As I sit on a hotel bed at the end of a very long day I ponder the fact that we have gone from airport to flying metal tube to airport to flying metal tube to airport to flying metal tube to airport to hotel, with the only breath of fresh air about 3 minutes in the rain in Frankfurt boarding our plane the old fashioned way, up the stairs off the tarmack. After reaching the Cairo airport hotel and settling in, we take a walk around the grounds in the sunshine and fresh air.
We have turned on the “spidey sense”, that hair on the back of the neck, hang on to your purse, always one eye on our surroundings, watch for nefarious folks thing. We are approached by a number of touts inside the Cairo airport asking about taxis and hotels. Our reply is always No Thank You and keep walking.
We almost got caught. Egypt e-visas can be purchased on line, which we did. On the website we were able to pick multiple entry or single entry and we had to pick multiple as we are going enter Egypt twice on this trip. We had paper copies of the visas, and I also have digital copies on my iPad. The officer at immigration took the e-visa papers, checked them and then put them in her pile. As we walk away, and are 20 feet away, Murray suddenly realizes that we need those e-visa papers to get into Egypt in about three weeks. Yikes! We scurry back through immigration and ask the officer for our papers back. And she says “NO, it is good for only one time. You have to go to the embassy to get another visa. And I say “No, these are multiple entry visas and are good to use again. She says NO again. And I say, “The website did not say anything like what you are saying. These are good for multiple entries and we would like the papers back.” She gave them back to us with a bit of a harrumph attached. Ooh dodged that one (but we do have the digital copies so we may have been okay).
I emailed our friends, L&R, who are meeting us in Cairo to warn them and L said that the website got taken down Oct 1 and now folks have to go in person to the Embassy in Ottawa to get Egypt visas. Boy, am I glad we got ours in September.
We spend the night in the Marriott Le Meridien Cairo Airport Hotel. The next evening it is off to Namibia, via Doha. Why Doha? After flying Lion Air, we decided to only fly airlines with good safety ratings and the most direct route from Cairo to Windhoek, Namibia is to fly through Johannesburg with Egyptair. Except Egyptair has a very low safety record. We opt to a slightly longer route and fly Qatar Air (very high safety record) through Doha.
If you ever get a chance, fly Qatar Air. Their service is exceptional. And fly through the Doha airport. It is a huge, modern and very busy facility more like a shopping mall than an airport. Designer label stores galore, if that is your thing. It is huge. There are tons of people there and still there are gaps in the traffic.They have their processes down to a science. They started boarding our flight before the official boarding time.
As we descend into Windhoek, I am relieved this journey is over. I have watched six movies since Edmonton and gotten way less sleep than I require. No airplanes for about 16 days!