I have finally arrived in Cairo! However, it was not easy. As I boarded my initial flight from New York to Paris, I settled in for what I thought would be a long, but enjoyable travel day. This leg of the journey went off without a hitch with the exception of someone needing medical attention mid-flight. The beef bourguignon and champagne dinner Air France served drew my attention away from the medical mystery though.
I made it to Charles de Gaulle on time and it appeared that my connecting flight to Cairo was on time as well. As I boarded this flight a few hours later, I noticed that it was extremely hot on the aircraft. I thought this was a poor attempt to prepare us for Egypt. As we sat on the plane to wait for everyone to board, I notice that it looked like a Sunday morning in an un-air-conditioned church on board with the amount of fans waving. People were drenched in sweat and succumbing to heat sleep. Needless to say, things went downhill fast from this point. Passengers bombarded the flight crew with questions, and rightfully so, about the lack of air circulation. And then it happened. A woman passed out mid fight with a crew member. So, I’m now on my second flight ever needing medical attention. The firestorm now commenced. I notice people storming the galleys of the plane and opening the storage compartments and raiding the water supply. Passengers are chanting “LET US OFF THIS PLANE!” People are thisclose to engaging in fisticuffs with the flight crew. The woman seated beside me is still knocked out asleep.
The captain alerts us to calmly de-board the plane and to take all of our belongings with us. I thought some passengers were going to pull their own Jet Blue stunt and slide down the side of the plane.
Once back inside the terminal, we were provided with cool beverages (water) to calm and cool us down. I went to sleep for the next four hours waiting for the woman who passed out to receive medical attention, the mechanics to fix the problem, and for the plane to cool down. We finally took off and arrived in Cairo at 9:00pm.
I had experienced enough excitement for one day. However, I still had one more journey to endure. I had to get to my hotel. The guidebooks do not lie about the touts and taxi drivers harassing you for every little thing. I had three taxi drivers follow me to the ATM so that they could be the first to ask me if I need a ride to my hotel. It was incessant.
As I rode through the streets of Cairo on my way to the Fairmont Nile City, I caught a glimpse of many different sides of the city. Some very residential parts. Some parts on government lock-down with heavy artillery. Some parts that just look downright out of a scene from Mad Max! Fires were blazing in the middle of the street right outside of my hotel. Some of these fires were cooking food though so I’m intrigued as to how the food tasted. The majority of these fires were burning down old tires and car parts though.
After passing through two security check-points and a metal detector at the hotel, I am on vacation!