Friday, 19 August 2011

... Egypt: Waiter! There's A Sausage In My Soup!

At time of "going to press" I've been awake for 22 hours, give or take an hour here & there dozing on one of the 3 flights that are taking me to Cairo. My usual decaf has been switched for jet fuel with coffee of questionable "taste" and BMI have just tried to convince me that a beef sausage is part of a vegetarian meal. Still, the likelihood of that sausage ever having seen a real animal are likely slim to none and so I probably would've been fine eating it. That said the rest of the food was rather delish and you can't go wrong with a good ol' British breakfast of omelette, mushrooms & baked beans sans aforementioned petroleum product sausage.

My flights have been pretty uneventful although Air Canada's idea of a window seat was thought provoking. As I stared at the spot where one would assume a window to be instead of panelling I pondered if may be they'd ran out of glass? May be if I wished hard enough one would miraculously appear? Alas no, and so I made do with the flight map and the inside of my eyelids. We landed in glorious sunshine at Heathrow, admittedly not something I am used to, pretty much on schedule despite leaving Toronto a little late and so I was a happy camper. The time I had between flights wasn't as great as I perhaps would have preferred but hey I've done "Amazing Race"-esque sprints through airports before now so I was ready! Thanks to being as close to the front as I could be for someone flying Cattle Class, I was off the plane very quickly and making my way to my connecting flight in no time. I've forgotten how huge Heathrow is, my last few trips through there have been a one terminal deal. So it's easy to forget what a right royal pain in the arse getting from one terminal to another can be. You walk for what seems like forever, then you get on a bus followed by more walking... Oh and more walking. Wear airport-yomping-appropriate shoes is all I can say!

It also doesn't help when you're in a semi-comatose state and don't read signs properly.... Let's just say the lady at immigration, after much bewilderment at my accent when presenting her with a Canadian passport, was kind enough not to make me feel like a total idiot for having queued in a line I should never ever have been in. Twenty-five minutes of my life I will never get back and something my bladder will likely never ever forgive me for. Once back on track and heading in the right direction more walking followed until I finally reached the gate for my BMI flight to Cairo.

At just over 3.5 hours into a 4.5-ish hour flight I'm holding up pretty well. Then again my backside is glued into a seat and I'm wondering how many DVT clots I've formed in my legs. Ahhhh that's why Heathrow has you walking miles for your connections! They don't want the responsibility of you collapsing in the middle of their airport causing a considerable amount of paperwork. Angry Birds has kept me entertained plus my immediate passengers are an Egyptian bloke and his niece. They're really very nice and whilst the young girl is a tad shy I've managed to abstract lots of useful info about my destination. We also had a very interesting talk about Ramadan - they can eat during the usual fasting period whilst traveling - and I was able to get an idea about being respectful of the Muslim culture as a Westerner especially in terms of clothing. This is particularly useful as I would like to try and visit Islamic Cairo on top of the pharaonic overload I'm naturally in Cairo for courtesy of the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum. I'm in particular keen to visit the bazaar of Khan al-Khalili, Al-Azhar Mosque and the Citadel.

As my flying time diminishes and the Mediterranean appears below me thanks to Greek airspace, I'm getting psyched! It's almost time to embrace the brutal heat as my itchy feet get ready to explore the vast grandeur and beauty of the ancient lands of Egypt... May be via the back of a camel or two.

- Posted using BlogPress from Nic's iPad

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