, that is an obscenely large infinity pool looking over the ocean. And yes, I am snuggled up in a cabana with a tropical smoothie. It was a long, hard day today. I had to wake up, and then take a nap.

Tomorrow I will do more of the same and then sob silent tears as I pack to head home with a 24 hour sojourn that surely can’t pass without incident.


Not So Veiled Insults

Today, I went to a local beach, Patong Beach. This area is a hot spot with lots of shops and souvineers and bars and so on. Felt sort of like spring break, but better – obviously.

I had forgotten to pack a beach bag which I knew I would forget. No matter. I would buy a cheap bag here and use that. Fine. So I went in and out of little shops today, being pretty much harassed and shadowed by the owners and workers. I am not used to that and it gets me, as I very much like my space.

I bargained myself a bag and sarong from 1050 bhat to 500 even thought that is still too much. Exhilarating, though.

As I continued to walk through the shops, people yell and try to get you to stop to look at what is generally all the same stuff. One lady held up a pair of elastic waistband genie of the lamp pants, and stretched the waist out as far as it and her arms would go. She held them up to me, wide, wider, wider still, and said, “These for you!” I watched her arms shake as she struggled under the tension of the elastic,  trying to hold the waist open for me. REALLY? I scowled at her and kept walking.  Then she yelled,  “No? How ’bout bikini for you?” As though THAT was the salve for the giant burn in trying to sell me men’s XL pants.
No. Thanks.

I have been meaning to point out how tiny these people seem to me. But they are generally a tiny people. I have felt like I stick out since I landed in Bangkok. I am not that big but I tower over mostly everyone, and this woman seemed to think I need to shop the men’s department. I had a feeling that this is what they thought of me, but now I know that when I walk through the streets, all they see is this:


So thanks, lady, for ruining my morning.

I finally settled on the beach and relaxed. I was alone with my thoughts  – remind me not to do that again. I tried not to let that woman bother me, when I heard some people next to me speaking Italian.  How lovely! I don’t mind listening to that all day. I turned to see these wonderful people when all of a sudden this happened:


Well, well, well. My mood has improved. Normally, I would advise that one never trust a hairless man, but I am going to break all my rules.  I occupied myself with his thighs for the better part of the day. At one point, I rationalized (hallucinated?) that I may have made it into his vacation photos as he took a litany in my direction.  I hope I make it into his album back home.

I did nothing for the rest of the afternoon before heading back to the hotel. I booked a snorkel tour tomorrow,  hopefully in the opposite direction of the crowds. And now, I sit at the pool, because after a day at the beach, you pool.


It’s the Final Countdown

First of all, Bangkok is one of the coolest cities I have ever visited. Amazing, cheap food every six feet. The weather is great. The people are nice. Public transportation is excellent.  It’s hard to be mad. Not so hard, however, to be curious or surprised.

A note: American men, hideous, ugly American men. I now know where you go when life rejects you: Thailand. I have seen you, mangled, disheveled,  and downright frightening,  cast aside by society for not conforming to American ideals of beauty, most of which aren’t even your fault. Though you do yourself no favors with sandals and athletic socks pulled up to mid-calf. But I digress, I see you with your Thai wife, barely communicating, struggling to discuss the menu over dinner. No, love does not speak for you. I see you, old white haired man and your age inappropriate lady friend who looks like she should be selling cookies door to door rather than escorting you to an expensive dinner at the hottest spot in town. I see you all and you are embarrassing. You embarrass everyone within a 10 mile kilometer radius. I won’t go further into detail, but suffice to say, gross. Just gross.

Other fascinating things: traffic at intersections. Sure, they have lines on the road and traffic lights that operate at regular intervals, unlike other global cities (cough, Cairo) but crossing over 12 lanes while dodging 25 scooters and then a few more cars perpendicular to traffic is skill. Seriously, that is on a Chuck Norris level.

Tiny little massage therapists who can’t reach the top shelf in a grocery store are actually freakishly strong. Freakishly. They hurt. I don’t know how they do it.

