It had been almost three years since we had been on an airplane, and it had been way too long since I had had even a few days off in a row, so the anticipation was pretty high for our trip to Cairo Egypt! I made the mistake of working all day 8am-9:30pm on the day we started our journey. I stopped at a grocery store on my way home to grab some snacks and a few beers to begin our week of vacation! Not wanting to risk making our family sick, we had booked a park-stay-fly hotel near Toronto Pearson airport. At about 10pm we left our home and drove to the Sheraton in Mississauga. The park-fly-stay cost about $240, not too bad considering it included the stay, parking for 13 days and a transfer to and from the airport. We even got upgraded to a room with a kitchen and a dishwasher (who needs a dishwasher in a hotel room)! We arrived at the hotel at about 11:30pm and set up our shuttle at reception for 2pm the following day (our flight was at 6:35pm). We settled into our room and tried a few of the “mystery beers” I had purchased (a case of mystery brewed beers from Nicklebrook brewery). My beer tasted of IPA/ stout but with a definite flavour of pickles, but somehow not in a completely bad way. We checked into our flights online and emailed Jives’ mom our itinerary before going to sleep around 12:30pm.
I woke up at 8am the following morning and made us coffee. I called down to reception to see if we could get a later check out time (1pm) because our flight time was much later. We hung around the room until 1pm, eating our snacks we had brought with us. At one o’clock we headed down to reception to check out. We put our bags in the car and walk around the surrounding area to burn some time before our shuttle to the airport. At about 1:30 it started pouring rain, so we headed back to the hotel where the shuttle driver actually asked if we would be ok leaving earlier for the airport (yes!).
We arrived at Pearson around 2pm and found our check in gates. We had checked in online, but had to wait to have our vaccine passports checked and visa verified by the airline. The airport had been having 4-6 hour delays due to staffing issues and the sudden influx of airline passengers, but we had plenty of time. When we finally made it to the desk, an Italian lady was being denied boarding because she didn’t have a visa and another girl beside us was being denied boarding because she was unvaccinated. We made it through the screening no problem, because I am super paranoid about stuff like this, and was super prepared. My anxiety was at 100% though… We made our way to security, which was pretty uneventful, and headed to our gate where we ordered two large beers to cheers finally travelling again!
We spoke to a lovely man and his British wife about travel. We boarded the plane on time at around 5:30pm and were seated next to a lovely man. The vegetarian meal with British Airways was one of the best I’ve ever had: jasmine rice, chickpea curry, lots of fruit and veggies and a slice of cheese for dessert. The flight attendant even gave us each two bottles of red wine. The man next to me was so cute, he almost spilt his orange juice all over in the turbulence, which I followed suit with and spilt my red wine all over my cream sweater (it was a bumpy ride). The nice man observed the call to prayer at his seat while Jives and I read and did sudoku together. I can’t watch films or shows on flights anymore, the motion makes me feel so sick.
We arrived at Heathrow airport and I immediately remembered why I hate it. They don’t tell you your boarding gate until the very last second, so in the past I’ve had to RUN to get to my gate in the last minute before the boarding closes. We boarded a bit late and were made to change seats. People boarded so slow that we missed our take off time and had to sit in the plane for an hour and a half before we could take off.
We were able to see the pyramids from the plane, as Cairo emerged like a sand village, geometric as if built with the same rectangular sand pail. We arrived in Cairo about an hour late and found an ATM in the airport before going through customs which was so easy. We had our visa ahead of time, but the customs agent didn’t even look at it.
We exited the airport to 400 people asking if we needed a ride, but we had arranged with our hotel, Jimmy Pyramid View, to get picked up for $25 USD. We found our driver outside the airport with a sign, and walked about 10 minutes to his car. He played a lot of Arabic rap music as he drove us to Giza, which is oddly an excellent language for rap.
The ride to Giza was a wild ride, speed limits and lanes didn’t exist. Our driver skillfully weaved in and out of traffic. We saw old volkswagen beetles, dilapidated buses full of people and fancy new cars, all seemingly with 1000 scrapes as if bumped into each other 1000 times. I saw a man selling bread from bags tied to a tree, people walking through traffic, a car with a cardboard licence plate, a guy whose bag was a cardboard box complete with straps, vending machines crammed into impossible spots and plugged into…rock? I loved it!
We drove for over an hour, arriving at Jimmy Pyramids around 6pm. We sat down and Jimmy himself gave us a HARD SELL on a tour that we ultimately passed on, he then showed us our room. It was a bit awkward, and from that moment on, Jimmy was very weird to us, rude in fact. The rest of our stay there we tried our best to avoid Jimmy, but he would basically ignore our existence if he happened to see us.
We got to our room and the pictures were very accurate. Our room had a view of all three great pyramids (watch the video for a full room tour)!!!