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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting a Ride

Previous to moving to Egypt, my life in many aspects was quite simple. If I needed a carpet, I went and bought one. If I didn't like a piece of furniture, I took it to DI or listed it on Craigslist. If my faucet leaked, Brandon fixed it (or didn't). And if I needed to go to the airport, I called someone for a ride or just drove my car up there and, like the real adult I was, actually paid for long-term parking.

I leave for the US at 4:30 AM Tuesday morning (for those of you who were wondering, I took the Frankfurt route) and have to get from my apartment in Maadi to the airport about 30 minutes away. Previously this wouldn't have been a problem; we would have just called up a driver and arranged to have him pick us up and take us to the airport. Simple. All it took was money. Now, however, with two children, two car seats, two adults, a stroller, and four bags, those nice little Mitsubishi sedans that the private drivers pilot won't quite fit everything and everybody.

I was mentioning this fact several weeks ago to a friend, and she passed on the vital information that the Embassy provides transportation for any 'official' travel - and the Embassy has no small sedans in their fleet.

Armed with that knowledge, I did what every wife should do: I passed it on to Brandon and told him to take care of it. However, one week before our trip, Brandon still hadn't had time to ask the ten different people it took to find anything out.

Being a grown-up adult, I took matters into my own hands and, after telling the girls to be quiet because I was making phone calls, I started dialing numbers.

First I called the motor pool clerk. Oh, he told me, I needed to call the shuttle dispatcher. Then I called the shuttle dispatcher. No, no, he countered, I needed to call the travel office. Fighting the urge to give it up for another day, I called the travel office. We don't do that, I was told, you need to do that online. And how does one do that online? I asked. Well, we'll send you an email with instructions.

So, 30 minutes later I opened the email, followed the link, entered my magic code, and registered for the website. 30 minutes after that, I was told that the website had gotten my registration, but Cairo had to confirm it. So I waited. And waited. This morning (having called everyone yesterday morning), I called the travel office again. Oh, oh we'll get in touch with IT and they'll send you that email.

This afternoon, after no email, I called again. Oh yes, Mrs. Sherwood, there still hasn't been any email sent, but don't worry you still have until Monday to order the transportation. And how much notice do they need, I asked. 24 hours. Hm, Monday is too late then because I'm leaving at 4:30 AM, and that only gives you guys one more day to get things together.

I suppose in the end, maybe we can fit two adults, two children, two car seats, a double stroller and four bags in a Mitsubishi. Kathleen can always ride on top.


PaulaJean said...

At least you have nice Dodge Caravan waiting for you at the US end. And no tip required. Or expected.

UnkaDave said...

The riding on the top thing would certainly become a personal memory for Kathleen, and a good family story. Make sure there's a roof rack to which she can cling, and don't go so fast.

Latter-Day Guy said...

I just love a bureaucracy! Good luck with the trip!