The travel gods, fickle deities that they are, both giveth and taketh away. On a packed flight to JFK, I was seated with one passenger who was very territorial about the armrests. The other passenger in my row slept for most of the flight, head thrown back, mouth agape, and lightly snoring; then upon waking proceeded to have an animated conversation with the television on the seat back in front of him. The travel gods taketh.
On my flight from JFK to Paris, I had an empty seat next to me, which we all know is a blessing on any flight. I was able to stretch out and have both a nap and an extra pillow. The travel gods giveth.
And then, on the last leg of my journey from Paris to Cairo, I discover that Air France, my airline into Cairo and out of Jordan, is on strike. Taketh. Although many flights have been canceled, my flight to Cairo is still scheduled. Giveth. However, it will be many hours late. Taketh. But on this much-delayed flight, I am blessed once again with an empty seat next to me and a friendly young Frenchman as a seat mate. Jean-Baptiste is flying to Cairo for business (he works in water conservation, which is sorely needed in Egypt). We whiled away several of those interminable hours discussing everything from politics to more personal subjects. Although that leg of my journey was by far the longest, the pleasure of good company and conversation made it the least stressful. Through that conversation, I was reminded yet again of how much the same people are, regardless of their country of origin. The travel gods giveth.
And so it goes…the constant swaying of a pendulum that is a small part of much greater machinery, and the price that one pays when throwing their lives to the whims of the travel gods. This is all a very ponderous way of saying that I’ve arrived safely, if not much later than expected. My friends, Krystal and Brendan, will be arriving later than expected as well, so I will spend a bit of time exploring Cairo on my own until they arrive.
Incidentally, because many have asked, I should add that this trip is not one of my volunteer ventures. Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to cancel my volunteer trip this year at the last minute. So, this trip is purely for the joy of tourism and reuniting with my Australian friends Krystal and Brendan. If you’ve been with me for a bit, you’ll remember them from the Spain/Portugal/Morocco (and then Turkey with only Krystal) trip a few years back.
Off to explore Cairo!