Passport, Credit Card, Done Packing

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Lets do the roundup thing, it's always fun. Landing in london was a little bumpy - turns out a tornado either touched down or very nearly did in the heart of london. The tall lanky egyptian man in front of my did not handle this news so well, doubled over, clenching himself and rocking slowly back and forth. Eventually we land and wait. Wait for 20 minutes to be told that the plane that is at our gate is not going to be moving any time soon so we head off to a "free standing" terminal. Another 20 for the stairs to show up, 20 more for the busses to take us to the real terminal and my nice leasurly layover in London is now down to 15 minutes. Hooray, I make my flight!

My luggage, however, gets to visit Turkey. I'm currently on Day 4 of this black t-shirt. Thank goodness it's the quick drying kind and I had a spare set of socks and boxers in my backpack so i can at last cycle those while they dry. The sink that does't drain means I get to wash them in the shower, which means EVERYTHING gets wet. At least I'm still laughing. Huge nod to the parents that taught me travel with spares though.

But on to more amusing things...

When you hear someone speaking french don't say "I speak a little french" if that is, in fact, ALL the french you speak. Nod, nod, laugh politely, hope I haven't just agreed to something horrible. Likewise, when trying to dodge pushy suvineer salesmen you may think it's a good idea to just answer in german - you would be wrong. You'ld think someone who could speak 5 languages could do better than hauking postcards at the pyramids.

Speaking of the pyramids, they freaking HUGE. You really don't have any sense of scale until you get up next to them. we missed out on visiting the burial chamber of the great pyramid but did get to go into the chamber of the second (middle) one. All in all kind of unremarkable until everyone else leaves and you grab a quick lay down in the carcophogus. Thousands of years empty and it's still creepy as hell.

Back outside the haukers have recuited their younger proteges to be cute and amusing and grab the occasional feel from the three female companions (oh yes, did i mention, the group is only 4 people in size?). I move from being amusing male distraction to bodyguard and bouncer. Pastey white guy is less funny when he grabs you and moves you away but at last the point got across. i am now the official "husband" for the group whenever an excuse is needed :)

We visit the Papyrus institute which is like every other institute on these travels, a quick show and then a bid to get you to buy their stuff. Some of it is beautiful, a lot of it is tacky, and the one showing two grown men smiling while they're circumsized is a little disturbing.

The taxi drives around make me think of rome - lanes and traffic lights are more just an unobtrusive suggestion rather than any kind of "law". Flashing lights are substituted for horns though so it is a somewhat quieter journey. I really wish i understood more egyptian since when a smaller car tried to cut us off he started with rude hand gestures then rolled down his window and started screaming. Our driver starts screaming. then they seem to take turns, having a screaming conversation. finally they both laugh hartily and wave goodbye and we part ways. Strange conventions indeed.

So now I'm in Aswan trying to find socks until my luggage hopefully arrives tomorrow. The 14 hour train ride here really showed a lot of the poverty of the second class citizens in the country though. huts built on top of huts like huge lego appartment buildings (a few have empty floors for future expansion) the bricks falling through and no on caring. Donkeys and farmers alike site and watch as our train slowly trundles past. I wish I could have gotten a picture or two that did it justice but no such luck.

Tomorrow is Abu Simbel - I elected for the 30 minute flight rather than the 6 hour police convoy of busses - then sailing down the nile. provided I have clothes at that point it should be quite enjoyable.

No pictures right nw since my card reader is one of the things still in my luggage, making its merry way around europe.


two words: carryon only.


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