We were thrilled when, after weeks of daily Skype calls, we successfully convinced Josh's brother Bud to come visit us in Egypt. Even better, he brought along his fiance Ashley. Better still, they scheduled a huge layover in Paris with enough time to walk along the Seine, eat a nutella crepe, and see the Notre Dame. And best of all, we kept their arrival a secret from Misha until Bud and Ashley were actually in our Cairo hostel.
Resisting the urge to let Bud and Ashley fend for themselves in the chaotic airport, Josh took a taxi to the airport to meet them. On the drive back to our trusty hostel, Bud immediately noticed two things about Egyptian drivers: they don't use headlights except to flash at cars going too slowly, and they don't drive within the lines.
It was late when they arrived, and the kids were fast asleep. However, since Josh and Bud were up late talking, Misha eventually stirred and asked who was with us in our dark hotel room. To his surprise, it was Uncle Bud!
Since Ashley was already asleep, he had to wait until morning to greet her. He nestled right in to listen to the Magic Treehouse story Mummies in the Morning - one of the many, many great kids books Bud and Ashley stuffed into the suitcase for Misha. Now we have Stuart Little, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Calvin and Hobbes, to name a few!
Talking all night: Bud chuckles at how Josh takes it as his brotherly duty to lecture him on exchange rates, geography, world history, and a multitude of other things.
When Josh made Bud a list of things-to-bring-definitely-not-to-be-forgotten, he included things like passports, student IDs, cash, camera, and baby tylenol. But at the top of the list was Growl. Growl is no ordinary bear - he has superpowers including a "support button," retractable claws, flying, invisibility, a secret number, and the ability to speak every language in the world. He goes everywhere with Misha - in fact, you've seen him in many a picture. Unfortunately, the original Growl got lost at the pyramids our first day in Egypt. Misha was crushed. Luckily, Bud brought from America another Growl. (And Misha, being quite magical himself and co-king of the world with Growl, transferred the old Growl with all of his superpowers into the new Growl. Growl has since developed even more superpowers, such as lasers and a secret code called Superhero Language.) You should have seen Misha's face when Bud pulled Growl from his backpack.
After sleeping in the next morning, our first priority was finding something to eat. However, finding food in Cairo during Ramadan proved to be far more difficult than we expected. Most stores were closed, although you could find the occasional small shop with water, juice, and chocolate. As for restaurants, the only places that were open were American chains. And that is how we ended up taking Bud and Ashley to Hardees' for their first meal in Egypt. Ironic!