Sunday 21 June 2009
Highlights: The weird Cairo International Airport
A late check out at 2 pm, waiting for a taxi booked for 7 pm and then a flight (hopefully at 11.45 pm) to Madrid and onwards to Brussels to catch up with Inge who I first met during my 2006 travels.
Coming down to breakfast I caught up with Amy who was moving onto a new hotel for further travels I was very happy to catch up and say farewell. But very surprisingly a familiar face in Mark showed up. It turned out he missed his plane due to 3 factors:
1) The taxi left late (I knew that since I was there)
2) He went to the wrong terminal
3) His flight left earlier than what his travel agent said
As a result he missed checkin by 10 minutes (checkin closed 1 hour before his flight). Any one of these things hadn’t happened and he would have been fine. Still I was glad to have someone to share the time waiting for my flight and we agreed that we would take turns watching each other’s stuff in the hotel reception and he’ll share my ride to the airport tonight. Hopefully everything else goes well tonight, I can check in, access a lounge and my bags show up in Brussels. My airline, Iberia, doesn’t have the greatest reputation but it is part of Oneworld so hopefully everything should be okay.
They have strange ways in Cairo and Egypt. I had to wait until 2 hrs before my flight to check in my luggage (for which there was a 40 minute window). Once inside the secured area I had to tip someone to use the toilets (I get tipping outside but inside the terminal!!).
Boarding is a two steps process, the first normal part of handing over you boarding pass but instead of boarding you then go to a holding area for 20 minutes and they board you from this area (checking your ticket and passport again).
The most interesting was Egypt was playing USA at Soccer and hearing the locals and all the on duty military (who left their posts to watch) screaming. When I left Egypt was losing 2-0, I can’t imagine what the noise would have been like if they had scored!