We're back from a wonderful trip to Egypt. :) I'm going to break up telling you about our trip into several posts because it's going to take a while. I'm planning to go fairly chronological, but knowing me I'll probably get lost down a few rabbit trails along the way. :)
Part of Brad's compensation package is 10 days paid vacation every 90 days with a roundtrip airfare to his point of destination (the US) or an equilvalent. Since flying to Egypt from Doha is a lot cheaper than flying to the US, the company paid for all of us to fly there. And, not only to fly there, but to fly business class. Let me tell you, that is the only way to fly! I've only flown business class once, on our honeymoon trip to England, and that was nice. Really nice. But you don't know the full benefit until you have two squirmy toddlers. Plenty of room to spread out. Attentive flight attendants. Yummy food. Comfy pillows and blankets. Chairs that recline to nearly horizontal. Heaven. And that was once we got on the plane. Before that, we started out in the VIP terminal with the first class lounge, which included a glassed-in play area for the twins and a delicious mid-morning snack.
The flight to Cairo was about 3 hours. Nick was sitting by me and fell asleep pretty soon after take-off and slept most of the flight. Catie was with her daddy and she was a little bundle of energy. A good girl, but not a sleeping one. She finally slept about 30 minutes before the plane landed.
Travel tips for Egypt:
1. When you get off the plane, you will not get your stroller until you reach baggage claim. It's a pain in the behind.
2. You will be expected to buy a visa with US dollars from one of the banks in front of the passport control, affix the visa stickers to a blank page in your passport with the serial number facing out, and fill out forms for everyone in your party all while holding two screaming toddlers who just want to run around after being in the plane for three hours. Did I mention it's incredibly crowded, poorly signed, and no one speaks English very well?
3. When you employ a porter, do not give him any money until he has loaded the bags into the cab. Brad kept thinking that the porter was leaving, so he ended up tipping him 3 times.
4. Everyone in Egypt is out to get your money. Ask the cab driver what your fare will cost before you get into the cab. Avoid taking help unless you are prepared to give a little baksheesh (tip.)
5. Driving in Doha is bad. Driving in Cairo is downright suicidal. Take a taxi, close your eyes if you must, and pretend you don't notice the near-misses and breakneck speeds. Horns are used to communicate everything, and lights aren't for seeing where you are going in the dark, they are for telling people to speed up or get over.
More later... :)