After one last swim in the hotel pool in Luxor, we packed up the remainder of our stuff and headed down to the lobby to meet up with the driver we had arranged the day before. We had asked the driver that took us to the Valley of the Kings if he would drive us to the airport. He was the first driver we had trusted in Egypt, but we were still afraid that he might not show up to take us to the airport. At 12:02 he showed up, very punctual! The drive to the airport was about 20 minutes and he dropped us right at departures. I accidentally gave him 400 EGP not 200 EGP, but his gratitude and reaction made it all worthwhile. In the grand scheme of things, the ride had cost us $15 Canadian and seeing how happy it had made him was worth it. He was BY FAR the best cab driver we had in Egypt, and the ONLY one that didn’t try to scam us.
We went through the first airport scan and sat at the entrance for about 20 minutes. Then we went through a second scanner and had to have our backpacks searched before checking into our flight. We then went through a third scan, or at least Jives did, I had to wait for the female security guard to finish eating lunch. A little boy lost one of his two shoes in the baggage scanner, so the line was held up again as they tried to fish his shoe out of the conveyor belt x ray scanner.
We sat down at our boarding gate (the airport was so small) and talked to a nice family from Houston about travel and Egypt. The family was leaving Egypt a week early because they just couldn’t tolerate all the scams and touts anymore (I get it now).
We then boarded the flight a little late, taking a bus to the plane and manually boarding from the tarmac. We sat beside a kid in his early 20s who literally dug knuckle deep into his nose THE ENTIRE FLIGHT. It was so incredibly disgusting. This flight is also where I likely caught covid, but I didn’t know that at the time.
The flight was very bumpy on approach and I felt sick, but it was only about an hour flight.
We walked out of the airport and couldn’t find our ride to the hotel. Lots of taxi drivers offered to drive us, but we had already paid for the transfer. I was starting to get worried, but about 20 minutes later, our driver showed up.
The ride to the hotel was much quicker than the ride to Giza, maybe half an hour at most. Downtown Cairo is insane!! Our driver dropped us off and pointed out the hotel before speeding off. We walked into the weird building and looked around for any sign of the hotel, but we couldn’t find one. We decided to climb the sketchy stairs and hope for the best…. On the 4th floor we spotted a sign and found our hotel! We checked in with no issue and the nice man took us to our room in the weirdest old metal caged elevator.
Our room was ok, but the balcony made it all worth it! The balcony wrapped around the building and we had it to ourselves. The traffic down below was insane and we had a full view of it.
We decided to head out and try to find a vegetarian restaurant nearby. The streets reminded me of the craziness of southeast asia. You just have to walk into traffic and hope to not get hit, but unlike Vietnam, I don’t really trust the drivers in Egypt. The restaurant was closed for the call to prayer so we ended up at an authentic Italian restaurant with an adorable man from Rome as the owner. The restaurant was set in an alleyway with plants and lights and Italian memorabilia. It was a wonderful setting. The Gnocchi was the best I have ever had (since Venice in 2006) and we also ordered a veggie pizza with ginger and cinnamon tea to wash it down.
After our delicious dinner we walked to the “Drinkies” to get two beers before heading to the market to grab some water and snacks ( “moro” bars that we endlessly made jokes about). We then sat on our balcony and had the beers and snacks as we listened to the crazy traffic of Cairo get crazier and crazier.