My favorite is the heat. The oppressive, heavy humidity that weighs over the city like a wet towel. Yesterday afternoon, I spent a few hours along the river visiting some wats. By early evening, my belt was struggling to keep my jeans up over my now-melted waist. My shirt had grown two sizes larger than when I put it on that morning and was hanging off me like raw pizza dough.  I had to go back to my hotel to shower and change my soaked clothing. Everything, all of it, soaked. My hair, however, looks fantastic; can’t have everything. Even at 10pm, it’s still 80 degrees and humid. More comfortable but still.

Yesterday, I treated myself to my first ever massage for my feets and legs and a hot coconut oil scalp massage. It was glorious. I want more. The scalp massage, however, was different. The little lady applied the oil around the base of my hair to lube me up. Two BOTTLES of oil later, this woman who spoke no English had no trouble communicating that she needed two more hours to actually get to my scalp. Thanks. There is so much oil in my hair I haven’t bothered to wash it out. I’m greased like I was dipped in a barrel of vinaigrette.  I left an oil slick behind me like a snail. I am going to need to shower with Dawn dish detergent, like when they clean the poor ducks in the sink who were coated with petrol in some shipping container disaster.

The heat yesterday caused me – ME – to break out in six small yet glaring red lumps on my cheeks. Between the greasy hair and skin of a freshman, I should have no trouble ordering off the kids menu for dinner.

Nuances aside, Bangkok is just awesome to see. Skyscrapers and slums. Megamalls and sidewalk stands. No durians in public,  but deodorant is optional. There is so much cool stuff to see and do, I just couldn’t manage it all in two days which is fine because I will go back.

My flight to Phuket has an awful lot of fair skinned people on it. Do they know they are going to look like pork rinds for their flight home? I won’t, though.  I will bronze like those precooked rotisserie chickens from Costco.

I just want to get to the hotel so I can finally relax, sleep on the beach, and bronze like the goddess I am while sipping pomegranate juice.


The Big Schlep

I am up so early, I am actually nauseous. I am back in the airport lounge. I have traveled about 8,000 miles so far. I will have spent about 35 hours hours traveling, be it sitting at the airport or on a plane, once I complete this leg of the trip – Prague to Paris. I have been in Milan, Cairo, Frankfurt, Prague and Paris, yet only stayed in two of those cities. I will sit in the airport for 5 more hours, despite being able to take the metro easily to something arguably nicer to look at, like a baguette. Then I begin a 12 hour sojourn to Thailand. Somehow, I will have spent an entire day in the air between time zones as I depart at 7am from Prague Saturday to land in Bangkok around 7am Sunday. It doesn’t make sense and I am loving it.

I can’t wait to to get some place for longer than two days and settle in. I am starting to feel tired. Who ever planned this itinerary is a crazy person.

I hope this to be an uneventful trip to and through Paris. And wake up in Asia!

11:20am in Paris airport. Clearly, I spoke to soon about wishing for an uneventful trip. I am so tired that I just ate half a sandwich with MUSHROOMS all over it. (mushrooms are my mortal enemy) OH MY GAWD I AM GOING TO BE SICK. I would surely throw up but I do not want them in my mouth again. I am crestfallen and grossed out. I want to flail my arms and run around screaming but they won’t let me on the plane like that. I need to be more careful so accidents like this don’t happen. I can’t even THINK about what just took place. Shudder.

12:30pm, still in Paris, about 40 minutes ’til boarding. I am almost over the horror from the previous hour. Though I will never truly be. Anyway, I have a 12 hour flight ahead of me. I have been praying to the aviation gods that these seats have televisions. If not, I am going to go crazy and take everyone else with me. I mean it!

Also, it seems not a single person who sneezes or coughs in this hellhole minds to cover their mouths. This is truly the downfall of civilization. So disgusting.

