David, who we stayed with when we first arrived in Holland, met us at the airport hotel and gave us our luggage with Mike’s work stuff and our clothes for S. Africa. Back to work, vacation phase over – Europe, you exceeded my expectations, I’ll miss you – I want to come back! Still need to see Spain and Italy and of course more of France, can’t get enough of France! This has been a vacation of a lifetime, I am so blessed!
Flying from Amsterdam to Cairo, 4 hours on Egypt Air, before taking off there is a chanting prayer in Arabic on the PA system. Sets the tone, we are in another world! Sat beside a young doctor, born in Egypt but is Palestinian, on his way from Germany home to get married, lives and works in Germany and will take his new bride there. Wanted to ask him if his fiancée wore a burka but Mike didn’t think it was a good idea. After landing we were put on a shuttle bus which is old, run down and dirty. I am suddenly very aware of my light skin, blue eyes and bare head. Lots of burkas and scarfs, I feel like I look like a harlot to them, I have never experienced these feelings before. We are now in the new section of the airport and putting our luggage through the first security the guy was talking and not even watching the monitor, we just went through the motions. Just coming from countries where you can set your watch by the bus or train, where everything is so efficient, this is quite a difference. The new section is very nice and clean, Burger King is here! American ads and everything is in both Arabic and English. Seems so contradictory, but we are grateful for the English signs. Second security by our gate, this guy is looking very carefully and I’d forgotten a small pair of scissors in my makeup bag, had to surrender them, this was not caught on our flight from Houston! After a couple hours in Cairo we carried on to Johannesburg – 8 more hours.
The parents of Vince, our contact here, met us and took us to our hotel. Beautiful! All done in Moroccan style, looks like an all-inclusive in Mexico. Spent a lovely day with them, Sunday brunch buffet and a tour of Pretoria. This is one of the capitals of S. Africa, there are two, and where the 30 ft. statue of Mandela is outside of the Parliament buildings, impressive. Early start tomorrow.