SUNDAY 3rd NOVEMBER – CAIRO AIRPORT. Chaos! The only way to describe the scene at Cairo Airport. CHAOS. The sort of chaos that makes a mockery of security procedures. The sort of chaos that epitomizes the chaotic and mind-bogglingly stupid systems of a chaotic and mind-bogglingly stupid country.
Getting to the airport was a simple matter. We walked up to Midan Tahir where a tout grabbed us and popped us into a brand new minibus which took us all the way for one Egyptian pound each. We were just putting on our packs after getting out of the van when the dirty brown tendrils of a sandstorm began to drift in on the rising wind. By the time we had dashed into the shelter of the arrivals hall, a howling gale was lashing rain and sand across the airport, pummelling the trees and sending pieces of debris racing past.
The storm was short-lived, however, and after sheltering for 10 minutes we were able to walk along to the departure hall. We hung around in there for a couple of hours watching with amazement the total shambles going on around us as sloppily-dressed guards smoking cigarettes tried to control the crowds of package tourists surging through the x-ray area.
Nicky and Melissa left us at 3:00Pm to check in for their 5:00Om flight to Athens and we settled down on the nasty yellow plastic chairs and waited…
Boarding the aircraft was a speedy affair and by the time the call came to board we had teamed up with four other Kiwis and an Australian.