The boy and I recently went to Egypt and we had an AMAZING TIME! (more on that later) But what some people don’t realize is that this trip was incredibly last-minute. I wasn’t going to go anywhere for October break. I originally planned on heading to Morocco to scout for the Raising Vagabonds trip there in March, but ended up sending someone else for me.
Then I was going to buy a car here in Addis, so I felt like I needed to stay in town to monitor that process. I didn’t want to be out of town when everything went through, so I made plans to just hang out locally.
However, in the 11th hour, I was convinced to book a trip to Egypt because the tickets were cheap and we found an amazing deal for an all-inclusive resort.
Here’s how it all went down:
Monday, October 9th:
I’m just minding my own business in my office and someone walks in to ask where I’m going for October break. This is pretty typical conversation this close to break time. Everyone is heading somewhere and some of us are still planning and curious as to where people are going. This is when the idea of Hurghada, Egypt is placed into my brain. They get on my computer and pull up booking.com and show me some resorts they were looking at and how cheap it was for an all-inclusive stay for the week.
The gears in my head are now turning and I think on it all day.
I also realize that my passport has less than 6 months validity, so I call the embassy to see if I could get by with 5 months validity. I can’t get through to anyone, not the US or the Egyptian embassies, and I send emails to try to figure out if I can make the cut. I also schedule an appointment for Wednesday to see about getting my passport renewed before the Saturday night flight. I don’t hear back from anyone.
Thinking on this incredibly cheap vacation, I can’t sleep and anxiously purchase my tickets at 5am. I end up booking them on Expedia, in hopes that if I am told I can’t get my passport renewed in this short window, then I could take advantage of their 24 hour refund policy and get my money back.
Anxiety on 100.
Tuesday, October 10th:
I head to work biting my nails wondering if I made a poor choice in buying the tickets. I open up my email around 9am and see an email from one of the head guys at the embassy telling me that “it shouldn’t be a problem” getting the passport for me. No worries.
I still call the embassy to make sure and I’m told that they should be able to issue an emergency passport if I can prove that I have a flight coming up soon. (Yay!) I don’t really sweat it for the rest of the day, but I book the resort just in case they raise the price or something.
I’m pretty chill for the rest of the day.
Wednesday, October 11th:
I wake up early to be at the embassy for my 8am appointment. I show up at 7:45 and I am the third one in line. Nervously waiting for someone to give me some good news, I strike up a conversation with others. There is a family with two small daughters who are in the same situation as me, but their daughter’s passport has completely expired. Both anxious of our chances to make our flights, we assess the possibilities and send up prayers for one another as they are called to the window.
A few moments later it’s my turn. I approach the window cautiously and prepare to tell the lady my sob story of needing to go on this vacation and how the tickets are already purchased. I tell her I need the passport for my flight on Sunday and she replied “Passports take 2-4 weeks” with a blank expression. I retort “Well I emailed [insert head guy’s name] and he said that you should be able to get me an emergency passport today”.
We sit this way for a moment. She taps the keyboard a few times. After what seems like an eternity of awkward silence she says “Ok, have a seat”.
I wait. And wait. And finish my coffees. And wait some more. Just as I feel the urge to pee, I’m called to the window!
So I talk to another person about my need to travel on Sunday and they just give me a paper and tell me to go pay the cashier. I pay the cashier and come back to the window and they tell me to come back after 3 that day to pick up my emergency passport.
I walk out of that place skipping with excitement and I come back at 2:45 to pick up my GLORIOUS passport to make our trip to Egypt that weekend.
Thursday, October 12:
I basically coast through the day because I’m excited to have gotten my passport with little-to-no drama. I have access to the world! I’m smiling and all is right with the world. I’m happy dancing all day long.
Friday, October 13:
Oh shit. I got the flights. I got the hotel. WTF are we gonna do when we get there? I frantically search places online to find things to do. I mean, we have a pretty decent resort that has TONS of things to do, but perhaps we should see the area while we are there.
All night I’m looking for things and eventually settle on a dolphin tour, a day trip to Luxor, and an ATV tour while we are there. Pretty dope, I have no idea what to expect but I’m gonna roll with it.
I got this.
Saturday, October 14:
Because I’m a procrastinator, I pack this day. Actually I pack later in the evening because the boy had soccer practice and then people want me to hang out and go to dinner. I go, despite having zero packing done. And I resist the urge to hang out later than I need to because I want to be a responsible adult and we need to head to the airport at 2am.
After dinner I go home and the boy is sleeping. Tired from the long day and socializing, I lie down for a “nap” around 10 after packing the boy’s clothes. I tell myself I am going to set an alarm to wake up at midnight. I wake up at 1:25 gasping and jumping up to frantically finish packing because I only told myself to set an alarm, but didn’t actually set one.
Or maybe I slept through it. *Kanye shrug*
I pack up the rest of my clothes, overpacking because that is what I do when I pack last-minute, (judge me not) and we dash out the door with only making the driver wait 20 minutes or so.
We make it to the airport with time to spare and relax for our red-eye flight to Cairo.
Sunday, October 15:
After much drama and antics, we finally make it to Hurghada, Egypt. We settle into the glorious hotel room and began our vacation. I began unpacking our belongings and while putting everything away I smile at how I pulled this thing off. Impressed, I say to myself “You are pretty awesome, Elmeka. You not only got a really good deal on the flights, but the hotels and activities, too. You ROCK!”
Basking in my dopeness, I look down at our things and realize I forgot to pack the toothbrushes.