All The Moving Pieces Have to Fit

I walked through Amsterdam Schiphol thinking about the lounge and that perhaps I should just go there and start nursing a cappuccino. Seven hours would be a long wait, but at least I would have a comfortable seat and some food. The airport wasn’t very busy – none of them are right now, and I felt no rush given the long wait until my next flight.

I’d had a plan to sleep a few hours at the Yotel, which sits inside security for passengers with long layovers, but they closed for cleaning so that fell plan fell through. I looked into the Mercure Hotel, which also offers rooms inside the secure zone, but they seemed to have no availability.

As I wandered, sleep deprived after my long flight from Detroit, I saw the sign for the Mercure and decided to check anyway.

As it turns out, they had a room available for 6 hours. It wasn’t cheap, but I desperately needed the sleep – or will soon. So I paid at the desk and stepped into the small room for a fitful daytime slumber in a room dark as a tomb.

I showered about an hour before boarding and headed out, stopping in the lounge for a cappuccino (two, to be exact) and discovered that there were beds there as well. I thought I had looked on the website, but … well … we move on.

Speaking of tombs, I haven’t yet told you where I’m going. As I write this I’m seated in seat 11K of a KLM Boeing 777-200 bound for Cairo. I have wanted to visit Egypt for a long time now, and had a credit leftover from my canceled trip to Porto, so decided it was time.

This isn’t the trip I initially imagined for Egypt because it’s a weird year for me at work. I have meetings every Thursday morning that require a lot of preparation, and I have made a commitment to be present for all of those meetings. As a result I flew out last night (Thursday night) and will return next Wednesday. All of this translates to 4 full days on the ground, and that’s not a lot of time.

There are still a lot of moving pieces to travel during a pandemic and I’m still worried that some of them could create a problem. Egypt requires either a negative COVID test stamped by the lab or proof of vaccination with QR code to enter. These are both problematic. Our labs in the U.S. don’t stamp results and our vaccine cards don’t have QR codes.

I’ve done a bit of reading online and am holding fast to my hope that neither of these will be problems, as people report generating acceptable QR codes with an app, and they also report that lab results have been accepted without a stamp. Still, when the Delta agent checking me in asked for the embossed lab report, I got a bit nervous. So now I’m taking my final comfort in the fact that I haven’t heard of anybody being turned away at the border.

Butterblogger is back, my friends, and I am on my way to Cairo. I have my proof of vaccination, my negative PCR, my iPad, my camera, a handful of masks, and a lot of optimism.

Very late tonight I will arrive in Egypt, where the Nile slices through the Nubian Desert. Where in ancient times the Pharaohs lived as kings and died as gods. Where so much of our early ancient history still stands in shattered but breathtaking glory. I overnight in Cairo, and tomorrow I will be in Luxor.

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