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Day 1
Sunday, 30th of July

I went to the airport at about 1:00 PM, where actually my flight was scheduled at 3:50 PM on Alitalia. That was not my first time to travel this year. In fact, it was the 3rd visit to Cairo Airport in less than 2 months!! Yet, this time was different as you will see!

I stood in front of Alitalia desk, and I gave them my ticket and passport to check in. I knew that I will look suspicious with my passport that has a 5 days visa to Italy (only 5 days!), and one way ticket as well. Moreover, I had no proof for the fact that I was supposed to join the ship except for the fax that I received from the institute of shipboard education.

The lady of Alitalia looked at my passport, and to the one way ticket. Then, she looked at me in a stupid way saying: "I am sorry! We cannot give you a seat because you have a one way ticket, and your visa will expire in 5 days!!" So, I opened my handbag, which had all the required papers and faxes. I gave her the fax, and she went to her boss, and after a 5 minutes chat with him, she came back asking: "So..you want a smoker or a non-smoker seat?!!"

So, the first problem was solved pretty peacefully. I went inside the free zone, and prayed the noon and after noon prayers in the mosque. Then, I waited for the call of the plane. Since this is Alitalia, the plane which was scheduled to be at 3:50 PM actually made it at 4:40 PM! Even EgyptAir never made it that way!

Something funny happened while I was waiting. I always heard how the Italian men are fond of harrassing girls!! :) Plus, I had a good idea how pretty the Italian women are in fact!! So, when the crew of the plane was taking its way, I noticed how the Italian young male passangers were having malice smiles at the crew, because I must say that they were all well-selected Italian girls--with micro skirts!

Anyway, the flight went ok! I was really glad to find a notice on the food that was written in 5 languages that the food is pork-free! I really liked this! The flight took about 3 hours, and maybe slightly more. It was great seeing Europe again for the second time this year!

The airport of Rome is called Leonardo Da Vinci or Fuimicino! I don't know why that second name! The second problem was about to happen in the airport! I left the airplane, and I could not identify where to go to pick my bag! I was really afraid to find somebody else from the Italian police asking me about my return ticket or so! Anyway, I went to a completely different way. I returned back, and they asked me what happened. I told them that I could not identify the way out of the airport. Anyway, I went to find that my bag was the only one remaining on the belt!! :))

I grabbed it, and took my way out to find an Italian robot from the travel agency that semester at sea deals with in Italy. Why the man was a robot is anothe story! I tried to speak English with him, yet I received no reply! So, I thought about making it in French, still no reply!!! Anyway, it seemed to me that he was programmed in Italian! Since for  myself "no parlo italiano!" was an important Italian phrase to know, I prefered to use the body language to know from him how long it is from the airport to Civitavecchia!!

8:00 PM Italy Local Time: From the first glance, Civitavecchia seemed to me as what any important city on the Midterrenean looks like. It actually looks like Alexandria, but with some small differences of course. I spotted McDonald's and pizza shops! So, we arrived to the ship and the Italian robot spoke his first word in front of the ship which was actually nothing but: " OK!", which meant in fact here is the ship, take you bag and bye bye!!!

I went inside, where the guy on the ship looked into my bag. Then I entered to the purser's desk, where I checked in, and gave them my passport. Then, they led me to my room afterwards. While I was waiting, I met the first friend on board, who was Ernest..a friendly gentleman who is majoring in Liberal arts.

The room was fine. I spent some time arranging my stuff inside it. I then decided to go around to discover the ship. It was almost 9:00 PM, and it was getting dark. Still, I went around and met some sailors. I was surprised when one of them told me that they got about 19 sailors and staff members who are Egyptians! That was great for me because I spent a long time in Austria (45 days) speaking all in English, and some German words that I learnt. I made fun of most of them, that when they approach me, I smile, so they say: "Hello", but I reply in Arabic saying: "Assalamu alaykum!"..and so they get really glad..an Egyptian.yeah!! :)) Then, I went with them to their rooms, where they told me that they intend to go for a while in the city. I went with them, and I had lots of fun in fact!

All of them were really funny, and most of them were called Mohammad!! Except for Nader maybe and another Ragab! Yet, all of them were from Port Said..except again for Nader who was from Ismailiyya! We went to the city of Civitavecchia together, where I phoned my family to tell them that I am fine. We returned back on the bus that was provided for the ship at 11:30 PM. In the bus, I met other students, and I remember from them Michael(?) who spent good time in Israel, and he knows quiet a good number of Arabic bad names!! I met Anna; a very nice young American student who intends to be a teacher. I met Jason, who does Biblical studies. That was all for that night I assume!

I went back to my room (PS 30), and slept at about 12:30 AM.


Day 2
7 Days with SAS