Actually, we really started on the 2nd when Freda had a fancy for a McDonald's. This is a bit of a queer occurrence, as she isn't a burger fan in general. But, you know me, anything to please the Boss. (I've always been a crawler!)
As we left McD's, I jokingly suggested that she might enjoy a chocolate brownie and ice cream at the Roof, by way of a dessert. To my great surprise she agreed, so we nipped into Snacktime before the "Little Shop Little Prices" man (Mamdou) latched onto us. Amazingly, the front table overlooking the temple etc. was vacant, so there we sat. The waiter was there in a trice and took our order "TWO chocolate brownies, please?" He was rather taken aback, as we normally only order one of anything, to share. "No shisha sir?" he thoughtfully enquired. But, unbeknown to him, I had already suggested that we retire from there to the Etap for tea and a shisha from Mr Bedawy before heading homewards. We enjoyed the brownies as much as we had enjoyed the cheeseburgers and made our way outside, crossing the road quickly before Mamdou got his beady eyes on us. Too late, he hurried through the traffic and caught us just as we were mounting the kerb on the other side. However, I managed to turn and speak to him before he had started his "Little Shop" spiel (once he starts he just HAS to finish) and when he recognised me he just said hello, and how are you and that sort of stuff and the a cheery "Goodbye".
The tea and shisha went down very well, as did the little "tourist watching".
We had arranged to be collected from the apartment at midnight to get to the airport in plenty of time for our flight to Cairo. All went smoothly, and we were soon ensconced in the grubby little cafeteria in domestic departures. Now then, this is a good place to people watch! Lots of Egyptian men (mainly) with an amazing array of different sizes of cardboard box. The clingfilm wrapping machine was going twenty to the dozen, the man operating it must have had quite a sweat on! And, of course Egyptian queueing! Need I say more? One chap had my attention for longer than any of the others. He looked like a typical West Bank farming type (I'm in no way denigrating the "type", by the way) with galabeya sleeves into which you could have flown Concorde, and a couple of winter scarves wrapped around his head which made him look like a pot of tea with a tea cosy on. His galabeya looked anything but clean, and he was small and stick thin. He wandered back and forth, haranguing people as he came across them, eventually sticking with an official looking bloke in a suit. His finger was wagging in the poor man's face, and his voice was raised. The poor official eventually made a call on his mobile and let the little fellah speak to whoever it was on the other end. The "whoever" also got quite an ear bashing before the customer was finished! He eventually made away towards the departure gates with his trolley full of his clingfilm wrapped boxes.
Anyway, we got to Cairo airport without mishap and managed to change terminals (only getting on the wrong bus once, which Saddam Hussein was driving) in our allotted time of 5 hours! Wondering where to go (Freda always looks around for signs etc. whereas I would rather just ask someone) I made my way towards the "Information" desk. Here it is below, but you'll have to click twice on the picture to see why I took it!
The BA flight from Cairo to Heathrow wasn't as nice as Egypt Air, but it did have a great selection of CD's to listen to, I had fun making my own playlist from CD's by the marvellous Leonard Cohen, the Rolling Stones, Etta James and Bo Diddley. Quite a change!
We arrived at Heatrow early, and left late, due to our last flight being postponed for two hours, in increments of a half hour at a time, very annoying! Nevertheless, we managed to get to Newcastle, where we found out that our son-in-law had just pranged our son's lovely (recently purchased) car, actually, another car ploughed into him in after losing grip on a bend, and there was no-one to pick us up from the airport. As we made our way down the covered walkway to the Metro station I was surprised to see the following icicles.
Our son-in-law managed to borrow a Nissan Micra to collect us from our local Metro station and took us home where the gang were awaiting our arrival. And more icicles hanging around our house as well.
According to the weather forecasters, we'll be carol singing in these conditions on Christmas Eve! So spare us a thought (along with some money!) when it comes around.
I'll be back in touch if anything crops up, in the meantime; enjoy the warmth if you're still in Egypt, and happy sledging if you're in England.
Happy Christmas to evryone.