December 27, 2016
Feeling a little bit better when I woke up. The guide yesterday had given me a cold pill, which I googled, and it was mostly Tylenol so I took it and it seemed to work, at least a little. I went to breakfast with Nate at about 6:15 and hugged him goodbye before he left for the airport. Overall, he was a great travel partner and we had a really good time together. It was an impulsive decision on both our parts to go half way around the world with someone we had hardly known for six months but it couldn’t have gone more smoothly. He was easy going the whole time and it was nice to have him there. It wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun without him.
Once I was back at the room I packed up some stuff, took a LONG shower, and started getting ready. The phone rang at 9:00, it was the jeweler, there to deliver my bracelet. I rushed from our room, which was near the back of the hotel, to the lobby where he was waiting. My bracelet was even more beautiful than I had expected. I paid him the remainder of what I owed him, plus 20 L.E.
I joked around with him a bit, then headed back to my room to admire it and read the hieroglyphs. Upon ordering my bracelet the jeweler asked for a deposit. When I asked him how much he needed for the deposit he responded, “Whatever you feel like”. He was a wonderful man and I would certainly deal with him again in the future.
I then spent the next hour nervously pacing around the room, waiting until 10 to go check out. If I’m going to be honest with myself, I did feel different, not as comfortable, being alone. I cleared the tab on our room and said goodbye to the girls that were heading out for a tour because they chose to stay an extra day. There were some other people from our group sitting in the lobby as well, so I came over and sat with them while I waited for my shuttle to arrive. It was nice to get another chance to say goodbye to everyone again. Then my ride arrived and I was on the road early by 10:20. Traffic wasn’t too bad on the way to the airport but I was alone in the car and sad to be leaving. Thank goodness I had a guide though because just getting into the airport was an ordeal. There was a huge x-ray scanner for bags as well as a metal detector and pat down for all people just to enter the airport. Not to mention it was literally sardines. My guide, as was the case nearly everywhere, was able to basically cut into the center of the line so we didn’t have to wait as long.
Once we made it through it was off to get my boarding pass from the business class line at the Etihad Airways check in counter. Note, I was NOT flying business class, it was just another perk of having an escort. I was able to get both my boarding passes for my flight out of Cairo and my connecting flight from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok. I was glad I didn’t have to get it in the U.A.E, just one less thing to worry about. Though, the guy at the counter did give me a hard time about carrying on both of my bags. Our exchange went something like;
“How many bags are you checking?”
“None, I’m carrying on.”
“You’re carrying that on?"
“Yes I’m carrying on.”
“But that’s a big bag.”
“Yep I’m carrying it on.”
Then he rolled his eyes and looked at my guide who, I’m assuming, assured him in Arabic to just let me carry it on so he finally said. “O.K.” and let me go. I couldn’t be escorted past security so I gave my guide 10 L.E. for taking care of me, told him “Thanks” and walked to the nearest security line. It took a while to get through so I was glad I had some extra time. I got my departure stamps on my passport and found my gate, which, thankfully, was in the same terminal and not far away. An interesting thing about foreign airports that I have noticed is that the gates remain closed behind doors until about 30 or 40 minutes before the flight is due to board. My gate hadn’t opened yet so I sat at a nearby table until they started letting people through. I took off my shoes for another metal detector and pat down then I found a comfortable place to sit until our shuttle came to take us to the plane. It seems on all of these foreign flights that boarding is not done in any particular order but simply in an “open the flood gates” manner. Luckily, my seat was near the front and this plane only had 2 seats per side with 4 seats in the middle.
I had the window seat next to a Middle Eastern man who said nothing to me during the duration of the 3.5 hour flight to Abu Dhabi. I watched American Ultra, which was good plus it killed the time. Once we landed I was not surprised to find that the Abu Dhabi airport was essentially a department store, and it was massive. Thankfully, I didn't have any trouble finding the gate to my connecting flight. The U.A.E. seemed much more western that I had anticipated. Modestly dressed, hair covered, women, again becoming the minority ratio I was used to back in the states. I sat for about an hour before boarding. The Abu Dhabi to Bangkok flight was 6 hours so I was going to try and eat, watch a movie and sleep. Two of the three happened. The vegetarian meal I got was identical to the previous flight. It was bread, black bean and lentil salad, and a sort of pasta veggie spaghetti. It also came with watermelon and pineapple. I watched Everest, which was just all right, just a remake of a story that's been told 100 times. But of course, I couldn’t sleep. My chair refused to recline and I just couldn’t get comfortable. But before too long the sun was rising over Bangkok.