Last day of the holiday. I got up the moment I got my wake-up call - to make the most of what was left - and had brekky. Filled out my comments sheet, all 'goods' and 'excellents' and mostly the latter. Edna was in full swing this morning - having scared off the people at her own table with her incessant tales of travelling, she then started yapping to a table of Aussies sat opposite her. We didn't pay much attention until the magic phrase appeared, at which point our ears pricked up and we all had to stifle a laugh. It went something like this: "Rhubarb rhubarb blah blah rhubarb blah blah blah rhubarb blah blah rhubarb when I went to Jordan blah rhubarb blah blah rhubarb ..." Laugh? I nearly spat a mouthful of Lipton tea all over Ahmed who was now sitting opposite me. Stayed the night then, Ahmed?
While we were waiting for the bus to arrive to take us to the airport, I asked John to take a picture of me and Kali - should have got one yesterday in front of the step pyramid really, but instead we had the dramatic backdrop that is Green Star Bazaar.
Our bus to the airport didn't arrive so we jumped in a fleet of taxis to make our way there. There were bad hold-ups on the way as President Hosni Mubarak and the King of Denmark went past in a motorcade. It looked like we might not make the flight in time, but hey, this is Egyptian time! In the end we got there 1/2 hour after check-in, less one taxi - Andy, John, Rosemary and Reine were nowhere to be seen. The Egyptian Explore rep ushered those of us that were present in to a chaotic Cairo check-in and once our bags were tagged he said goodbye. In all the last minute confusion and rush to get on the plane in time we hadn't got to say a proper goodbye to Kali, which was a real shame - and of course, as a non-Egyptian, Kali couldn't come in to the airport to see us off. Besides, I think she was too busy flapping about where the last taxi had got to.
The last taxi did turn up, albeit twenty minutes after everyone else, and so it was that I found myself waiting in a queue to have my passport checked with John stood just behind me.
"Remind me," he said.
"Remind you what?" I asked him.
"Just remind me," he replied, somewhat cryptically.
"When?" I asked, becoming concerned at this point.
"When we get through passport control," he said.
I then started checking my back to see if someone had put a 'kick me' sticker on it; I checked my flies to be sure they weren't open; I wondered what contraband I might inadvertently be carrying through. In short, I wondered what the hell John was on about. Had he stashed a 'hard boiled egg' about my person perhaps?
I got through passport control without a hitch and took a look around the duty-free shop but bought nothing. I'd done enough buying for one holiday already. As I walked out I noticed that John too had got through passport control.
"What is it then?" I asked him
John stepped forward, gave me a big hug and said: "Message from Kali."
On the plane, as it taxied for take-off, I looked down at Cairo and felt a big lump in my throat as I knew we'd soon be leaving. It's official: I really didn't want to leave. I tried to be cool about it as we lifted off the ground but I had to admit defeat. There were a few tears. Soft git, I can't have that happening every time I go on holiday now can I? Luckily, with my window seat I could turn away from the other passengers and look out over the ever-diminishing landscape and have a snivel without making a complete pratt of myself.
Still, it wasn't all sadness, and no story is complete without a happy ending, so it was a good tonic to hear that Martin had drawn the short straw and had to put up with the sound of Edna's voice for five hours. He was feeling ill to start with, poor bloke, so he must have felt wretched by the end of the flight! Not a great end to the holiday for him but a giggle for everyone else.
I was told before my holiday that I would get the travel bug - they were right. I hope this diary is merely the first chapter.