This is the return portion of my previous trip report (BOS
-CAI). Thanks to all those who responded to that posting, I appreciate it! I hope you all enjoy this trip report just as much, if not more...
Well, it was time to finally say goodbye to spending a wonderful week on the beautiful Red Sea. The sunburn, the late nights, and the exhaustion were all worth it! It was hard to say goodbye to so many friends and people we got to know during our say. We awoke on the morning of August 25 to take the El Gouna Transport Company bus from El Gouna to Cairo, a journey that would take no less than five hours.
Around 9:00 in the morning we were driven to the outside of the main gate of the compound of Gouna and we were to wait there for our bus coming north from Hurghada and then take us on to Cairo…
Someone else waiting for a bus outside of Gouna...
Traffic Police of sorts...
The bus ride was OK
. The fare was 70LE (roughly 12 USD) and that included a snack, tea, and the chance to watch a few Egyptian movies (btw Egypt is the second biggest producer of movies for Third World countries, India is number one).
I slept for most of the bus ride, but was awakened just as we reached the outskirts of Cairo. Apparently the steward on the bus needed to throw away the trash so we pulled off to the side of the highway and the side door of the bus was opened and the whole bag was casually tossed down the side of a cliff. No wonder there is so much litter in the middle of the desert!
The first stop we made in Cairo was Nasr City. The last stop was at the Ramses Hilton. After gathering our luggage we negotiated a fair price for a taxi to take us to our hotel in Giza, the Le Meridien Pyramids. There’s nothing on earth to compare to a ride in a Cairo taxi. Old Peugeots and Fiats racing wildly through every twist and turn and narrowly avoiding pedestrians along the way… it’s a thrill to say the least!
Checking into the hotel was quick and painless, but before we could have the taxi drive into the hotel the car was searched and bomb-sniffing dog walked around the car. There were also these electronically controlled steel tubes that came up from the ground to prevent anyone from driving into the hotel. Anyway…we didn’t really stick together as a family the last two days in Cairo, but that was OK
. These are just some photos I’d share of Cairo before I get into the details of my flights back home and all… ENJOY!!!
Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel...
View from my room at the Meridien at night (Room 408)
Back to the Pyramids…
Watch out for those who try and convince you to take one of these chariot rides!
Mena House Hotel (1869)
Mena House by night...
August 27, 2006
Alitalia / CAI-FCO
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Meal: not worth mentioning!
It was hard to pack my things that morning, my last day in Egypt. I remember the moments sitting in the lobby as we waited for a taxi. I was actually starting to cry inside. I never in all of my life have felt so alive as I have while in Egypt. I guess that’s why I was so sad to leave. I never thought I would ever cry because of leaving behind a country and a people that I have grown to love and admire so much. Thanks Tito for making my visit to Cairo sooo great
We made our way to Cairo Airport via the Ring Road around Cairo. We passed by the Citadel along the way…
Once we arrived at Terminal 2 we checked-in at the Alitalia counters...
Then we cleared security and made our way upstairs to the departure lounge. Since my last visit to Cairo they have built a new modern food court called “Food Village” in the middle of the Terminal 2 departure lounge. It’s small, but offers some good choices before a flight. The Evian is expensive though (15LE)!! After getting some water I wandered around the terminal for a little while. There were flights taking off to various points including… Bahrain, Dubai, Riyadh, Muscat, Jeddah, Vienna, and Zurich!
We were cleared into Gate 1 about 30 minutes before departure. Sorry for the poor quality of the picture, but it’s the best I could take through this window…
Boarding was painless and we were soon ready to takeoff. I noticed that this A320 was quite new inside too! I still dislike the Alitalia seats though, not comfortable at all, but at least the legroom is decent.
It was time to taxi out to the runway and depart. While we doing so there was a Saudi 747 ahead of us. I also caught a glimpse of a Saudi MD90 arriving!
After takeoff from Cairo I kept my eyes toward the ground. I kept thinking about how much of a good time I had in Egypt and wondered when I’d be able to return. This place really has a hold on me!
We were soon approaching the northern coast of, and I got my last glimpses of Egypt…
Food was soon served on our Alitalia flight, but it was nothing to write home about. Something weird happened after the meal service was completed. The FAs came forward a few rows in front of where I was sitting and were looking all around. Soon I smelled a slight burning rubber odor as did other passengers. People seemed to be wondering what was going on. The FAs were even touching various parts of the cabin wall and where the reading lights were located. They were even looking at passenger bags to try and determine if that is where the odor was coming from. Soon someone from the flight deck came out and was also trying to figure out what was going on. Nobody seemed to figure out where this smell was coming from. It eventually subsided, but the FAs still came to the same spot every so often and paused to see if the scent came back. Never had that happen on a flight before!
We came over land now as we were getting closer and closer to Rome….
After arrival into Rome we proceeded to a remote stand. We were parked next to an Ethiopian 737 and deplaned via the stairs, yay! Is parking in remote stands at FCO
normal for flights arriving from Africa? The best thing I can say about Alitalia is that the FAs are all mostly either very handsome (guys) or very sexy (ladies)
We had a few hours to spend at Rome before our flight to London departed so we had some dinner and then proceeded to Gate C33 to wait for our flight to depart. I noticed a few families waiting at the gate who were also on our flight from Cairo also bound for London.
August 27, 2006
Alitalia / FCO
Meal: something in a box
Our flight departed 25 minutes late, but it was good to just get on the flight and get some much needed sleep. I was exhausted at this point and could think of nothing else but just getting into a nice cozy hotel bed!
We arrived into LHR
slight behind schedule. After clearing customs we made our way to a taxi to take us to the Sheraton Skyline for a nights stay before departing for the USA the next evening.
August 28, 2006
American Airlines / LHR
Aircraft: Boeing 777
Meals: Teriyaki Chicken and Rice / Snack Box
I slept really late into the morning so I skipped breakfast with my family. We made our way to Heathrow Terminal 3 at around 15:00 that afternoon. I changed the last of my Egyptian Pounds into British Pounds at this point so that I would have some spending money at the airport. Checking in with American Airlines was a bit of a pain. I had to take stuff out of my carryon so that it would fit into the new smaller sized carryon checker. Are three magazines really that big of a deal? Geez!
The flight to Boston was pretty uneventful and again I slept most of the way, waking up at various points in the flight.
We did hit some moderate turbulence somewhere over the North Atlantic. The highlight of the flight was when we flew within 80 miles of the southern tip of Greenland and I could actually see it way out in the distance, cool!!!
A beautiful sunset to end a truly beautiful trip...
Thanks for reading this trip report. This trip meant so much to me in so many ways, it’s impossible to describe how great it truly was. There are twa quotes I’d like to leave with you all…
“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.”
“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
[Edited 2006-09-01 06:11:26]