Friday, February 25, 2011

Sprouts of Change (The Sequel to Seeds of Change)

Recap: When we left you at Seeds of Change we had planted the seeds for our garden, revolution was spreading from Tunisia to Egypt and River was eating salads. Since that time our seeds have sprouted, Mubarak was overthrown, Morocco had demonstrations, but no revolution and yes, River is still eating salads. I knew those seeds were magic!



What I neglected to mention in Seeds of Change is about a week before the uprising in Egypt there was a really great deal at Orbitz.com. "Only 9 left at this price", it taunted me. And anytime there is a good price on airline tickets I just can't stop myself from nabbing it. After all, there were only NINE left and there are SIX of us. So I frantically typed our information in the boxes and YES, I got 6 of those non-refundable tickets to Cairo. Lucky me. And no, I'm not joking. I really bought 6 non-refundable tickets to Cairo because I have impeccable timing. A week later, the reason why I got such a great deal reveals itself in the form of smoke bombs. I've always been suspicious of Orbitz.com with their "only ____ left at this price", but now I think that they may be part of a more subversive political regime. I'm watching you Orbitz!

Ever since we didn't make into Egypt the first time (although technically we were on Egyptian soil), we have been planning our return trip. We have made a few attempts to contact the Egyptian Embassy here in Rabat to get those special visas we need to exit the Cairo airport and actually enter the country. Our first attempt at getting those illusive special visas necessary for holders of official US passports (as opposed to the regular non-official blue US passports) was immediately following our first failed attempt to get into Cairo in October. We gathered up the kids and arrived at the Egyptian Embassy in the afternoon and were told they are only open from 9-11am and we were turned away. Attempt number two was on Thanksgiving at promptly 9am. Turns out, they are only open Monday through Wednesday 9-11am. Of course, why didn't I know that? Beginning to feel like we weren't our own best advocates on the third try in December we had someone call the Egyptian Embassy on our behalf. Suffice it to say, the Egyptian Embassy staff was neither polite nor helpful. In their defense, maybe it was just all the pent up pre-revolution angst that made them come off as a little tense and stand-offish.

So still not having made any headway on the visas and with no indication that we will EVER make headway on the visas, I buy the airline tickets in January. As if Orbitz really gave me any choice NOT to buy them. Then, a week later, revolution sweeps Egypt. In February they evacuate the US Embassy personnel from Cairo and issue a travel warning. I'm still brimming with travel optimism that this trip is still salvageable. Or maybe it's utter umbrage that we have now paid for TWELVE non-refundable tickets to Egypt. Ok, I'm positive it's the latter. I'm beyond irritated. This only makes me more determined that there is still a way we can get there in a few weeks time on those bargain Orbitz tickets with a special visa in hand. Right? Don't you think so? Maybe...?


Now the question is, should we still go? We've been keeping up with the news on Egypt and discussing if it is safe enough for us to go with 4 kids in tow. We've considered cancelling and just making other solid plans. But, we know that we can throw together last minute plans if Egypt doesn't work out, as evidenced last time this didn't work out and we ended up in Paris. So why not just stay oblivious? I mean optimistic. We figure we've got nothing to lose at this point while we wait and see what transpires over the next couple of weeks. So lets get those special visas. (If indeed they really DO exist.) The Egyptians WILL get this application. I don't care what it takes anymore. I wonder if we have black ski masks for everyone? Have we taught them how to rappel yet? Do we own a working flashlight with batteries? I know we have walkie talkies around here somewhere...at least one. I'm pretty sure you need at least two though.

Here's our pictures for our visas and the insider's scoop on what we were thinking:




Ember- I wonder why mommy bought me that black shirt and harness? I don't know why I'm getting my picture taken, but I am so happy I am!
Craig- Should I use this picture to try to get that visa to go to Egypt or to put on a job application to work at the Egyptian Embassy? I hear they have great hours.
Sky- Oh man, we're not going to get into Egypt and we're going to have to sleep on the floor at the airport in Cairo again! Wait, the pizza at the food court was pretty good...
River-I don't know if I'm more angry that I have to get my picture taken or that I have to get my picture taken with Justin Bieber hair.
Marie- I got really great deals on these tickets...ummmm....twice. **Through clenched smile** Now let me in Egypt!
Jade- Remember we saw that cool sphinx in the Louvre? Hey, I wonder if they have lots of stray cats in Egypt like in Morocco. I'm gonna pack some cat food, clean water and my vet bag!



Here's what I imagine the Egyptian Embassy is thinking:

How did this visa application appear on my desk? It wasn't here yesterday...
Stupid Americans. I thought we just got all of them to leave?
Check out the Justin Bieber hair on that one and how hopeful the parents look! Succckkkaaas....
Don't I know them from somewhere? Oh right, we didn't let them in the first time.
Remember we played the surveillance video of them at living at the airport at the last office party?
Oh right, we're not oppressed by a corrupt evil dictator anymore...
Welcome to Egypt. Swim in crocodile infested Nile. Only 9 tickets left at this price!


The clock is ticking. There's bureaucratic red tape. Will we get our visa applications to the Egyptian Embassy? Will they process them? Will it be safe to go by then? When will we decide? Where will we go if we don't make it to Egypt? I must know because we have to hurry to get those last tickets to swim in the Nile. I think I can pre-order them on Orbitz. Just please don't tell me that the third time is the charm, at least not right now.

To Do List:
Buy rope and batteries
Teach the kids how to rappel
Block Orbitz.com
Start reading the book Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff that's on the nightstand

1 comment:

Anna and Kim said...

Oh dear. I sure don't know if you should go or not. But I am very glad that you can write such great posts on the whole deal. And those photos alone are worth something!

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