dalg , K, Wendy and I, after our great success of going away together in August last year to Paris and not actually killing one another decided to try a longer experiment and go off on holiday together to Egypt. All arrangements were in the hands of K and dalg , so without further ado, we left on a jet plane, today in the middle of the afternoon.
We flew with GlobeSpan. A four and a half hour journey from Hell with one of the original Witches of the Gorbals sitting just two rows behind us giving everyone on the back half of the plane the benefit of her huge experience of Egypt and by the way what she thought (which was astonishing in itself) of Globespan. All nicely delivered with a voice which could cut glass without effort and easily ward off any boats heading for Beachy head on a foggy night. One could not help noticing that she appeared to be talking with a throat full of broken glass. I also discovered that this was the woman who had the most remarkable way of blowing her nose in such a fashion that it sounded like she has just covered one nostril and blew hard. I hope that was just that it sounded like that, because otherwise I suspect she had just managed to spread swine flu throughout Hurghada and most of Glasgow once we returned. She did not strike me as a very nice person.
I forgot to mention that we kicked off with an extra £52 charge for our luggage to go with us which our travel company had not bothered mentioning to us or paying for. Something for K. to get her teeth into with all the relevant companies once we get back.
Once we arrived at Hurghada Airport we were ferried to the arrival hall by bus. The arrival hall itself was strange. The Police guards outside the door held their berets to their faces and other airport personnel had face marks on. We then discovered we were at the back of a queue which had a woman in a hajab and medical facemask at the front taking the temperature of all passengers with an electronic ear thermometer, presumably checking against swine flu, but nothing was explained to us.
We were cleared for visas very quickly as it appeared our hotel had a specific hotline for the visa distribution. We then joined a queue which we thought was to change money, which seemed reasonable at the time as these were all bank booths. It turned out that these were also for visas which caused the guys who were waiting for us to clear immigration and customs great confusion. I could almost hear them thinking “What are the stupid foreigners doing?”
Interestingly most of the rest of the people in front of us in the immigration queue were Russian who appeared to have come off the plane immediately before ours although K. said that she had heard several Russian speakers near the back of our plane, which is a bit puzzling, why would you fly all they way to Glasgow to transfer on to Egypt?. Once we had waited in the queue for immigration to let them check that we had just bought our visas (?) we handed off the form we got for the ear examination to the next guy in line and finally collected our luggage from the long stopped carousel. I began to think that the stories about the amount of bureaucracy in Egypt were true.
We had one mini adventure when K. found this guy who just said to her, “this way” and naturally she started following him before dalg pointed out that he wasn't from our hotel or package company and actually had nothing to do with us. Minor embarrassment all round as we had all dutifully started following him and K. assuming all was well.
We got to the Hotel by minibus which appeared to be for us only. Just us four guests and the three staff sent to pick us up, very strange. When we dropped off one of the staff the others apologised profusely because he could only speak German. By this point we just smiled.
The Hotel; Empire Three corners, is great, It turns out that we were booked on the all inclusive option, presumably because we booked so far in advance, which was a surprise to Wendy and I (which is the good kind of thing which happens when you let someone else do the booking) and meant that all food and drinks in the hotel just need signed for and we are not charged! Brilliant!! To mark us as having this option we were given white wristbands with the name of the hotel chain emblazoned on them similar to the kind of identification bracelet you get when you are in Hospital. We wore these for the next seven days which became a bit of an irritation at times.
With a quick meal in the restaurant off we went to bed to wait and see what would happen tomorrow.