Monday, January 31, 2011

I Will Have to Visit Egypt Some Other Time

I am on my way out of the UAE - by early March.  I haven't traveled the Middle East while living in Abu Dhabi for almost a year now, as I would have liked.  I had planned to visit Egypt (Cairo and Alexandria) in mid-February to see its antiquities from the glory days of Egyptian civilization.  I was going to finalize my plans for plane tickets and accommodations by the end of this week.  I had already researched what sites to see and which tours to take.  It is not to be.

Due to the recent and still ongoing public demonstrations and protests against the regime in Egypt, and the concern of escalating violence, I had decided to forego the trip.  I don't think I have any other choice.  Most travel into Egypt have been restricted, and a lot of effort is now in place for several countries, including the US, to get their citizens out of Egypt.  I have other cities in the Middle East (Damascus and Aleppo in Syria, Amman in Jordan, and Muscat in Oman) I would like to visit, but with the uncertainty around the region, it probably is best not do it at this time.  I may just venture a little further out and visit Istanbul again, instead.

Speaking of further out -- I am scheduled to leave UAE after the first week of March.  I will be reporting to my new job in Seattle on 14 March.  I may have (I am hoping) about a week in between.  I am planning to stop and visit either London, Rome, Oslo, or Stockholm, on my way to Seattle from Abu Dhabi.  I have not been to Oslo or Stockholm, but early March is not the best time to visit these northerly latitude locations.  It has been more than 12 years since I visited London and Rome; it is time to revisit either of these locations.  Weather-wise, Rome has the edge over the other three cities during this time of the year.  Right now, Stockholm is my first choice, with London coming in second.  Selection will depend on flight schedule, ticket price, and hotel price.  If everything works out right, I should have about a week to explore the selected location which would allow some time for day trips outside the chosen city.

I have received the official offer (in writing) from Seattle District Corps of Engineers.  I am still awaiting my PCS (permanent change of station) orders from my current employer since they will be paying for the expenses on my way out.  Until I get this paperwork, I can't do anything as far as getting my household goods shipped and scheduling my flights back to Seattle.  In turn, I am not able to finalize any travel plans on my trip back to Seattle.

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