Monday, February 21, 2011

Airports and Airplanes and Egypt

I suppose I could blog about Switzerland.

But I kinda forgot what I did there haha hmm.

Well then let’s talk about airport and airplanes and whatnot!

I hate traveling by planes. I wish every place in this world could be reached by cars alone. Imagine a world where every continent is connected by humongous bridges - no I can’t imagine that.

My father even suggested to my mother, “Let’s go to Dubai! By car!”

And my mother answered, “Yeah and how many days will it take for us to reach there?”

“No problem, we can do a lot of sight-seeing.”

“You’re exhausted just by going to (insert place here) for one day, and you’re expecting to drive all the way there for days? I can’t imagine that at all.”

Yeah, I can’t imagine going to Dubai either.

I was supposed to go to Egypt this year. We’d planned among the Malaysian Community to go there and visit the historical sites, renting tour guides and bus and things needed for traveling. But most of us backed out on the last minute because their son/daughter/sister’s (in my case, sister) international school decided to hold their examination on that week. That’s weird you know, because by standard, it was a holiday week in Saudi Arabia, but their school decided to, “Oh let’s be different and torture our students by conducting examinations on that holiday week HAHAHA.”

Pfft. Whatever. So I spent that holiday week in my house, while some others went on a Saudi Arabia tour, some of them went to Egypt, and some went back to Malaysia.

Suddenly, that holiday week happened to be the week of the Egyptian’s riot.

It’s a blessing in disguise! For us, that is. This exam thing. Here I was, in Saudi Arabia, perfectly comfortable and happy, while across the red sea, they were protesting and sacrificing their lives for the good of their country.

Not to mention, the uncle and aunt and their daughter who decided to go to Egypt despite the riot were held back in the airport due to the curfew. And the flight was even delayed for eight hours before that! Imagine that, held back in Saudi for hours, then rode the plane, and finally were held back in Egypt for a whole lot more hours of painful waiting.

They were actually there because of their children, not the pyramids, of course. All of them, (with the exception of one who’d graduated and went back to Malaysia) studied there, and apparently the cost of food is so high the parents brought a lot of food from Saudi for their sake. We knew beforehand that the Tunisian’s riot was pretty bad itself, but Bin Ali stepped down fairly easily, so we didn’t think that Hosni Mubarak would be that stubborn.

We were wrong.

They were held back in the airport because of the curfew, and they could only meet their children the next morning. Imagine sleeping on the hard cold airport’s floor all night, and I don’t even know how Egypt’s airport looks like! And desperation calls for desperate needs, there aren’t any food left in the airport, and there was only one person who sells tea, a cup of tea for 12 Egyptian Dollars! Can you imagine that?

Examination. Blessing in disguise.

Thankfully, they met their children, planned to come back with them to Jeddah (the Malaysian government gave the students free tickets from Cairo to Jeddah), but the airline system wasn’t that efficient, they were on the waiting list for days, until the uncle decided to have a word with the people in charge, and finally, they’d acquired a ticket back home.

And you think everything would be fine.

Yes, I guess the nightmare is over. (although I’m not sure how bad the situation is, according to the students, apparently it’s not as gruesome as some media portrayed it to be, I don’t know)

(but if the prisoners are no longer held captive then it is gruesome in my book!)

But their hostel in Jeddah is utter chaos, apparently. (taking their words directly. I didn’t go there. I don’t go anywhere, really!)

(Because there was a huge flood in Jeddah.)

(That’s another thing to consider.)

The hostel, prepared by the Malaysian Consulate, was a building specifically for Hajj pilgrims to rest before continuing their journey. And because of that, you can expect that the building is more or less abandoned, with dead mice, and dust bunnies, and things like that, as it was only used once a year.

And, there are a lot of students being flown from Cairo to here.

You can probably sleep on the floor, but what about food though? Bathroom? So on and so forth?

I guess the uncle’s family is fortunate enough that they could go to their family house and rest there instead, eat their mother’s cooking and sleep on a comfortable bed. But the rest of the students aren’t that lucky.

Waiting for the next flight to Malaysia, stepping on Saudi Arabia’s soil but not going to Mecca or Medina, wondering what their future will be, how long will their universities be closed, what will happen to Egypt in general…

All the while sitting at the corner of the room in the same clothes you wore yesterday in Cairo.

Where was I?

Oh yeah! I was supposed to talk about airports and airplanes and whatnot.

I’ll continue about that in another post. :D

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