Cities Visited: Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, others
Time Period: March 1996
Cairo, EgyptThis is only my second trip outside of the country and this is my first trip to the African continent. I certainly hope that this is not my last trip to Africa! I am going to CIMUN conference which stands for the Cairo International Model United Nations. I was selected to go to the conference with Rachael Wilcox, David Sacchetti, and Edward Bush. We were all very excited to be going to the conference.
After 12 hours of flight, we arrived in Cairo, where someone from the CIMUN conference was waiting for us. We stayed at a really neat hotel, although I have long since forgotten the name of the hotel. But I remember that I had a really awesome room. I wasn't even tired. In fact, I was very very excited. I called my parents to let them know that I was okay, and then I headed out towards the bars with the group. We had a really good time.
The conference itself was nothing spectacular, but I met a lot of cool people, including John, who would later become my adventure partner. During the conference, we went to museums and saw ancient mummies and other Egyptian artifacts. We also had an awesome night out at a dessert resort. Although I must say that the highlight of my experience was a trip to the pyramids and the Sphinx, along with a camel ride. Despite what people tell you, camels are mean mean mean! They spit at people and if they get the chance, they'll kick you. Camels have an odd sense of humor.
Aswan, Luxor, Memphis and more, Egypt
At the end of the conference, I had learned so much about this aspect of African culture that I made a decision to take the opportunity to learn some more about Egypt. A couple of inconvenient situations created an opportunity for more exploration, so John and I decided that we would join a cruise up the Nile, along the way stopping in the ports of Luxor, Memphis, Aswan, the Valley of the Kings, amongst other places. Sailing up the Nile was a beautiful experience, and visiting all of the different states of Egypt and seeing the Egyptian and Greco-Egyptian temples and architecture was a real learning experience. Those Egyptians were certain ahead of their time in many many ways.
UK & the layover
At the end of my Egyptian adventure, I learned about the harsh realities of buying consolidated tickets. Mainly, that you really aren't allow to make any changes. After some pleading (they didn't want to strand a 19 year old in Egypt), they booked me a flight on the condition that I got to Amsterdam myself, and it was only available for one date. What to do? Luckily, John offered to share his dorm room with me at his university in the UK, as I had 3 days until my flight. John was an awesome person for allowing me to stay at his dorm, and his dorm mates were really cool. Another good thing, I discovered "Chicken and Corn" pizza, which I suspect i'll always associated with fond memories of this trip. One of the highlights from my trip was that on the way from Egypt to England, President Mubark was in transit, so they closed the airspace at the airport. To pass the time, a random stranger began playing Egyptian music and dancing. And then he made John dance! I was laughing so hard until he then made me dance. It was funny and embarrassing at the same time, but it was a cool experience nonetheless. This was also the first time that I flew on British Airways, and I have fallen in love with them ever since.
Anyway, I safely made it back to the United States, and was in deep shit with my advisor at school for taking longer than I needed. I was talked to and counseled, but in my hearts of heart, I felt that I made the right decision. After all, I don't know if i'll ever travel again. Besides, I have a feeling that i'll be working so much with MUN in the future and in leadership capacities that i'll make up for it. In addition to a pissed off advisor, one of my teachers dropped me from her class, but I got around that my submitting my freshman legal paper from Drew University (it was published in the school's law journal...it was on affirmative action and post-secondary education).
But in closing, it was a wonderful experience and i'll have many wonderful memories!