Day 8 Of 7 - Out Of Africa
We grabbed a cab, and it drove us through Talat Harb Square (surprise) back to the apartment. Lebowski was moving out and leaving the country about two weeks after I was, and so we both ransacked the apartment looking for something to bring home to prove we were there. I stole some coins and a copper off-brand Zippo with a semi-nude Egyptian goddess on it. I say semi because she may have been completely nude, but was only visible from the waist up. Semi-present, possibly nude Egyptian goddess. If you go back to the entry where I describe the place, you'll see a small square painting on the wall of a guy with big eyes... I wish I'd gotten that. But it's still there. Oh well... like Maude says, I'll always know where it is.
Grabbed some baid for breakfast, and palmed the Coke bottle with the Arabic script on it. Yeah, I know everyone has one of those, but I actually went there to get mine. Cabbed it to the airport, and Lebowski saw me to the terminal, where we both exacted promises from each other to not be strangers for 13 years again. It's at this point that I have to thank Lebowski publicly for being a cool guy. Not only was he nifty enough to be in Cairo, he put me up for a week, and I know people who wouldn't do that after not having seen me for like a month. I wouldn't say I have friends in high places, but I sure do have some high friends in places. Wait... that didn't come out right.
Well, actually, maybe it did.
Story time. When I, as an airline employee, travel, I call ahead and put myself on the list, so that when I get there, they let me through security because I'm on the list. Failing that, I show them my ID card. Now that I've been through this story, I can authoritatively state that this is the way it works in America, and by implication imply that it works entirely differently in another country. I get to the checkpoint, and tell them I'm on the list. The Egyptian security guy says no, I'm not on the list. I show him my ID card. What is that, he asks me. And there I am, with my one flight that day leaving in an hour, stuck outside of security with my baggage now inside security. I'm not going to explain how I did what I did, because a) you might try it, and b) I'm not even sure how I did it, but I got through security. I will say though that there was a moment where I had a really clear vision of an Egyptian prison cell, made all the more accurate a vision by my accomodations of the last three days. But they bought it, and I got in. That's not a ding on Egyptian security, mind you... I'm just that good. The ding is that they took my Coke bottle and my nail clippers, but left me my aerosol bug spray can and my semi-present goddess lighter.
Got on the plane, and twenty minutes later, I took that nap I should have taken on the bus where that moron was baying and shoe-banging. And ten hours later I was in New York.
Actually, it was ten hours and another two hours... the two hours being the delay getting out of Cairo that cost me my ride to SLC by about a minute and a half. Luckily, I have more high friends in places, these particular friends being college buddies from Louisiana who moved to N.Y., and so I took the subway to their place. Now I've been to New York before, and have even been on the subway, but never by myself, and I got lost several times. I don't remember if you remember the hoopla a few months back about the Grand Theft Auto game that was just released, but it's based on a really detailed fictional New York called Liberty city, and it's so detailed that once I started to navigate like I was playing the game, I started getting places. Ended up at the Jefferson Street station in Brooklyn, which is where the crew lives. Jonathan met me downstairs, apologizing. "Sorry, man, our place is a wreck. We just lost power and there's no air conditioning." As we laughed about the old days inside, I noted it was a lot like Cairo.
Jonathan is part of a N.Y.-based comedy group called The Happy Workers, which is funny as all hell. He told me that he'd kill me in my sleep if I didn't mention that here (except for the hell part, because he's religious). They're currently working on Season Two, which means they've disbanded and all moved on to new projects. The project he's moved on to is an N.Y.-based variety show called Jefferson Street. Now, I'm gonna run the warning flag up right now; THW is uniformly dark, but Jefferson Street is rated IVAAGO for Intermittently Vile As All Get Out. Most of it is for general audiences, but there are a few sequences almost too biological to watch. You have been warned... now go check it out. And stay tuned to find out if I make it back home tomorrow.