Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy New Year!

Around 8 o'clock on New Year's Eve, the evening of our first full day in Egypt and the day before our tour officially started, the front desk rings up informing Andy and I that we are invited to a complimentary dinner at 10. So we troop downstairs two hours later, still in clothes rumpled from travelling to Alexandria during the day, to check it out...

And wouldn't you know we were greeted by a tuxedoed waiter who checked our name off a list and ushered us into an extravagantly decorated dining room.

Our tour group, Trafalgar, failed to tell us that they had made us reservations at the big New Year's Eve bash the hotel threw. They likewise failed to tell us that it was a formal event and that everyone else was dressed in suits and evening gowns...Did I mention that I had spilled some yogurt on my cardigan at breakfast, forgotten about it and wore it again? New rule: Don't wear breakfast to dinner.

So all the people look so elegant and ritzy and the waiters are at their shmooziest and the room is full of weird shellfish appetizers and fruits and vegetables that are carved into birds and fish and flowers and whanot. And let me tell you, this is exactly the kind of event YOU CAN NOT BRING ME TO. I can barely walk a straight line on a flat surface without falling flat on my face and probably taking half the wait staff out with me. And I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get all the little fancy shmancy finger foods from the platter onto my plate with the big spoons they provide because, for goodness sakes, it's called finger food for a reason, it's not designed to stay on a spoon! But, to my credit, it was NOT me who collapsed the pyramid of oranges... It was just me who stood there dumbly with one hand hovering uselessly instead of actually helping the poor guy catch them. Woops.
So the waiter leads me and Andy to a cozy little table-for-two with our name on it...Well, incidentally Trafalgar's motto is "Rediscover the Romance of Travel" and since as siblings Andy and I have the same last name, people generally assumed we were married. We took one look at this table and both lost it. Between all the gaudy decorations and overdressed guests it was like being at Prom. When I could finally stop laughing long enough to speak, I told Andy, "Well I'm pretty sure no one else is on a date with their brother tonight..."

The night ended up being fantastic. We drank red wine (I'm not a big fan, but I felt very sophisticated) and ate the weird little appetizers (felt more confused than sophisticated) while we watched a belly dancing show. The dancer counted down to midnight in Arabic and everyone went wild. I've never been in a group larger than 5 people for New Year's Eve, so it was fun to be part of the melee.

I'm so excited for all the things 2011 will bring- the remainder of my time in Ghana, my reunion with all my family and friends, my first semester at NMU.

But even without all that to look forward to, I'm pretty sure New Year's Eve in Cairo is something I'd never forget!

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