I realise I started this story a few weeks back, well quite a few weeks back now, and I have been remiss in updating the blog for a while, but in truth, I was waiting for our weather here to be similar to that of our destination. She Who Must Be Obeyed and I had booked a two week holiday in the Egyptian sun, but the two weeks seemed to have been taken up with actually getting to Egypt. However, after much toing and froing between the South and North terminals at Gatwick Airport and the aborted train journey, we were at least now in the air and heading south to the sun.
We were cramped, at least I was, but we were on the way.
As we approached the airport in Egypt, we could see the inviting blue of the Red Sea to one side and the mountains and acres of sand to the other. The airport below appeared to blend in with the surroundings quite well. The colour of the runway being almost sand like and the area where the planes ‘park’ being deserted! As the plane touched down, the terminal building was to our right. At the end of the runway, we turned right and headed back towards the terminal, however, we never made it!
The plane stopped well short and parked up. Busses arrived and we disembarked some distance from the terminal. I thought perhaps the airport was busy and there were no gates available for us to pull up to. Then I remembered the sight we’d had from above of the airport – deserted! There wasn’t another plane in sight.
The bus then drove us towards the terminal. However, we passed it, this time on our left and continued towards what seemed like an exit. As we approached the exit, the bus swung round and headed back to the terminal from the opposite direction!
With no other planes at the airport, it wasn’t long before we paid our Egypt entrance fee, collected our cases and headed out into the scorching desert heat – to another bus! We had been warned before flying out that there would always be a local hovering near by to collect a tip for doing absolutely nothing. And that was very evident at the baggage carousel where locals were poised to take your luggage from your hands once you had plucked it from the carousel and place it on a trolley for you – then they would hold out their hands expectantly! We escaped their attention, but at the bus, having dragged our cases some distance, we had no option but to hand over a tip for the driver to put our cases into the luggage compartment of his bus!
We were quite lucky to get our luggage quickly and to get through the Egyptian passport control swiftly, however, this meant we had to sit and wait on a bus which had been waiting in the afternoon sun since dropping off those who were returning home. A bus which had no air conditioning! After a lengthy wait for the final few passengers, we had a 30 – 40 minute drive ahead of us to the hotel. We were well and truly feeling the heat of the desert.
The bus pulled into our complex – our home for the next two weeks – and the fifty passengers on board all had one thing on their minds – to get their hot sweaty bodies inside the cool, air-conditioned foyer of the hotel. Maybe grab an ice cold drink whilst we checked in. Before we could do that, we had to queue up at the side of the bus to collect our luggage and once again tip the driver for taking our cases off his coach! Then we carried them all of fifteen feet where they were taken from us by the hotel staff.
The automatic door at the front of the hotel gently slid open inviting us in; the sweat running down our foreheads was hesitating knowing it was about to be nullified in refrigerator like conditions awaiting us inside.
Oh, how did that feel?
Well, sadly, there was no air-conditioning, just more hot, steamy conditions!
And the ice cold drink?
Apple juice – cool but not cold and certainly no ice!
Still, all the staff stood around with big grins saying ‘Welcome home’.
Several minutes later we were being escorted to our respective rooms where we would once more have to hand over a tip to the person carrying our keys (albeit a plastic card) and await our luggage which would be delivered later by another member of staff with one hand out, palm face up expectantly. At least we would be cool.
Not in our room – the air con was broken!
Soon, we had our luggage and could freshen ourselves up with a nice cool shower before heading out to find our first Egyptian cocktail. However, first we needed to unpack or in our case unpack and wash our clothes as something in each of our cases had leaked! Both of us had one empty bottle and several soaked clothes – this wasn’t turning out to be a great start to a holiday. This had been one long day which had started with the cancelled train; the taxi; the endless bus journey; the flight; the hot sweaty bus journey; the broken air con and now the unexpected washing!
Time to relax. More to follow…