May 10 2005

Lindsay goes to Egypt, Volume IV: Adventures in shopping, a strange demand from airport security, and a thwarted attempt to leave the country

by in Egypt, Middle East

Well, here we go…my last post from Egypt…I know you’ll all be very saddened, but don’t worry, I’ll have many thrilling entries ahead regarding my dissertation topic and this annoying London weather!

Day 8: Our last day in Egypt…well, not really
So, last day in Egypt…what to do? Buy cheesy souvenirs, of course! To be honest, though, my souvenir shopping has really been minimal these past few trips. I usually just pick up a flag and a few postcards…easy to pack in case I move back to the U.S., you know.

When Jessica and I walked into a souvenir store and saw these plush camels, though, I just had to have one:

The best part, though, is that the camel sings…in Arabic. Oh hell yes. I also purchased an inflatable Anubis (jackal headed god of mummification) punching doll (finals are coming up soon…figured it was a good investment). I wanted one of those scarves all the oil sheiks wear, so I got one of those, too. The salesmen told Jessica to take a picture of me with them, so here it is:

Luxor salesmen

Now maybe Dubya will invite me over to his ranch in Crawford and we could hold hands and frolic amongst the flowers. How dreamy…

Anyways, the actual shopping experience was quite interesting. Remember how I said the restaurant staff always harassed Jessica? Well, I got mine with the salesmen. One guy asked me if I wanted to work for him. No…thank…you. Another guy that we walked by gave me his business card, LOL, and asked me for my e-mail address, to which I replied “I don’t have one.” He was shocked…”You don’t have an e-mail address? Why not?” I couldn’t really come up with an excuse, so just said I didn’t know why…smart.

The rest of the day involved two attempted kissings by salesmen (unsuccessful for them…really, I don’t understand this obnoxious behavior at all) and one sales guy blocking my way as Jessica and I were walking by his store: “But you said you would visit my store a few days ago!” I don’t remember saying that, much less speaking to the guy, and figured he often uses this ploy to usher unsuspecting foreign tourists into his store. Since he wouldn’t let me pass, I had to make a break for it and jump over a small hedge. By then, we had enough of this shopping experience, and decided to head back to the hotel to sit on the roof and drink some crazy coke-orange juice-grenadine concoctions which were absolutely delicious.

After that, we headed off to the airport, where we learned that our flight was delayed for four hours (Hint: Never travel with me, I’m bad luck when it comes to flying). OK…cool…not sure how we will get back into London from Gatwick when our plane arrives at 2am, but whatever. The Luxor airport was absolutely a mess…they kept making us change lines (“Umm, this is now the line for Manchester. If you’re going to Gatwick, please go to line 4.”) and all the computers kept going down…it was ridiculous! We finally got our boarding passes and waited in the lounge for an extremely long time…a few hours at least. I didn’t have a book to read, so I amused myself by continually pressing my plush camel’s stomach so that it would serenade me…and everybody else sitting nearby. They finally announced that we could enter the departure gate area (yes!!!) so we headed towards the security checkpoint. After I walked through the metal detector (which I did NOT set off), the guard said “Stop. Kiss me!” OK…WTF?!?!?!

WHAT…IS…WRONG…WITH…THIS…COUNTRY? Could you imagine if you were standing in line at National Airport in DC, and a guard demanded a kiss? Anyways, I was like “Uhhh…no.”

So we are sitting at our gate, waiting for them to board us, when an employee makes an announcement that something is wrong with the plane and they are going to decide if it’s safe to fly. Great. By then we were all in a surly mood, as the airline staff had not been very forthcoming with information. I was hoping to see some mini-riot break out, as occured on an episode of Airline: UK when EasyJet staff informed a group of Brits that their plane wouldn’t make it to France in time for them to catch the WorldCup match. Our fellow passengers, though, were quite orderly and submissive…clearly, they had not consumed enough of their duty free alcohol!

As it turned out, our plane was beyond repair, so at midnight we found ourselves on a bus headed back to Luxor:

We weren’t exactly sure what hotel they were going to put all of us in, but were pleased when the buses pulled up to the 5-star Sheraton Resort. Sweet. Jessica and I collected the key to our room, which turned out to be a bungalow….ahhh nice. I was absolutely starving, so was quite glad to hear that the airline had arranged for dinner to be served…and damn, it was good. We ended up sitting next to a hilarious British couple who generously poured their duty free Stolichnaya into our glasses of Coke.

The next morning the hotel served a huge breakfast buffet, which was great, but we were leaving at 11am so we didn’t get to spend much time there. It would have been nice to use the spa or take advantage of the big swimming pool.

We finally left Luxor that day (after our plane was sprayed with pesticide, haha), and arrived in London around 7pm or so. Overall, Egypt was wonderful, but after a week there I began to crave the anonymity of London’s streets.

After I finish my finals in June, I’m going to Venice and Rome for a few days. I’m really looking forward to Italy because I’ve always wanted to go there…and my mom will be relieved to learn that I’m finally visiting a “normal” country devoid of landmines and mandatory police escorts.

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2 Responses to Lindsay goes to Egypt, Volume IV: Adventures in shopping, a strange demand from airport security, and a thwarted attempt to leave the country

  1. From Helen:

    hey, Lindsay, it’s me again! =) Just to say thank you very much for sharing your experience in Egype with us! I love your pictures! They are great!!! Wish you could come to Beijing someday!!~~

    Posted on May 12, 2005 at 10:45 am #
  2. From phoenix:

    wow, It’s a nice plush camel.

    Posted on March 27, 2008 at 2:27 am #

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