Spanky and Captain M saw me off to my three a.m. flight.
"You never know what will happen," said Captain M. "Maybe they will send you back in a week. Maybe you will not even make it home from Spain."
Well, that seems unlikely. We said goodbye, and I felt like a harlot hugging the boys in public on the Cairo street. I forgot to ask if it was against the rules during Ramadan, but then, to hell with people thinking I'm a harlot. By their standards, I am. I yam what I yam. Marie the Infidel Tramp. Whatever.
At the airport, a thug in a uniform threw my Ramadan lantern onto the x-ray machine belt along with heavy bags.
"No, you'll crush it!" I protested in horror.
He then asked me for money.
I checked in, then sat miserably picking at the thin metal strips of my Ramadan lantern. The one Spanky-Mohamed bought for me. I didn't exactly resurrect it, but I didn't have the heart to throw it away either. Anyway, there were no trash cans at Cairo airport. Possibly a security thing.
The Ramadan lantern is currently in a luggage locker at Barcelona airport, along with the wheeled duffel I bought in this very city in January.
At Milan Malprensa (a overcrowded airport, one of my least favorites with its only redeeming feature being the availability of pizza for breakfast), I sipped a cappuccino while standing. There were no trashcans here either, so everyone put their napkins and emptied sugar packets into dirty coffee cups. I watched as an older Italian man strolled over and threw his rubbish into a full cup of coffee that a Japanese businessman had been drinking. The Japanese guy was a good sport about it.
In Barcelona, my apartment wasn't ready, so I ended up in the owner's personal apartment. I dropped off my luggage and wanted nothing more than a shower, a chance to do my laundry, and a nap. But the cleaner was still working on the flat. Grimy from sleeping on the plane and still in my sweaty clothes that I'd carried bags in, I wandered off down the street.
I was dirty, stinking a bit, behind on my work, delirious from lack of sleep, and wistful for what I'd left behind.
But the sun was out, a breeze was blowing, and I was in Barcelona. I love Barcelona.