Today is the first day of my trip! I will be gone about 23 days and will be traveling with a nurse named Alexei whom I do not know. He works at my previous hospital and with my previous co workers. He has been to Israel and Petra in the past and has been to Egypt many times. He is an Egyptologist and has arranged tours for groups of people before. I am feeling very comfortable traveling in these countries with him and grateful for this opportunity to go with someone so familiar with the areas and so knowledgeable about history.
Originally, there were several more people coming on this trip, but, due to the issues in Egypt, everyone but one other person cancelled and she will meet us in Jerusalem. She is another nurse, but I don’t know her. Her name is Nicole. I know there were a lot of concerns for me from my family and friends and hopefully, if you were one of them, you read my previous blog and know that I feel comfortable that Love will guide me.
So, here I am, ready to go and it is too early to leave yet! My condo is all packed up because today the building will be having its routine termite fumigation. So, there is no food, no hot water and nothing to do to distract me from my anticipation of leaving for the trip. I have such a strong urge to go now.
I can’t stand it and finally go out to the street to wait for the taxi. Linda, it is 30 minutes too early for the taxi. I know, but, maybe, it will be there early. It’s cold out there. It’s okay, I will be okay.
No taxi. Dang. I wait a little bit and yeah it’s cold. I am getting cold. What to do? I need to chill (ha, ha, already am chilled). I mean get grounded and centered. Ahh, I know, I will call the taxi and see if it can come early.
I did and they did. I had a really great talk with the driver who was from the mid east. We talked about the benefits of living in the United States; about the different practices of healthcare, political corruption, etc. Then when we arrived at the airport, he gave me a blessing! Wow, awesome.
When I got to the ticketing agent at Delta, I had a major question to ask because I had received a phone call two days earlier from KLM airlines saying that due to curfew in Cairo, they were changing my flight and putting me up in a hotel in Amsterdam overnight. I had tried to check this flight change on the computer but it only had the original info.
When I got to the agent, I explained the issue, but she said, “I don’t know what to say because there is no change on the computer. You will need to ask the KLM people in Atlanta because your flight was overbooked and we are putting you on the flight that is boarding right now, let’s go!”
She walked me to security where there was a little power struggle, but, I got through and ran to the gate where they were just boarding my section.
Whew! Good thing I had that urge to leave early, hmm.
In Atlanta I asked a couple of different people to check into this layover issue and finally called KLM, but, I was advised to “disregard the phone call” because there was no flight change showing. Yeah, I don’t think so! I will check in Amsterdam.
Good thing I did because, yes indeed, KLM has been laying passengers over since the curfew began with the demonstrations in Tahrir square.
Great! I get to explore Amsterdam. Fortunately, I had listened to that heads up phone call and I had the proper clothing for exploring cold Amsterdam.
I had to take the shuttle back to the airport from the hotel and then take a train into downtown Amsterdam. I wanted to do a canal tour and, fortunately, they are enclosed and protect from the wind. I have to admit, the tour would have been much better if I could have heard it. There was a large family on the boat who talked through the whole trip. I did get to see the architecture of the buildings which I do like and to see the outside of Anne Frank’s house, but all in all, the tour was only so-so for me.
When I got off of the boat, I started walking into the downtown area and this was much better for me. I found a street named Zeeduk with cute shops, etc, but I wanted to find the red light district and see the famous “display of women in the windows”. I had read about this in a novel; in a travel guide; and, from my mom! Yeah, my mom was encouraging me to check out the red light district!
So, I walked around and I do mean around because the streets go in a kind of circle. I finally found the red light district. I found shops that will sell you hash and grass which I didn’t buy only because I was afraid to fall asleep and miss my flight. I saw clubs with live sex shows, but you can see that in any red light district, right? I saw a couple of dimly lit alley ways which I didn’t go down. I saw a lot of tourists! Can you believe it? I wonder if their moms told them to come too. But, unfortunately, I never did see those famous window displays of beauties. I was tired and decided to go back to the hotel. I fell asleep on the train and just by grace did I happen to wake up when the train gave a little bounce.
Yikes! “Is this the stop for the airport?” I blurted. People nodded. I jumped out of my seat, ran to the exit and literally jumped over the steps and onto the landing just as door swooshed closed behind me. Good darn thing I didn’t smoke that hash!
The next day, I was having increasing concern because I hadn’t been in contact with Alexei for over a week. He had begun his trip in Europe attending Mardi Gras in Venice. He wasn’t answering his texts and didn’t know about my flight changes. While sitting on the plane, I contemplated what to do. What if he doesn’t show up in Cairo? What if he is sick or injured, who would I contact to have them find him? I had no clue. I decided I would contact people at work and have them explore that avenue if needed. Then, what would I do about this trip? Do I continue; stay in Cairo the whole time; or, go back to Europe and to Paris? I have our intended itinerary and at least one hotel reservation. I just don’t know exactly how we were planning to get around to all of these places. I don’t know if it is safe for me to do it by myself. Whew, what do I do? This is one of those times when I have to ask if I am “challenging my spirit”. I don’t want to make decisions with the idea of, “Linda, if you are truly spiritual then you will be safe”. Yeah, as I have said before, that is my mind trying to deny my fear and it doesn’t work. I don’t want to be stupid, but, I also don’t want to act out of fear. I want to make a decision based upon Love. So, what do I do? Well, if you have been reading my blog or my book, you know by now what I do. I looked at my fears, forgave them, and, chose to have Love’s perspective instead. I became very peaceful and knew I would continue the journey. I didn’t know exactly how or if I would still be doing the trip we had planned, but, I knew it would be what was best no matter what. I trusted Love and in that energy I continued toward Cairo.