Monday, December 28, 2009

Best of '09: Car Ride - Trip to Siwa

In 2009, I managed to get in a good amount of travel. That's thanks to my new job in Cairo, Egypt. There's a lot to see in and around Cairo.

My last trip was most memorable and not only did I almost did not go, but the trip almost did not happen.

At any rate, it was a trip to Siwa, Egypt, the Desert Oasis and it took place Thanksgiving weekend. Actually, we left on Saturday afternoon and returned to Cairo on Monday night. But the doosie is that the trip would take at least nine hours by car each way. When I got a call that the trip was delayed because the scheduled bus had broken down, I almost said, no, I am NOT going on that trip. I thought about it for about 20 minutes, and decided to go ahead and take the trip in a mini-bus. I had nothing else to do for the weekend.

Now, I'm not saying that it was the best car ride, but it was the most memorable. There were two mini-buses. After riding in both of them, I can say that neither was really more comfortable than the other. They were both old and small and comfort was not an option. We crammed about ten folks in each bus and hit the road for Siwa.

One of the vans on the trip to Siwa. On this one, when the driver hit the brakes, those crazy looking mice sang "This Land Is Your Land." After nine plus hours, you can imagine how I feel about that song.

Now, you know that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong? Well, not quite. The mini-buses did not break down. But what was most memorable was trying to 'make-myself-small', yet be comfortable. I remember rest stops that were out in the middle of nowhere. I remember reading "Them" by Nathan McCall. I remember not eating anything healthy just 'biscuits' better known to me and my world as 'cookies'. I remember buying my brother's Christmas gift on that trip-a black checked scarf. I got tossed off the sandboard and torn the MCL in my knee (the first serious injury of my life). I could go on and on.

What stands out the most though is the people I met on the bus. Folks from so many different backgrounds and nationalities: French, German, South African, British, Australian, Egyptian, Kenyan, Nigerian, Canadian, other Americans and more. Mostly good folks. Some were considerate, some could have had better manners. Some liked hip hop and introduced me to some international hip hop groups. I tried to take it all in ... a group of 20 strangers on a nine hour bus ride to the desert ... yeah, that was a memorable bus ride.

This post is a part of Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge.

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