Not having slept on the plane I expected to fall into bed and go unconscious on arrival at my hotel around 3am. Not a hope – spent most of the night talking with my travelling companion and feeling more awake and excited than sleepy. As to be expected I was not really in the mood for exploring as the City sprang into life from around 6am.
That was rather fortunate as my friend’s luggage had not arrived so we had to make a trip to the airport at 1pm to pick it up. The people there were lovely and helpful but the process took at least an hour. We had a great taxi driver – he was obviously ‘in the zone’ as he zigged and zagged his way through the fast-flowing traffic so we got him to wait for us. The nice man turned off the meter when it reached 75 le – he thought that was enough for his wait.
I can feel a distinct change in the atmosphere everywhere we go. Despite the last 4 years of hardship the people we have met so far seem to be that bit more relaxed and definitely more hopeful for the future. It is obvious the more adventurous tourists and independent travellers are returning – lots of chinese, japanese around.
Everyone we have met so far has asked for less money for services than previously. At the airports in both Luxor and Cairo it is as if workers have been told to treat tourists more gently – we have not experience the frantic pulling of bags by porters etc. as before. They have offered and I have to admit that out of habit I have refused their services. In the last few years I could not be bothered putting up with their hassling for more than I was prepared to tip so I am now in the habit of carrying my own bags. I regret my automatic responses now and wish I had kept small change handy and allowed the baggage handlers to carry my bags.
Note to self: keep small change ready and accept assistance when offered 🙂
Egypt is definitely weaving a new spell around my heart 🙂