Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The arrival; or, chicken stuffed with hot dog and cheese

We have arrived. We left Harrisburg Airport at 4:15 pm on Monday and arrived at our new apartment at 4:00 am on Wednesday morning. In between, we visited the Detroit airport for 1 hour and Amsterdam for 12 hours.

We--along with a future colleague, his wife, and their two sons--were met at the Cairo Airport by an AUC expediter, whose job is to steer us through the airport. The airport was crowded and some of the lines were long; the expediter brilliantly walks around smiling and greeting officials and soldiers he knows, which magically seems to make everything run smoothly. He charms our way through immigration and customs. After collecting our bags, we got in an AUC van and received an envelope full of money. Even though it is an official settling-in allowance, I felt like I was in an episode of The Sopranos or something. Not a bad way to live.

We arrived at our new apartment at around 4:00am, where tired representatives of the AUC housing office greeted us. They gave us a quick tour of the apartment—keys, stove, air conditioners. They left us an inventory book which I have just begun to complete (does anyone know how to tell the difference between a “cooking pot-assorted” and a “casserole”?). There was food in the kitchen; I found a dinner in the freezer—frozen chicken patties. To be precise, according the package, it was “chicken stuffed with hot dog and cheese” (seriously). I fried it up (Jenna wasn’t hungry, plus she is a vegetarian). Not a bad 5am dinner. By the time we went to bed, we already heard the day’s first call to prayer and the sun had begun to rise.


Matt said...

Man, they certainly don't hand out envelopes full of money or chicken stuffed with hot dogs and cheese at CUNY!

I'm glad to hear that you're settling in, and I very much look forward to following your progress on the blog.

irad said...

At least they don't hand them out to you or me!