On board an early, sleepy flight from Amsterdam to Zurich. I disembark and in the wink of an eye I'm taken by unmanned airport train to the airplane bound for Cairo. Above the Swiss Alps I watch a film about the life of Johnny Cash. Beside me is a woman in a headscarf. Every time our arms touch we pull them back in alarm and say "Excuse me" at the same time. I realize that traveling in 2006 is a clinical affair. Every form of physical contact is out of the question, at least until I step out of the plane in Cairo and end up in a low hall crowded with people. Feeling myself being pushed and pulled, I walk along with the crowd because it seems impossible to do anything else. Yet there is a system in all this, and as it turns out I'm standing in a line to change money. When I receive my first Egyptian pounds I also get two colored postage stamps. I have just bought a visa without knowing it.