Monday, January 31, 2011

Home again

We are next in line, taking off for a direct 14-hour flight to New York

Our wakeup call is at 4 am and after an excellent although somewhat abbreviated night’s sleep, we are off to the airport where we have a very nice breakfast in the business class club before leaving for home.

On the flight we have four to six hours sleep on aseat that stretches out to a flat bed. Not to overdo it about this wonderful seat, but it has two kinds of vibrating massages, and every imaginable configuration. It's an experience, after all of the cramped cheap seats we've experienced. There are a couple of nice movies and more wonderful food. The airline even provides silk pajamas, and the attendants are attentive and considerate.

The beautiful Persian Gulf
An oil tanker in the Gulf
As we approach New York, we agree we could stand more of this kind of travel. First class by accident but we can appreciate the value.

That became even more true on our arrival in New York. After going through customs and immigration, we went to return our single checked bag for our ongoing flight to Vermont. Delta had agreed not to charge us $400 for the flight for which we had already paid - they had told Astrid we would have to pay because we had missed yesterday's flight - no matter it was because THEY had cancelled our flight from Cairo.

Good to see New York
But the Delta clerk
wants $50 for our bag to go to Burlington. There is only one bag, we point out. OK, she concedes, $25. But there should be no charge, there is an allowance of one bag for person on international flights. Well, you didn't come in on Delta she says sulkily. No, we admit - and that is because Delta suspended ALL flights to Cairo. It would have been difficult to fly without a plane. Well, talk to Qatar, she says rudely. Qatar does not fly to Burlington. This continued for several minutes with Jim saying he would give her his 

credit card but also assuring her he would not end up paying that fee. Finally, curtly, she says she will "waive" the fee this time "but don't try that again!" No problem, we will NEVER fly Delta again, if there is any other choice, regardless of price.

BUT if we have the opportunity, we will fly Qatar anywhere! We had forgotten that flying could actually be fun.

Our flight to Burlington is uneventful and we are SO happy to see Astrid who was there to picked us up. It has been an unforgettable trip. We believe we have witnessed a Berlin Wall moment. Lars says he understands, but "you all weren't in Berlin!"

We are sorry to have caused anxiety for him and his sisters, and other family and friends. None the less, it was a wonderful trip and it was an honor to also be witness to the birth of New Egypt.

We are home again, happy to be here and looking forward to sleeping in
our own bed, some 40 hours after departing from the hotel in Alexandria

Looking forward, we know there will be setbacks and mistakes, but Egypt is an old, wise country and we have confidence that it will evolve into a strong vibrant 21st century nation. Are have heard from Samir and Dalia, that they are safe - and that they are optimistic about the future of their new nation. we are looking forward to our next visit.

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