I have been freezing for the last 2 days. I am now going to a place where the temperatures are going to be in the 90s. This should be a welcome relief! I can’t wait to put on flip flops and a t-shirt and bask in the sun with some sticky rice and mango.

Honestly, just get me out of this airport.


Too Cold for Comfort

I am wildly remiss in not making a list of all the things I was thankful for yesterday. I would have started with the weather in Cairo. Warm, sunny, at or around a manageable PCT (Personal Comfort Threshold, which is 72 degrees. Any cooler and I am no longer comfortable).

I am thankful that I can hear the voices in my head, none of which I could hear before.  Cairo was so loud, so chaotic, that literally 24 hours a day I heard noise: music, traffic, honking, yelling. A truly constant din that never goes away. So in Prague, I am thankful for the peace and quiet.

But I was not quite prepared for the cold. It’s 35 degrees during the sunless days and in the 20s at night. Way, way below my PCT. How foolish I was to think I could handle it. Down jackets, gloves, scarves, misery.  I am freezing cold and have to retire to my quarters in the middle of the day to warm up. But it sure is pretty here.


I was in a gingerbread store, which was crazy enough on its own because who knew such a thing existed? Anyway, I am in the store,  in my winter gear, shivering, clearly shopping. A woman walks up to me and starts asking me about the selection and the best type of tin for her selections. I cannot believe that I am again a victim of mistaken identity.  I looked at her incredulously and said, “I don’t work here!!” Ugh.

At my Thanksgiving Dinner for One™, I found a charming pub with just a few people in it. I had duck, because you know, birds on the holiday. The man next to me had rabbit. Ugh again.

Every third storefront has marionettes. Faces of varying sizes and colors, each one more horrifying than the next. I am a grown woman who has thrown her body in front of traffic more times than I can count to cross the street at the last second to avoid passing their all knowing eyes.

Otherwise, this is a beautiful place,  stunning really. But uneventful and quiet. I like that. I do long for the heat and can’t wait to get to the beach.


I will say, though, these magnifying mirrors in the fluorescent lighting of the bathrooms are the devil’s playground. I have almost not left the room several times already.


Off the Path

I have traveled about 12 hours to Cairo over two days. I am back in the Cairo airport tonight, at 1:30am, to travel to Prague by way of Frankfurt. I am so tired,  I had actually forgotten where I was for a moment.


I have visited Downtown Cairo, Coptic Cairo, Islamic Cairo, Jewish Cairo, and Giza. And still no one in this country can accept the fact that I am a standard issue white girl from America. I have been spoken to in Spanish, Arabic and Egyptian and when I tell someone I am not, in fact, Arabic, they tsk tsk with disdain. Since these people seem to be so confused about where I am from, I have decided that should I ever have to flee America due to my life of crime, Cairo is my first stop. I am comfortable knowing that if the Embassy ever walked around with my photo asking locals if they have seen this American outlaw, they will all throw their hands up in the air and say, “No, no American girl!”

Yesterday, I posed for pictures with school kids who allegedly never saw a white girl before who was not on TV.  They told my tour guide they were going to put me on their Facebook so all their friends can see. Internationally known.

I managed to charm (ha ha) my tour guide so much that at the conclusion of the organized tour yesterday, he blew off his friends for me. Well!…I played the poor man’s Anthony Bourdain and traveled deep into Giza for dinner at the best local restaurant.  I was not disappointed. I ate everything so fast and with such glee, I had a stomach ache when I was done. Chicken, stuffed grape leaves, soup, tahini, vegetable salad, rice and chicken livers, bread. All of it. In my face. It was a spectacular meal with my new friend. At one point, his friend called and asked what he was doing. He laughed because he “was working.” Oh, the meal for 2 with lots left, about 15$. So not only am I a physical / visual anomaly here, I am also rich.

The one thing I can do without, however, is this thin film of dust, dirt and grime that seems to coat my person. I thought I got tan yesterday but it washed off in the shower last night. My clothes, when I take them off, right down to my socks, create a large cloud of dust. I imagine when I walk around, I look more like Pigpen than your average Arab girl.

