Flybabes, I walked into Egypt. Yea, you read that correctly — I walked. Let me start from the beginning.
I recently booked a trip to Israel (more on that later) and decided I should totally hop into Egypt and check out the pyramids since I’d be so close. Apparently, other people have had thought the same, because a one-day tour from Tel Aviv to Cairo exists! I was ecstatic when I found this single-day tour on Tourist Israel.
The tour advertises that they pick you up from your hotel in the late evening and drive you through the night all the way to Cairo, where you spend the day visiting the pyramids and checking out a couple of other Egyptian gems. How dope does that sound?!
But. This is actually how it went down…
I booked the tour for me and my mom, FlyMom S, and was promptly sent an email explaining how we’d have to take a half hour flight from Tel Aviv to Eilat, Israel. From there a van would pick us up and drive us to Egypt.
When the day came FlyMom S and I waited for our van which was picking us up at 9 pm on the dot. An hour later, we were still waiting as a taxi pulled up explaining that he was picking up two women. Well, that can’t be us, we’re waiting for a van. Wrong. After another 40 minutes or so of calling the tour’s informational number, we found out that the cab was indeed for us. Apparently, the taxi driver was to pick us up and drop us off at the Taba Border, where we were to walk across into Egypt and hop in a tour van waiting for us on the other side.
(Looking back, it makes sense since Israeli’s cannot just drive into Egypt — duh. But at the time…)
After our taxi driver warned us that Egypt would look nothing like Israel, advised us to take pills to make it through our trip, explained not to fret the intimating glares from various, stone-faced men, and wished us luck, we were on our own.
So FlyMom S and I linked arms, put on our best brave faces, and walked across the desolate border.
Once we made it to the passport check a gentleman standing off to the side asked me to go over to him, which I was hesitant about. Then, he asked, “Why do you look scared?”
So what did I do? I channeled my inner Marty McFly from Back to the Future. When called a “chicken,” Marty would do anything to prove he wasn’t. And that night, that was me.
So I walked over to the man who was asking me if I was from Ibiza. Ah, no. That settled that. He was not looking for me. So I walked back to FlyMom S, who was holding our place in line. The guy, who began making phone calls, beckoned me to walk over to him again. Turns out, he was waiting for us, and the whole “Ibiza” thing was a mixup. I know what you’re probably thinking. “What a mess! That sounds sketchy AF.” And you’re right. It was definitely not so great up until that point.
But we were undeterred, so the man walked us the rest of the way and up to the transport van. Now, this wasn’t at all the van we imagined. It was a small van with three rows — two of which were already taken by two ladies that were also taking this one-day tour with us. So FlyMom S and I had to share a row with one another — and attempt to find a comfortable position to sleep.
The drive was incredible — visually at least. We were kind of squished and had limited leg space, but that view. If I added up every star I had seen in my life up until that point, that number wouldn’t be anywhere close to the number of stars I saw that night. The sky was full… so full that I even saw stars at eye level. Being a city girl, I couldn’t stop marveling at the vastness of it all.
Fast forward 10 hours and we finally reached Cairo.
To be continued…here