Day 25 - Goodbye Istanbul, Hello Cairo!
Cairo Travel Blog› entry 25 of 42 › view all entries
After checking out we headed over to Taksim to pick up Mishâ€™s trousers. Loads of marching bands and children were parading up the main shopping strip, bringing the area to a near standstill. It was part of some sort of display of support for their national identity, protesting to possible succession of the president who isnâ€™t a big fan of their secular society. When we returned the hotel we saw a live TV broadcast which showed Taksim square (we hadnâ€™t bothered to walk that far up the strip) absolutely full of people waving the red and white national flag. Taksim square is no small piece of real estate either, this event was huge. We didnâ€™t have time to hang around and find out more though, as our shuttle had arrived and was ready to whisk us off to the airport. Weâ€™re still not sure how they managed to get 15 people and all their baggage into the van but we all fit and we all arrived at the airport in one piece.
Michelle and I checked in swiftly and passed through customs with loads of time to spare. Or so we thought. Just under an hour before our flight was due to depart, before they had opened the gates for boarding, I noticed that Michelle and I were being paged. We raced the length of the terminal to our boarding gate to enquire as to what the problem was. It turned out that when we had checked it the girl behind the counter had failed to collect the paper copies of our tickets. We had just handed over our passports for identification and had forgotten about the paper copies, forgetting we did not have e-tickets. Normally, this would not have been a major problem but because Iâ€™d be carrying them for almost four weeks whilst travelling Iâ€™d packed them deep in the bottom of my checked in luggage, for safe keeping. This caused the ground staff a fair bit of stress but all was resolved amicably when they managed to find our bags and then bring them up to the boarding ramp. Whilst I was pretty certain I knew exactly where Iâ€™d hidden the tickets, the long wait had me wondering what would happen if I wasnâ€™t able to find them. No need to stress though, I was able to produce the tickets and we were allowed the take our seats.
The rest of the flight was incident free and once weâ€™d cleared customs and found the tour rep we were bundled into a van and driven across town to the Indiana Hotel.
Our tour kick off meeting was at 7pm. I was at this point that it dawned upon Michelle and I just how small our tour group was. Michelle and I and the girl we were sat next to on the plane, Zoe. Thatâ€™s it, 3 people!! Our tour guide for the next two weeks, Mahmoud, didnâ€™t seem perturbed by the small size of the group. He gave us the run down for tomorrowâ€™s activities and then we spent the rest of the evening on the hotel roof terrace, grabbing a bit to eat and having a couple of drinks, whilst enjoying the panorama of the city.