So I leave Cairo behind after 3 glorious days. Covered in hard won grime and exhausted only in a way traipsing thru the desert can make you. I am not sure what the hell I am going to do in Prague other than freeze, but I will figure something out. Perhaps have a Thanksgiving dinner full of local traditional foods.  Just kidding, I am dying for a cheeseburger.


Didn’t Ask Enough Questions

First. Does it make me an asshole that I set my alarm to wake me up to this?

Probably, right? Yeah, that’s ok, I can still live with myself.

My first day in Cairo and I am thrilled I did not need a gun. (I happen to have a box cutter with me; that’s just truly bringing a knife to a gun fight.) Had an early morning pick up to start my day touristing Giza, Saqqara and Memphis. I learned a ton about the history, the city, and did a nice job prying into the life of my tour guide, the Egyptologist.

We chatted about the political climate and the differences since The Revolution. As much as things change, they stay the same. Corruption is rampant and the rich keep getting richer as a result. The most telling comment came as we drove down the singular road to Saqqara, passing giant houses for the wealthy and women so poor they are selling packages of tissues on the corner. “There is no social justice in Egypt.”

Giza was, as you’d expect, spectacular. Just breathtaking in size and scope. We discussed many things this morning, but most compelling was discovering my Egyptologist actually had NO idea how the pyramids were built and did a stellar job of discrediting all the ways we had both heard they had been built. And trust me, we went thru them all. Seeing the photos is one thing, but standing before these ancient colossus and realizing that not a single person has yet to come up with a truly reasonable explanation for how they were built…chilling.

I was then on to Saqqara, where my guide paid the requisite bribe to the ‘security guard’ so we would be permitted in the unpermittable burial chambers and take pictures. There is no anxiety like that of climbing 100 yards down a tiny limestone chamber backwards, bent at a 90 degree angle into a tomb. Wasn’t claustrophobic before that little adventure, not so sure about once I got inside. Saw hieroglyphics 4,000 years old that looked like new. There was not much else, however, as everything had been pillaged at one point in time. In fact, the government, which one might describe as lazy, didn’t put any effort into preserving the pyramids or other remaining tombs until the 50s or so. They just didn’t care.

But what amazed me most of all, was that all morning while I climbed pyramids and jumped over barricades to prevent trespassing was that we were the only ones there. Literally.


There is a guard in this picture. That is it. I didn’t see another visitor until the Sphinx. Ran into three people at Saqqara, and no one at all in Memphis.

Whether you blame the media or The Revolution or both, there is no doubt that tourism has taken a massive hit. An industry that was the bread and butter is gone. Shocking and sad considering how safe I really do feel. Have not seen anything even remotely threatening outside of heaps of camel crap hiding in the sand. When you are one of two people at the oldest pyramid in all of Egypt on a beautiful afternoon, you know something is amiss.

Other highlights- and this one made my heart sing and sink like a stone, the sheets! And I didn’t even bring it up! Egyptian cotton, harvested in Egypt. Sometimes made into sheets here but more often than not, raw materials are exported and made into sheets elsewhere, then imported back. The lowest going rate these days is $170USD. The reason for this is the corruption, taxes and fees all the government workers make in this process. Truly criminal. And no sheets for me, the most criminal of all.

Lot of coops on rooftops. Turns out they are for pigeons to be raised then slaughtered for dinner. Fair enough. Not every caged bird can fly. Spent the day discussing food and cooking and the randomness of the pigeon coops. I came back to my hotel for dinner and tasty little bits of breaded meat that I thought was chicken. Then I realized, maybe not. But hey, when in Cairo.

The men who offer rides on the camels own them. You may wonder as I did, “Where does one buy a camel?” Let me tell you: at the camel market, only open on Fridays. Of course.


