Saturday, April 2, 2011

In Transit

You know how you plan for spring break and choose a really great destination and you're so excited about it. Then two weeks after you buy your tickets that country has a revolution and then you need to consider whether to go or not. Is it safe? Isn't it safe? Do you really care if it is or it isn't because you've spent a butt load of money on 6 non-refundable tickets to Egypt. You actually bought 12, 6 for this trip and 6 for the last failed trip to Egypt where you and your family were captives at the Cairo airport for 40 hours before you were deported back to Morocco. I hate when that happens.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned that I am lazy, cheap and very determined before. So first, I've already made travel arrangements for Egypt. I don't' want to research and cancel these plans and make new plans. That's too much work. Second, we've already paid for this trip twice. I would like to actually take the trip that we pay for. And we worked hard to get those illusive special visa that kept us from getting into the country last time. So hell yeah, we're going. Ok, I'm oversimplifying a bit. We did consider not going and the safety of the kids for like 5 minutes in there somewhere. But it was a long agonizing 5 minutes.

Somewhere over the Mediterranean sea I was pondering why it is so freakin' hard to go on vacation with 4 kids. I mean it's vacation it should be relaxing, fun and whine-less right? Isn't this why we go on vacation? And then it occurred to me, we're not taking our kids on the quintessential Disney family vacation. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It's just that I don't think they have Space Mountain in Egypt. Not only are we not going on your typical trip, we're also retro parents. Which means we stay out of touch on vacation (like way back in the 80's dude) and our kids don't bring electronics on our travels. They bring books, playing cards, markers and paper. They are forced to be together and try to get along for 24/7 for the duration of the trip. This of course is impossible. So it results in lots of family togetherness, squables, insatiable questions and curiosities, whinning and every now and again maybe 10 minutes when they are all happy at the same time. And we haven't even gotten anywhere yet. Huh. Why do we travel again? And again?

So we arrive in Madrid where we have the world's longest layover. Don't ask me why Iberia has us flying from Africa to Europe to get back to Africa. But then again, we're in Europe for a few hours. It's clean and there is no garbage spewed on the floor of the terminal. There is no bathroom attendant to pay, no head scarves, no djellabas, no starving stray cats and no smoking in the airport. And the best thing is we blend. We're not a Caucasian spectacle. It's like we're almost invisible. And it's so blissful. We walk to a new stand and there are magazines in English. In English I tell you! The boys somehow miss the prominently displayed Playboy magazine, not wrapped in plastic, at the news stand. Thank god. I score a Marie Claire, which I normally wouldn't read in the states. But it's in English and there is something about holding the written word in your hands that is so tactile and intimate. Especially if you're holding Playboy I suppose.

Then I spot Vinea, the wine bar. A wine bar at the airport? Brilliant! I love Spain! Can I convert to be a Spaniard? Probably not. I can't speak Spanish, make paella and I definitely can't wear high heels daily like a real Spanish woman. Damn it. Instead I'll just forgive Spain for giving us Antonio Banderas. That's how much I love Spain. Or maybe I just love rioja.

So the kids choose their generic airport food and scarf it down in 5 minutes flat. And then Craig and I split an incredible bottle of red accompanied by some cheese, salmon and bread. Craig and I linger and decide travel is always worth it, we have incredible kids and Spain is the best place on earth. Revelations all owed to that bottle of rioja.

The kids wander down the hall of the terminal. They return all chewing gum. Wait, I didn't give them any gum. They have made the best revelation any kid can make. They have discovered that they can get the gumball machine to work without money. Spain has free gum! We all agree. It really is the best place on earth. They probably learned how to jimmy the machine from that Spy Kids movie. Wait who was in that Spy Kids movie? Oh yeah, Antonio Banderas...

It's time to board our flight to Cairo. Our mini vacation to Spain is over. We settle in and recline our chairs that one centimeter back to the fully reclined position that makes you feel oh so much more comfortable. No sooner are we airborne and it's time for dinner. I'm always intrigued by what airlines serve. And I'll eat just about anything. But, oh my god, it looks like spam. And yet they have so thoughtfully included a card to declare that this "meat" contains no pork. I really don't want to eat something that needs a special card to identify what it isn't. Curiosity got the best of me and I tried it, but still don't know what the hell it was. And you must ask yourself WWABE? What Would Antonio Banderas Eat?

I pull out my Marie Claire and read it cover to cover. And yes, I was fully reclined with one bite of non-spam in my stomach. I find out Miley Cyrus smoked some kind of natural herb from a bong that wasn't pot. That I have dreadfully unfashionable footwear, that it's now very hip to wear eyeshadow all the way up to your eyebrows and that I don't have an eating disorder. Wow, what an incredible waste of $10. Maybe I don't miss magazines after all. On second thought, I'm sure that the articles in Playboy would have been better. That's what I hear anyway.

Finally after hours of travel we arrive in Cairo. We're all tired, but so excited and anxious all at the same time. We deplane and wait in the long line at customs. Our immigration form, passports and visas all neatly arranged in hand. Finally it's our turn. We give him our official passports and visas. And he rejects them.

To be continued...

Recommended reading:
Bringing Up Geeks by Marybeth Hicks
Alone Together by Sherry Turkle


hocam said...

Oh my God, hope after all that you got in!

Sara said...

I'm waiting with baited breath for the next part! Although, the trip to Spain's airport was pretty great in itself!

Livy said...

noooo. I so want to call you and get the scoop- but no, I'll wait... Wanna do a ladies weekend in Spain sometime before I go? I really want to see Spain!


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