We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

(Not) packing and more (not) packing

My cousin went south to Upper Egypt for a few days, which I thought would give me plenty of time to start packing. It has given me some time, but I have not done any packing. I’m sure you are as shocked as I am by this turn of events.

I did go shopping this weekend, with cousin K, at the Khan il Khalili, a big touristy market/bazaar in downtown Cairo. It was Saturday afternoon and hot as all get out. And of course I managed to wander us into the wrong neighborhood even though the Khan was about two inches away from us. We finally made it of course.

Giggle joined us willingly because he loves going new places and shopping (both boys got new Egypt/cartouche shirts, which had been hidden under the t-shirts of camels smoking shisha). Giggle kept complaining when we’d go into stores and not buy anything. I told him he had to pretend to be uninterested in things so we could bargain. He largely failed at this. Anyway, he’s very happy with his new shirt and has already worn it twice. I ended the day with a headache so throbbing that it took a shower, a couple of Tylenol, and a nap to make it go away. I’m just no good in the heat (to which you respond, then, pray tell, why do you live in Egypt? Which is a very good question).

Giggle and I also had a conversation this weekend about how no one is allowed to touch him if he doesn’t want them to. A very serious topic, indeed, but it started because Egyptian men seem compelled to touch his hair. And of course he doesn’t like it — would you? So now he knows to say “la! la-ah!” (no! really no!) when people touch him. Hair touching is a big issue in the African American community, and apparently it’s an issue for native born Africans in North Africa too. Seriously, folks, if you’re a hair toucher, you really should stop. It’s weird.

Deep down I have much anxiety about all the packing I need to do in the next few days. Packing for the States should be easy because the boys have new clothes waiting for us there, plus we’ll be going shopping, plus we can get anything we need there, plus we won’t really need all that much. But as a friend of mine used to say, “Should is a dangerous word.” (Okay, an old flame used to say that, and he probably still says it, but I haven’t talked to him in MANY years.)

I think really I’m anxious about the flights even though there’s nothing to be done except laugh instead of cry. A colleague of mine did tell me some horror stories yesterday about transferring at JFK from international to domestic. At most airports, when you land internationally, you collect your luggage, walk it through customs, and then toss it back on some carousel for the airport folks to transfer it to your next flight. But apparently at JFK you have to walk it to the next terminal. This guy told me that he has a distinct memory of pushing his trolley of bags uphill through a construction site (but at least not in the snow). And he didn’t even have two little boys with him. Eh, que sera sera. And maybe JFK is better now.

We leave on Saturday around noon. Giggle will watch every movie that plays, and listen to every in-flight music station. He’ll attempt to call the flight attendant multiple times and the flight attendants will ignore us. Bug will be harder to entertain but he is also more malleable. I’m also trying to get used the idea of being on my own, without Mr. Four, for the week. But I think I’ll keep us busy with swimming and visiting and movies. Hurray, movies! Will Kung Fu Panda be too much for Bug? Because Giggle and I would really like to see it.

Last night, the boys and I went to a local toy shop tonight to pick out a few things for the airplane (I said so many times that they wouldn’t get the toys until the airplane that Giggle started saying, “I know Mommy! It’s for the airplane!). We couldn’t find many small toys. So we bought some real cheapies that probably won’t last much past JFK, but the boys seemed happy enough until this morning, when Giggle cried because he wanted his new airplane toys. Bug has mostly forgotten about the new stuff or is taking “for airplane use only” very seriously.

Bug also decided last night that he’d rather be in the sling, really an Ergo baby carrier, on my back than in the stroller. He really likes being carried sometimes, especially in crowded places or when he’s tired, and I think the sling will work better for me as it’s more comfortable for longer distances than our basic little umbrella stroller. Plus he’ll be able to watch the crowds.

So, we’re not packed, but we’ve got some toys and made some very important decisions.

Today or tomorrow is my last day at work… probably tomorrow since I’ll have still have some stuff to finish up. That gives me two days to pack and plan and make sure I don’t forget anything important like my driver’s license. It’s so quiet at work many of my colleagues have already left for the summer.

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17 June 2008 - Posted by | bug, family, giggle, tourism

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