Friday, April 28, 2006

Greetings from Washington!

Hi everyone. Guess what? I am writing to you from Washington, DC!

Kristin has been so busy this week that she hasn't had time to tell me HOW we were getting to Egypt. It turns out that our first stop of the trip is Washington, DC. We are in Washington to meet up with Kristin's friend Loren. He works at the foundation with Kristin.

Kristin and Loren are then supposed to meet up with an entire group of journalists in Washington tomorrow. Then the entire group is leaving for Egypt. Kristin says she hasn't met most of the people who are going on this trip. She also calls it a "fact finding" trip. Kristin says this is like a school field trip for adults. That's pretty cool. I didn't know adults went on their own field trips. I just thought they only came on mine to make sure I behave.

We left Kristin's house at 7AM. Kristin arranged for a car service to bring us to the airport. This is so Kristin doesn't have to leave her car at the airport for a long time. I think it was a good idea for someone else to drive us this morning because Kristin is so tired.

Today we flew from Moline to Chicago. And then we got on another plane and flew to Washington, DC. Here you can see me waiting to board the plane in Moline. I'm keeping a close watch on her plane tickets.

I've been to Chicago's O'Hare airport so many times now with Kristin that even I knew where we were headed as soon as we landed. And we didn't have time to stop and look at anything. We got to the gate for our Washington flight about 10 minutes before people started boarding. Kristin and I both decided to take a nap on the plane ride to Washington.

But, I was very surprised when I woke up and didn't recognize the airport! Kristin says that's because we landed at the OTHER airport in Washington, Dulles International Airport. I remember she told me there were two airports here but I didn't think I would get to actually visit both!

Dulles International is different than most airports I have visited with Kristin, Keith or Amy on our trips. In order to get from the gate where we landed to the area where Kristin could pick up her bags, we had to get onto a big thing Kristin called a "people mover." It's like a large rectangular box with windows on REALLY TALL tires (think super large farm tractor-size tires). This "people mover" also has large fins on top of it. They kind of look like super size shark fins. Kristin thinks the "people mover" looks like something out of the movie Star Wars. I think it is COOL! And, it was fun to ride in too!

All of Kristin's bags arrived with no problem. This time she has both her clothing and equipment bags with her. She must have really strong arms to pull both of those bags because they sure look heavy!

I thought we would head to the hotel once Kristin got her bags but first she said we had to stop at the office of Customs and Border Protection. Kristin says this is the office that is in charge of making sure people who arrive in the United States have all of the correct paperwork. They also make sure people don't bring bad things in their luggage that could hurt people. I think this is similar to a police department.

Anyway, Kristin says she needed the office to sign some forms that list all of her equipment. She says this will help her prove to that the equipment is hers when we arrive back from Egypt otherwise she says she might get charged a fee or tax for bringing expensive equipment into the United States. I had no idea! Kristin tells me she had similar documents for our last overseas trip. I guess I just didn't notice.

Once we were done at the Customs and Border Protection office, we boarded a bus like the ones we have in Muscatine and took a short ride to our hotel. We are staying at the Marriott near the airport. Kristin says this is because the entire group will meet here tomorrow.

Kristin also says this means we are not going to get to visit any other places in Washington this time. I think this is OK. She is very tired and needs to rest. So I spent the evening watching TV and resting.

I know from our last trip to the Middle East that we will be very tired when we arrive so it is good to get extra rest. Tomorrow we will leave from here and fly to London. We will switch planes in Frankfurt and then fly directly to Cairo, Egypt. See if you can find those cities on the map.

Well that's about all for today. The really big adventure begins tomorrow!

Until next time...