Well, we made it to Cairo, as you can see. The view above is from the Jazz Bar on the tenth floor of the Kempinski Nile Hotel, where we're staying. That's the Nile, right there in front of the Sofitel and Sheraton hotels on the opposite riverbank. Don't you love the big holiday message on the side of the Sheraton?
We went to the Jazz Bar last night for a much-needed drink after a long, long, exhausting day of travel.
We got up at 2:30 a.m. and had a car collect us in London an hour later for our 7 a.m. flight. Of course we had a super-chatty driver, which you know is my favorite thing in the world, especially when it's still a couple of hours before dawn. But I figured maybe the guy was trying to stay awake, so I talked to him all the way to Heathrow. Blah blah blah.
Then we had the craziest flight to Istanbul. First there was a lot of chaos as people had to be shuffled to different seats, and then all the baggage in the overhead compartments had to be plundered because one passenger "refused to fly" (?) and the flight attendants had to find and remove their bags. Then, in mid-air and during meal service, they asked twice over the PA system if there was a doctor on the plane. Not sure what that was about.
We landed in Istanbul at 2 p.m. with several hours to kill before our connection. I was amused to find the Istanbul airport decked out for Christmas, with "Jingle Bells" loudly playing. For some reason I thought in a majority-Muslim country there wouldn't be so much Christmas enthusiasm, but there it was. At an airport shop I bought a new bathing suit covered with images of tree sloths, kind of like Dave's sloth socks. (Apparently there's a pool available on our Nile boat trip.)
We saw at least six guys walking around who'd had very recent hair transplants. Like, still red and hurting. We wondered what the heck was up with that, and an Internet search revealed that apparently traveling to Istanbul for a hair transplant is a thing. I guess it's much cheaper there.
"Should we get you a present?" said Dave.
Then we had an equally chaotic flight to Cairo, with people once again sitting in the wrong seats. Some people have a very hard time telling 33A from 33F -- although, to be fair, maybe our alphabet isn't the one they routinely use.
In Cairo, we were met by our guide, Cesar, who walked us through getting our visa, passport control, baggage collection and customs. Basically all we did was walk beside him and haul out our wallets at the appropriate times. We boarded a van for our hotel, and Cesar talked to us about Egypt and its culture all the way, I suspect to distract us from the wildly weaving Egyptian traffic. At the hotel Cesar checked us in (apparently we're completely incompetent on our own) and agreed to pick us up around lunchtime today for our onward travel to Luxor. We'll be back in Cairo for sightseeing at the end of the trip.
See why I needed that drink?