Seek and ye shall find!

Yes folks, they were in the Recycle Bin, along with 82 items which I'd deleted the other day. Pheeeew! Mind you, after I'd restored everything, then I had to delete the 82 items again, I was starting to get cramp in my arm.

Never mind, it'll teach me to be more careful which keys my fingers touch. (I've still no idea what I did wrong to delete everything in the first place!)

So, do you want to know what happened in Cairo Airport or should I continue with a few more unattached pictures?

Here are a few historically interesting shots:

This one was taken from the Riverside Park in the post industrial town of Hebburn. The giant hammerhead crane, which lies in what was formerly Walker Naval Yard (the shipyard where the huge battleships used to be built) can lift 320 tons! The next one is more close up, so that you can see the workmen on the dock and thereby get some idea of just how big the crane is!

Then this final picture of it, which was taken from the small village of Bill Quay, also shows the curve of the river Tyne where the whole of the far shore used to have similar cranes all the way along! It's not that long ago, either. I can certainly remember them, but this is the only remnant, and it's used regularly to lift those giant spools for GE Oil and Gas, whom our Number-One-Son now works for. 

And here's the interior of the Methodist Church at Bill Quay:

I took this shot just before the closing service there on the 25th of August. However, although it was a sad time for the members there, the chapel has been taken over by a thriving and evangelical independent  church, so perhaps God hasn't finished His work in Bill Quay yet, maybe He just wants a new approach?

The Muslims of Luxor seem to be getting along OK though, in spite of the efforts of the Brother Muslims to dominate them all. I see the Minaret is finally finished on the new Mosque in Medina Street, it's absolutely breathtaking!

OK, that's enough of the pictures for the time being. I think that the best way to tell you about our mis-adventures in Cairo International Airport,  is to show you the letter of complaint which I've sent off to them. So here it is:

Dear Sir/Madam,
It is now almost 4 o’clock in the afternoon on Friday 30th August 2013, and I have only now recovered from spending 12 and one half night-time hours in Cairo Airport on Tuesday/Wednesday!

The first notice we had of our Tuesday evening flight from Cairo to Luxor being cancelled, was when we received our boarding cards at Manchester
International Airport.  Having experienced EGYPTAIR’s excellent service when we were delayed a few years ago, we had no worries as to how we would manage on arrival at Cairo.  

What a difference on this occasion! After landing at 20.10, we made our way through the airport to an EGYPTAIR information desk, where we were met by a man (who came from behind the EGYPTAIR counter) who cheerily asked what he could do to help. Fully expecting the same excellent treatment we had
previously received from EGYPTAIR, we were delighted that this gentleman was taking the matter in hand. He took our passports (there were four of us) and applied the Visa stickers, and asked for £12 (English) each. My wife pointed out that the price of the Visa was $15, but he insisted that it now equated to £12. (Obviously, EGYPTAIR and its employees would be better informed regarding exchange rates etc. than we were at that moment, so she relented, and paid up.)

He then presented us with a single voucher for a meal and a drink for all four of us, to be used anywhere in the ‘Food Village’, upstairs. He also told us that we could collect our passports from the Information Desk
afterwards and then we would be able to find somewhere comfortable to spend the night within the airport. (In actual fact, it transpired that only a pizza joint would accept the voucher, and they closed at midnight, meaning that we would be left without sustenance at least until we were given something on the plane after 08.30 on the following day! How would the Food Village staff get home after midnight during the curfew?)

After spending a couple of very uncomfortable hours in the Food Village, and spending our voucher on some barely edible pizza and bottled water, we arrived back at the Information Desk. I remonstrated with an EGYPTAIR employee about the fact that we (my wife and I being over 60 years of age, and having been travelling, so far, for about 15 hours) were now expected to sleep either on the floor or in an upright position on hard seats! And, that I could not
believe that this was the standard practice of such a prestigious company as EGYPTAIR. He then dropped the bombshell that he was unable to offer us any alternative, as a curfew was in force and we were not allowed to leave the Airport!

My wife also challenged him about the cost of the visas, as she had by then acquainted herself with the actual exchange rate, and he told us that the visa cost was a matter which we should take up with our ‘agent’ who had supplied them! It was only then that we realised that the man who had emerged from behind the EGYPTAIR Information Desk, purporting to be an EGYPTAIR representative, was nothing of the sort. He was no more than a common thief who had actually been aided in his criminal activity by your staff allowing him to hang around (behind) your Information Desk while waiting to fleece any unsuspecting EGYPTAIR customers!!!! This is a most unsatisfactory situation,
which should be attended to immediately!   

Obviously, your staff knew that the curfew was in place well before we arrived (50 minutes before the curfew) and could easily have arranged to have someone meet us (only 4 passengers were travelling onwards to Luxor) with visas in hand, and whisked us away to some reasonably comfortable accommodation before the 21.00 deadline. As well as saving us from an extremely uncomfortable night in the Airport (and losing the next two days through being sleep deprived) we would also have been saved from the silver-tongued thief at your Information Desk!

None of us managed to snatch more than a few minutes sleep during the night, as along with being very uncomfortable and having a nearby television blaring away, there was an almost constant stream of passengers to and fro.
What interested me particularly was that many of these groups of passengers were dragging their baggage along with them, with the annoying buzz of plastic wheels on the tiled floor! This made me wonder where they were coming from and where they were going to? It seemed quite obvious that they were either newly arrived at the Airport, or were just leaving! That being the case, there must have been some special relaxation of the curfew to accommodate the transfer of these passengers?

It occurred to me that EGYPTAIR (being the ‘National’ Airline and during this time of almost zero tourism and consequent financial difficulty) should have been able to strike some sort of agreement with the Security Forces whereby incoming tourists would be able to be looked after properly while they were forced to wait overnight for re-arranged flights.

However, seeing as there were only 4 of us travelling from Manchester to Luxor (or so it seemed) and that we were travelling independently (i.e. without the assistance [or the all important influence] of a major Tour Operator or Travel Company); then we were not viewed as being important enough for anyone within
your organisation to bother themselves about, and we were consequently left to our own devices and in a completely unnecessary degree of distress.

Can you categorically state that no-one left, or arrived at the Airport during the hours of the curfew?

I am shocked and saddened by our careless treatment at Cairo International Airport; the actual flight cancellation and subsequent 12 hour ‘imprisonment’
were bad enough, without the further indignity of being robbed by someone who is obviously well-known to your staff (otherwise why would he have been allowed behind the Information Desk?) and then having the Voucher for food refused at two of the outlets in the Food Village, which made us feel like common beggars!!!! 

I'm sorry about the dodgy spacing here and there, it must be to do with copying and pasting it from Word! But, do you think that should elicit some response from them? I'll let you know how we get on. But for now, I'm going to sign off. (Partly because the Internet connection is playing up, and I'm sick and tired of doing everything three and four times before it actually happens!) Grrrrrr!

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