When people take trips of a certain nature, ones that don’t typically denote a vacation but are akin to something more like traveling, they tend to wax philosophic. Jack Kerouac novels and Buddhist prayers come to mind. Lyrics from favorite songs or movies get quoted, and so sums up the trip.
This trip started with a mistake fare which loosely translates to ‘sale’ and I know that word in any language.
So. Original itinerary is a one way ticket. This means I can get where ever there is and stay, but getting back from there was a whole other project. In any case, it goes like this: JFK to Milan. Then that’s it for seven (7) days. The next leg of the trip on the same one way ticket departs from Prague and lands in Bangkok. I have one week find my way around after I get dumped off in Italy, and then get to Prague to then get to Bangkok and essentially dragging myself back.
I jumped and paid my $199 to fly almost 100% around the world with no way home. I didn’t think long and hard about it, or the locations, or the cost or implications or where I wanted to go. I just thought, let me scoop this up and worry about the details later. And I did. I was itching for an adventure and this seemed as good as any.
Ticket for ONE, please. I clicked ‘buy’ and felt my heart beat in my chest. I was woozy from just the idea. I was drunk on freedom and hadn’t even left.
Seven months later, I have completed my planning. I have even packed some stuff well in advance of my departure! I continue to impress myself with my grownupness.
My first stop, technically, is Milan. I have about 4 hours between flights. I land early in the morning, but that is fine with me. I fly Alitalia. It is quite literally the mother ship taking me home. I plan on spending my hours in the airport, gloriously and gluttonesly (I made it a word), eating and drinking and shopping. My favorite bottled water on the planet, some cheese, maybe a small leather good to celebrate myself on this journey. One never knows.
From there, I take a quickish flight across the Mediterranean and into Cairo, Egypt. I thought it would be nice to see the pyramids before they aren’t there anymore and in betwixt any uprisings or coups or plots or assassinations and the like. So let’s hope that in the time I am there, I have only good stories to tell, or even better, none at all. OR the other option: something so insane happens that I recount it in bitter American detail and land an interview with Anderson Cooper. Either of those things is acceptable.
I’ve digressed. I have booked a private tour, just me, for my time in Cairo, so that I can go and do as I please, and ask as many freaking questions as I want. And no, I did not warn them ahead of time. I am going to drain those around me of all their knowledge and possibly their patience.
I am going to Giza for the pyramids and the sphinx, King Tut and assorted mummies. I will visit Memphis and Saakara, where I will enter the pyramids alone as my tour guide is not permitted to enter with me lest we over crowd the space. Because that is not frightening as hell. I will no doubt have nightmares that will haunt my dreams for weeks and years to come because that is what real live dead bodies with hollow eyes that watch my every move in the dark do.
I will visit bazaars, churches, mosques, local markets and their neighborhoods. I hope that among the many new and interesting things I learn, I will figure out the biggest mystery plaguing me: Egyptian cotton sheets – are they truly made of cotton from Egypt? And where can I get them? Are they cheaper since they are native to the area? Don’t think my ‘Egyptologist’ won’t be fielding that question.
Three days in Cairo is the plan. Should be enough to do what I want to do, at the rate I wish to do it. My general plan in Egypt is to have my mind blown and not require a phone call to the US Embassy.
I am terribly excited. I feel like I am standing in the open doorway of a plane with my parachute strapped on and my toes handing over the edge. In 24 hours or so, I will have essentially jumped.
And I quote, cowabunga, dude.