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All that is really necessary for survival of the fittest, it seems, is an interest in life, good, bad or peculiar -- Grace Paley

>> 12 January 2010

Do you like to travel?

Do you like to surround yourself with different cultures and surroundings that are completely unfamiliar to you?

Do you go on an 'all is taken care of'' trip or do you prefer to do it on your own and get some 'couleur locale'?

We recently went on a one week all inclusive and all taken care of trip to Egypt.

Usually we are not fans of group all inclusive tourism. But we wanted guaranteed sun (it hardly ever rains in Egypt), a not too long flight (4,5 hours direct), easy entertainment for the kids and some activities for the adults (aquapark, pools, beach, spa, diving school).

So we made an exception and chose a ready made package from the catalogue.

Of course you do not get to see anything of the local culture. You are bussed off to your hotel and don't come out of it until you leave again.

I did get a glimpse of the 'real thing' though by passing through the airport.

We arrived in a packed and hot arrival hall with many counters but no clear indication of who had to go where. The hall was filled with mainly Italians and their shouting and gestures.

The guide steered us through the crowd to the back of one counter shouting for our passports and the little papers we had filled out on the plane.

Big mess, heat, whiny kids. It wasn't a joy. And we just wanted to get this over with as soon as possible and get to our hotel.

Finally we get our visa and go to passport control. Our two boys have dual nationality and have both their own passport but are also in my passport. The passport control guy looked at us and asked to see the 3 kids.


Ah yes, the picture of our oldest is not the same in his passport than in mine. Confusion, clarification. We pass.

Next stop, another guy to check all the pages of all the passports for stamps or visa's. Why? No idea.

Finally we get to the bus and from there to the hotel.

On the way back the scenario was very similar. The intercom announces your flight at gate 4 and when you get there some guy tells you that of course you should not listen to it and go to gate 2, leading to some 300 people shoveling from one side of the hall to the other with luggage and screaming kids and confusion.

Over all this hang clouds of smoke because of course, they have never heard of any anti-smoke laws here yet.

I had to smile. I travel quite a bit for work and you get used to all sorts of situations that are beyond your control. So you just go with the flow and accept the things which you cannot change.

When you have two small kids though, it becomes a whole different ballgame.

It brings out the mother lion instinct in a woman.

Your kids are whiny, tired, hot, thirsty, need to pee, want to eat, run off to discover the other side of customs.

It makes you want to hit people.

It makes you push in front of people to get past passport control faster.

A kind of survival of the fittest comes to mind.

Funnily enough, I have only seen the women do that.

The men are either lost, or on the other side of the hall to get water/food/the kid to pee/a guy to get them through faster...

What behavior brings travel into foreign countries out in you?


Lance 13 January 2010 at 22:13  

Sounds like it was a challenging day Mimi! The rest was probably all awesome though!

Reminds me of a time when we traveled to Jamaica. A plane malfunction from the US to Jamaica=delay. Long lines at customs. Of course, we chose the longest line. A long bus ride to our destination on the island. A call from our kids (back home) that there was no adult figure at home with them when they arrived home from school (he showed up shortly thereafter). I am soooo glad we didn't have kids along on that trip - yikes!!

You are a brave woman (and adventurous!!) - which I think is awesome!!

Mindful Mimi 16 January 2010 at 12:39  

@ Lance: there was indeed a point in Egypt when I thought we should have left the kids at home :-) Upon our return, the school was not so happy that I had forgotten to tell them Loic wasn't attending school that week... Oh well. Brave, adventurous but not always so well organised. There are worse things though... :-)

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