Visited a papyrus maker and was offered hibiscus tea as is the Egyptian custom and hospitality. Visited a perfumery. I left there smelling like a child prostitute. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I don’t like it. They say there is no obligation to buy and no pressure, but once they coat you in lotus flower up to your elbows, they ask what kind of bottle you would like it in. Your hard sell doesn’t work on Pretty Baby. I scurried out of there to practice my American custom of accepting a small token, acting gracious and then leaving to complain about it to anyone who will listen.


Am I There Yet?

So it is true I can do 7 hours to Italy just about standing on my head, piece of panettone. What I don’t do so well is practice patience.

I can’t seem to get off a plane fast enough; people walk thru the airport like they have no where to be. Customs is a meet and greet – I just got here, what do we have to discuss? Others just mill about with a luggage cart and 6 trunks wrapped in layers of seran wrap so thick they must use a jigsaw to unpack. I do NOT have the patience for this. There is no sense of urgency and it makes me insane. I want to get off the plane so I can hurry up and wait!

And wait I will. For 6 hours. Being anywhere in Italy – an airport, a dog park, the grocery story- makes me happy, I just can’t stand the anticipation. I am twitching because Egypt Air isn’t open to check my bag. I had hoped to skip into town for a late breakfast and some shopping but that’s not going to happen as I refuse to schlep 2 pieces of luggage with me.

I am practically vibrating in my seat because I want to get moving. I want be on the plane, if not in the car on the way to the hotel. If I cannot have that, I want a souvenir of my time spent here in the airport. I am three cappuccinos deep. I am sure this isn’t helping.

I want. To be there. Already.

Instead, I am going to luxuriate in one of two lounges with my café and a chocolate filled croissant. That is until I can burst thru the doors upstairs, hit the concourse, announce my arrival and get my cured meat on.

Some observations: seriously United, get it together. Every single Delta employee I encountered was so Nice, capital N. They smiled. They were polite. I am still reeling from the whole thing. Quit spending money to install gourmet dining experiences at EWR and start sending your miserable staff to charm school. Both airlines gutting their loyalty programs has won far more critics than fans, but come on. Delta’s experience was way ahead.

I am currently taking up space in the Priority Pass lounge. It’s 10am, and I am the only one in here. Love it. Free wifi. Coffee and snacks as far as the eye can see. It’s a bit warmer than I would prefer. I am stripping off layers and mopping up with paper towels. I glow but not from happiness. Still, I’m happy to squat here until I inevitably get thrown out for indecent exposure.

Edited update: so, went to check my bag and saw this.
I do not scare easily but I am unsure if that says “check your handgun at the door” or “hope you brought your piece, you’re gonna need it.” This being an adventure and all, I didn’t let it deter me.

Flight to Cairo was awesome and I got a surprise upgrade to first class. Who knew? Sure as hell can’t get one domestically. There were so few seats filled that the man sitting next to me jumped up and ran to another empty seat almost immediately after I sat down. Sort of like at home.

Made it thru to my transfer, and asked 7363627 questions upon my pick up. Highlights of my learnings include:
-Don’t drink the water. Don’t even use it to brush your teeth. I didn’t get to ask why because I think I was still a bit in shock. Regardless, you don’t got to tell me twice.
-My ‘guide’ who picked me up from the airport was talking real estate and compared it to that of the prices in Brooklyn and Long Island versus New York. I asked him how he knows these places considering he has never been. He said he “learned all about New York and the other areas from Grand Theft Auto.” So, video games really do build bridges, I guess.
-The Arab Uprising was not well thought out, if at all. And so after a few years, people are still pretty much where they were when they started. Politics – still universally maligned.
-The US Embassy here won’t issue visas without so much paperwork that most Egyptians can’t be bothered. In a roundabout way, the government doesn’t want you to leave for fear you wont come back, so they make it almost impossible.

There’s a ton more, but I hope to learn other things tomorrow and ask more detailed, personal questions.

Ramses Hilton, by the way, very nice. Pleased so far. Got an upgrade here, too. Glad I am being treated like the princess I am.