8.22.2008

Sleep-Deprived but Alive

Egyptair Flight 986 wasn't crowded. I had an assigned window seat behind the wing, so I had a great view and the seat next to me wasn't occupied for very long.

A devout Muslim man sat down next to me in New York and said his evening prayers. After he was done (and after I called my parents and might have cried just a little bit) I introduced myself. He stared at me, said "I no speak English" and before giving me a chance to respond in Arabic, fled.

I didn't see him again for the entire rest of the ten hour flight, but his disappearance gave me the ability to stretch out over the two seats to sleep. I had earplugs, headphones,and an eyemask (Egyptair gave out swag like the air industry was booming), and I still had a hard time going to sleep with the mechanical thrumming of the plane's engines, but I must have because I had no idea that one of the in-flight movies was the live-action version of Alvin and the Chipmunks.

At 4:00 A.M. EST/10:00 A.M. breakfast was served. At 5:30 we began our descent into Cairo.

Fittingly, I was listening to the birthday mix Kathryn made me and just as the green fields of the Nile Delta came into view behind the sandy coastline, the Lily Allen/Mark Ronson collaboration "Oh My God" clicked onto my ipod. oh/my/god/I can't believe it/Never been this far from home before.

I was sitting on the fortunate side of the airplane: as we continued our descent into Cairo the Pyramids came into view. Viewed from the air against the foreground of the crumbling sand colored towers of downtown Cairo they rose out of a small sweep of desert.


We landed, collected our baggage, lugged our (free!) trolleys past men in white uniforms cradling automatic rifles.


The AUC representatives were unprepared for the number of students that arrived on our flight. They piled twenty people plus three bags per person into one of the most overloaded small passenger vans I have ever seen and off we went. I was the last person in the van, seated on a small jumpseat right inside the door. There were no seatbelts. We careened through (around?) downtown Cairo, crossed the Nile, and entered the comparatively green oasis that is the island of Zamalek.


My randomly assigned room-mate for orientation at Zamalek?

Kelly! (for those unfamiliar: Kelly was my room-mate first semester sophomore year at AU).










1 comment:

marooned84 said...

He must've been thinkin u're tryin 2 lure him!