elEven minutEs

We headed for the airport with five hours to spare and chilled in the lobby of the airport with our new Egyptian friends for an hour. We were eleven minutes late checking in for our flight to Nairobi and the ticket counter lady was stone walling us.
Initially, I believed that after serving others in the jungle and helping different organizations the time here in Africa might be less gratifying. Over the past week we have had numerous gratifying and meaningful interactions with the Egyptians and tourists alike in this country! Heidi and I have been blown away with the opportunities to share ourselves and our thoughts with people, at the same time receiving more than we could possibly give. In Aswan my huge obnoxious beard brought about an interesting conversation with a devout Muslim man and two days of apartment hunting with our brilliant friend Mason brought about several late nights discussing everything under the sun. We have been blessed and challenged beyond our expectations!

We decided to join the herds of tourists enjoying the Nile valley from the deck of a boat and so we boarded the vessel "The King Of The Nile" to travel up stream to Aswan. Three days of sheer bliss is actually much too generous but we soaked in the flavor of the valley and watched life pass by on the banks of the river that breathes life into this land. Having a place to store our gear for three days and meeting fellow adventurers and "soft" tourist was well worth the price and Aswan greeted us with open hands (asking for "baksheesh",tips, often : ) Two of our favorite days passed in Aswan starting with an idyllic feluca (sailboat) ride preceded by fierce haggling over the price. We asked them to take us across the river to a beautiful sand dune that we wished to jump down and it was all that we hoped for!

After playing with some kids in a Nubian village we sacked out for the night and slept fitfully for three hours until we were startled from our slumber by a knock at the door alerting us that our bus was about to leave for Abu Simbel, a famous ancient Egyptian temple. After three hours on the bus down to Lake Nasser we rubbed the sleep from our eyes and peared at the towering colossi of Ramses II. Two hours later we were herded back onto the bus for the long ride back. Still attempting to be the non-typical travelers we left the tour near the Aswan High Dam to float the Nile back to town. With five hours until our train was to take us to Cairo we plied the waters and pointed our bow down stream. Local feluca drivers exhibited the gamut of emotions, from cheering us on to one man trying to run me down, with two hours to spare we landed in Aswan and proceeded to prepare to leave. After a comical dinner party with fascinating fellow travelers Heidi and I ended up running down the platform to catch our train just in the nick of time.
After boarding the train we ended up sitting in the wrong seats on the train and had the greatest conversation and eventually two days with a local Egyptian woman named Monna! She literally took us under her wing and answered all of our ignorant questions about her culture, country, and politics and many other things besides. She treated us to lunch and an evening of conversation with her and her friend Muhamad. Her great sense of humor and intelligence won us over. We learned so much about her in such a short time and treated us like a true friend, thank you Monna!

So yes, we missed our flight by eleven minutes and now we are stuck in Cairo.
I think when we get to heaven God will say to Dave "Well done, you have used up the earth I gave you, you have gone and done as much as you possibly could!"

Karen Eubank

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