WILLSBORO - For the Pierce family, it was the beginning of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to an exotic land.
But while the family knew that there was tension, it wasn't until after their plane had taken off that things really started to get exciting in the country they were headed for.
The family, consisting of parents Kevin and Yvonne, siblings Derrick and Lucas, and Derrick's then soon-to-be fiance, Jennifer, did not know that the U.S. State Department had issued a travel warning to the country on the brink of revolution until they touched down in Cairo.
"We left on the evening of Jan. 27 and they issued the travel warning on the 28th, while we were in the air," said Lucas. "We didn't know anything until we got to Cairo and were told that we would have to stay in the airport overnight."
Pierce said that he slowly started to hear rumblings throughout the terminal that the situation in Egypt's capital city had escalated, as citizens of the country converged at Tahrir Square as they sought the resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who did so Feb. 11.
"The airport was packed and nobody really knew what was going on," Pierce said. "We found out that we had arrived an hour after the first curfew had been declared in Cairo, so we were stuck."
Pierce said that while he and his family went searching for answers, food soon became as sparse as the explanations he was looking for.
"The food counter was ransacked," he said. "The snack shop in the terminal was so small that the food was gone pretty quickly."
To the hotel
Once the curfew was lifted at 7 a.m. on the morning on the morning of Jan. 28, the Pierces left the airport and headed to the hotel.