Sunday, June 3, 2012

5th Class Train Ride

For the Egypt train, there are first class, second class, and third class tickets. I had decided that second class was good for me, but I was not able to buy a ticket because they were sold out.  Walking around a bit confused, I was approached by a young kid just a few years past twenty offering help to me.  He speaks broken English and is so nice taking my hand and leading me like someone taking hold of a lost puppy dog.   He takes me to the counter to try and buy a ticket and says, "Buy ticket on train, no seat, no problem."

For 55 Egyptian pounds-to have no seat for 10 hours is a problem, but I figure that I could work something out on the train(Naive thinking as I should realize that I am in Egypt and not in India).  My little friend, Ahmed, is a Arabic singer from Cairo.  He says he is an upcoming, "Superstar" and plays his music for me.  He actually sounds quite good and I compliment him on his voice. He introduces me to his mom and brother who are also both heading back to Cairo.  We walk back and forth talking, drinking some mango juice, and waiting for the train to board. An hour goes by, then another hour, and the train has arrived, but it is just sitting in the station not moving. 

Still wondering about Mamoun and contemplating on staying, I sneak away from Ahmed and use the phone to call Mamoun.  I tell him, "I want to see you." He says to take a car back to the ferry, but I request for him to come and get me.  He says,  "I am busy wait two hours."

That was not the fairytale story I was hoping for ha! I was hoping he would say, "Yes, I will come get you now." But go figure I always meet the hott, unavailable, distant, aloof men. 
I am contemplating staying and decide it is time to flip the coin. I flip the coin and lands on "Leave to Cairo" five times in a row so I take that as a clear sign to go.  It was unclear because my intuition told me to go, but with all the train confusion I thought maybe I should just stay. 

With his aloof response, I decided to stick with my buddy Ahmed and board the train, which finally departed three hours later at 11:45pm.  It was quite the ordeal- switching the trains, unloading the cartel, and loading it on another.  While I was enjoying my time with Ahmed and his family, he soon became a bit annoying as he had changed his friendly manner.  He now decided that he was in love with me.  "Princess I love you." "Baby, I love you." With a dead IPOD, a Muslim man snoring in front of me, a pitched black window, and difficulty falling asleep-I was just sitting there stuck in this moment. 

After a few short hours in our seat, I was just starting to fall asleep when I was tapped on the shoulder and awoke to see  an overweight Muslim lady shouting at me, "Stand up", which sounded like the only two words that she knew.  I sadly stood up and began walking with Ahmed through the train all the way to the back where people were in the "in between" carts sleeping in random places and smoking. I was hopping over them and told Ahmed, "Please find us a seat." It felt like such a low moment for me. I should have not got on the train without a seat. 
Eventually, it was time to ditch Ahmed and just find my own seat because I was crabby and wanted to sleep. It was now 4am in the morning. Walking into the nice AC compartment, I decided to create a seat for myself behind the last seat.  This was actually not so uncomfortable, but most would not agree with a silver bar sitting in the middle and be cramming my butt in between the bar-I was surprised I could actually fit in this space-leave it to being resourceful. 

Unfortunately, Ahmed found me and he sat across from me behind the seat.  He just kept saying, "Baby, I'm sorry." I told him, "It is fine, please stop with the baby." He kept on so I just put my scarf on top of my head and dozed off for what felt like a total of ten minutes of sleep.  Another moment where I was thinking, "What am I doing?" Is this an adventure or just pathetic? But it really was not my fault there were no seats as I paid money to have a seat and thought one would come up. 
Sitting in this small crevice for 4 hours, one would think an Egyptian man would give up his seat.  "Dorothy is not in Kansas anymore."

Thankfully a seat opened up and I was able to sleep for a half an hour before arriving to Cairo.  Bye bye to Ahmed and back to Cairo to stay with my nice family before my next move....


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