January 2nd 2010
Up early again, packing, grabbing a quick bite, by passing security again in order to get to the mural for a final interview, and then to the Commodore hotel to catch the bus back to Cairo. Stop. There is a mess going there again, talking talking talking, discussing discussing and arguing again. Some want to stay behind. Hamas wants us out. Egypt says we can stay. Hamas wants us out; Hamas says they will close the border to all, even Palestinians even if Egypt let it be open unless we all leave. Still some want to stay. They do not even have the good sense to go to their hotel rooms and stay quite, to just get out of view somewhere.
Our bus sat there full of people waiting to leave while Hamas argued and tried to get these people on the bus. Finally we leave, an hour later than we wanted to.
The Raffah crossing, hurry up! Wait, wait, ok now, we move foreword, oh, no not yet, sit down again we must wait, have patience. Ok let’s move! Now stand in this line, now fill out this form, Ok turn in your passport, on, no wait, you did not pay for you visa, go stand in that line and bring me the receipt. Ok, now you wait again. You might be bringing back swine flu, we cannot have that, now you must all line up so that we can take your temperature, you seem healthy, good go sit over there. Yes, yes your passport is clear head towards that door there, we walk down this very long hall there is sun light streaming in the doors at the end, I am almost out the door, I can see my bus, the one that will take me to the airport, No. Stop, you must pay another fee. Ok, now y9ou can go. Opps you got on the wrong bus, go over there. Finally on the road, never mind that we go only 500 feet before we stop again at a check point, slowly move through security, we will move again soon, I hope. And so we do.
For awhile we are moving. 5 French women on the bus that needs to go quickly to the airport (for me and Bill we have the earliest flight out) really want to go back to Gaza. Why didn’t they just stay? Th4ey want to get off at the Swiss Inn in El Arish, take the very long way around the town, we miss El Arish all together, they are not going to get off at the Swiss Inn. This does not suit them so one of them pretends to be having a severe asthma attack. She is doing a very good job with this act; I know it is an act because she has told us that this is what she plans to do if they do not get off t the Swiss Inn. She is so convincing she has the guards very alarmed. We stop at the next check point, she swoons out of the bus and her friends follow her carrying all of their luggage. A scene is about to start, I am so tired and so angry I flee to the back of the bus crying because what I really want to do it fly out the door of the bus and tell these selfish women to get back on the bus.
The pretender gets hauled away in an ambulance an hour after she starts her act. All of us on the bus except the French are angry with her. We all hope that she gets charged a lot of money for her ambulance ride to the hospital. The French are laughing, Tighe has had it and explodes telling them that no one else thinks it is funny and that if we miss our flights he is going to make them get off the bus at the airport and find their own taxi back in to Cairo. They laugh at that too.
Sitting at the back of the bus turns out to be a good thing, we get to chat with some people we did into spend any time with on the trip. It is not really that surprising that we don’t know too many people, we’ve been at the mural site the whole time and making friends of the Gazans. Lots of time to draw sleeping people, which is a challenge on a fats moving bus, but now I have an excuse for funny drawings.
We’re at the Cairo Airport now, it’s the 3rd of January, but it will still be the 3rd when we get home. Can’t wait to get there!