Woke up for the last time as the bus was entering Cairo. We got dropped off earlier than expected and easily caught a taxi to our hotel. The hotel had a room available and as the sun was rising I crawled into bed for a couple more hours of sleep! The highlight of the day was definitely the shower - good pressure, plenty hot, and freshwater! It's the first time in over a month that I've had a fresh water shower - I'd forgotten how much soap lathers.
Knowing where I was going this time I hiked the fifteen minute walk to the FedEx office to pick up my returned H/PC. This being Egypt nothing is allowed to be easy so it should have been expected - they've moved the office. The doorman doesn't speak English, but he writes down the address in Arabic and then flags down a taxi and negotiates for me. A very interesting forty minute drive later gets me to the new office in Heliopolis. The drive took me through some of the worst and ritziest parts of Cairo I've seen. It also took me around the Citadel and the City of the Dead - so I had lots of history too. At the new office they were open and had my device ready. The only drawback was that I had to pay duty - even though I'm taking the computer out of the country tomorrow.
Since I was in Heliopolis I decided to find the main Emirates Airline office instead of going to the satellite office at the Marriott. Unfortunately no one knew where the office was, but then I remembered that the tourist office had written the address down for me in Arabic on my map. I found the address and asked the woman at FedEx to confirm it was for Emirates and in Heliopolis. Easily caught a taxi and was on my way again. Another longish taxi ride got me to the Emirates embassy - not the airlines. I had found the wrong address! Plus since it was Friday the embassy is closed. After a lot of discussion I give up and direct the driver to the Marriott on Zamaleck island (near downtown) where I know there is an Emirates office.
At the Marriott I wander around until I find signs for Emirates Airline and start following them - but they lead in a circle! I finally find someone to ask and am told that the office has moved outside the hotel. Another taxi ride gets me to the offices but they're closed too. The boy at the door didn't speak English so he takes me up to someone in the office can find out when they're going to open. The boy got yelled at, but I found someone who could help. The poor guy had come in on his day off to get caught up and he has to deal with me. To my relief my flight did get changed so I have a flight to Dubai tomorrow and a flight on to Bangkok a week later. Unfortunately the guy told me that it's unlikely they'll give me a visa at the airport - or if I'm lucky a three day transit visa days is all that is possible. He suggests I beg and then adjust my ticket depending on what they give me. Since they probably won't let me on the airplane tomorrow as my tickets were, he also adds a reservation for a flight to Bangkok a few hours after I arrive tomorrow morning - so if I get denied entry to Dubai I'll just continue on to Thailand...
Meet up with Stacy and go for a disappointing fast food lunch. Drop my H/PC off at the hotel then headed for Khan el Khali (the old bazzar). Spent the evening wandering around and Stacy bought a couple souvenirs but I just couldn't get in to it. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow. At the internet cafe I downloaded a ton of software to restore my H/PC with and went shopping for a lens to replace the one that broke in Malawi - I'd just realized that my parents could bring it with them when I meet them in Thailand.
Just after midnight and before Stacy was going to head for the airport I turned on my phone. Stacy was worried about having problems since her visa expired a few days ago and wanted to be able to call if she needed help. Minutes after I turned the phone on I got a call! It was my friend Susie from Sydney. The Irony is that the only other call I've gotten was also in the middle of the night from another friend right when Stacy got here from the airport. Weird. Anyway I had a quick chat with Suz then said goodbye to Stacy. I stayed up very late getting my computer back to usable shape and the getting some of my journal ready to be published on the web tomorrow.