After updating our status, writing emails, and checking the bank, we headed back to the hostel. John Pex (the owner of the hostel) was holding a bible study with a group in the outdoor living area when we walked through the gate. He yelled out a greeting and asked how I was feeling.
I then realized he hadn't seen me since I had asked for his help to cancel my reservations to Jerusalem earlier that week. I was feeling amazingly better, except for a nagging cough.
I asked for directions to the Egyptian consulate, and a Swiss girl at the hostel said she was headed that way herself and knew the exact location. We walked together up the street and she told me she was engaged to one of the Sudanese refugees who worked at the hostel. She wanted to take a bus to Cairo to buy a wedding dress. Unfortunately, her fiance didn't have a passport, so couldn't join her.
I regretted at that moment for not taking pictures of the wedding dresses my daughter and I had passed up daily while staying at the Brother's Hostel in Cairo. Strangely, in that old Yacoubian building, there was a wedding store we'd pass on the 3rd floor while climbing down the flight of stairs from our hostel. (We were always looking for excuses to not take the elevator!) How I wish I took those pictures. Our Swiss friend, Jasmine felt the same way.
She was going to take the same Delta bus system like we did round trip to buy a dress. I marveled at her determination to travel so far alone just for a gown.
It was a beautiful day, and flowers were in full bloom.
We arrived at the consulate and filled out paperwork and handed over our passports, and a small passport sized photo. (Thankfully, I had brought extra photo's on our trip for this exact reason.)
Our Swiss friend was a bit disgruntled that she had to pay 100LE for her Visa, and we American's were only charged 60LE! She muttered that the Egyptians must think Swiss are very rich. I told her, of course, because we American's keep all our money in SWISS bank accounts!
After we got our visa's, Jasmine headed back to the hostel, while Pamela and I walked further up the path to explore a grocery store.
I couldn't resist buying all the trimmings to make fresh popcorn back at the hostel. I popped every last kernel that night, and shared it with everyone in the hostel. We all sat around in the living area visiting and making plans for the following day. Some friends we had made from South Africa were headed for Timnah Park.
I had always wanted to go there and had done some research on the place before we had taken the trip. This is where King Solomon's mines are. The hard part about going there is that a cab wouldn't be sufficient. We'd need to rent a car to drive the area. Our South African friends had made prior arrangements with a cab driver to be their guide for the day for 500 shekels. This was more than I was willing to pay for a guide when I could get a rental car for less than half. I was just worried about liability issues.
Our Texas friend Darlene said she'd be willing to come along for the ride, and split the cost.
Before we retired that night, I decided to skip the rental car and to do something different.
Maybe we'd go to that alligator farm I had read about, or maybe go ride camels....
Gotta ride a camel at least ONCE while in the Middle East, right?!