?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Homepage Previous Previous Next Next
Sharm El Sheikh - Day 0 - The Paranoid Android
...musings of a mechanically depressed robot...
paranoidandroid
paranoidandroid
Sharm El Sheikh - Day 0
The flight booked is an XL airlines flight leaving at 2:45 from Gatwick. I have to get to the dive shop at 10:00 to pick up my gear, then Simon and I will get a lift to Gatwick from Nadia to meet up with the other guys. Nadia is an Egyptian who has never been to Egypt before! The curse of me and travel strikes early. Half of the Underground system is broken. Of the three routes I had planned - all three were not entirely working. I did find a replacement bus service so I could get onto a bit of the rail network that was working... and there was a bus waiting there for me!

The bus driver it would seem was a bit new at his job... and we stormed off down a road that was clearly marked "Closed" and even more clearly too narrow for a bus to do a three point turn... but that didn't stop him! We knocked over a chain link fence and almost smashed the front of the bus on the rather large brick wall and all the time we were crunching the underside of the bus on the high curbs. We eventually found the correct route... and I got a couple of DLR trains to get to the shop. It was just as well I am paranoid about travel and had given myself a little under two hours to do a journey that would normally take 40 minutes.

Lard was at the shop and handed me my ticket and showed me my gear. After exchanging mobile numbers so we can meet up again at the airport, he sets off.

Simon arrives shortly after and we pass the time waiting for Nadia looking at photos from a previous trip to Sharm. Nadia arrives just after 10 and we all set off. She drives us all the way up the A13 to the M25... passing just a mile or so from my front door.

We manage to get to Gatwick in fairly good time... Nadia is not afraid of putting her foot down and there are no traffic problems. There is no sign of Lard, Tim or Una. We find the queue for XLA which is quite some size and settle in for the luggage shuffle. It is not long before I am accosted by a holiday rep. She has spotted the Tony Backhurst tags on my luggage and informs me that she is very sorry - but the flight will be delayed. Instead of a 14:45 flight it will be closer to a 18:45 flight.

The travel curse is back in force! Tim, Una and Lard arrive just as I check my luggage. They too are informed of the delay... and manage to blag their way to the front of the check in queue! The final insult - we are not allowed into the departure lounge until about 2-3 hours before take off.

Needless(?) to say we find ourselves a pub and have ourselves a full english breakfast and a pint. Another pint follows and as the minutes drag by I succumb to SuDoKu.

We are finally allowed passed the security point into the departure lounge. I set off the metal detector but am waved through... and the guy at the X-ray machine asks me am I diving. When I reply that I am, he asks if I have any dive gear in my carry on. I have... I had put my Octopus in my back pack as there is a dive computer on it and I didn't think it needed the ground crews throwing it about! The X-Ray man is happy and I get my bag back... no further checks required. I'm not entirely sure if that is a good thing!

We have another couple of hours to kill... so I find some more food... and some more beer... and sit by a window watching the lucky ones who have managed to fly away.

About twenty past six we get the okay to go to the gate. I know there is absolutely no chance we are going to board and take off in 25 minutes! Our bagage handlers are on a go slow and we finally take off about half past seven.

We land in Sharm at 02:30 local time. Getting off the plane I am hit with a warm blast of air. I am slightly worried about the coming days and my ability to cope with the heat.

There is a long queue for visas. I feel smug because we've all paid up front for ours and we won't need to queue... which fades rapidly as the guy with our visa takes forever to stick them in our passports so we end up at the back of the immigration queue anyway... d'oh!

The queue for immigration is long and slow moving. To speed it up(?) they have one window that deals with passports with visas and one that deals with those without. As I try to get into the queue for those with a visa a large family from the Indian sub-continent barge their way past me... it is in keeping with the way my luck is going that their passage through immigration takes about 35 minutes. There was at least three different nationality passports produced... some of the family had more than one passport and were swapping for maximum effect... and one of the women was wearing a Burqa and was reluctant to show her face to passport control who were all male. My views on this are borderline rabid and best kept to myself.

After that it was little surprise that I was the last to get my bags! We all head to the bus which had been waiting patiently for about 6 hours and make our ways to the hotel. I notice a military style check-point just before the hotel but I'm too knackered to register properly.

The hotel isn't particularly organised... I have to hand over my passport for the "Tourist police" to check... I am assured it will be available for me to pick up tomorrow.

I'm told I'll have to share a room. Simon and I are to be roomies for the duration. I'm too knackered to care - I just want my bed. A porter type guy carries out bags to the room! He gets a couple quid for his troubles... those bags are bloody heavy!

We find there is no bottled water in the room... Simon goes on a mission to find some. I climb into bed, set the alarm for a couple hours later and die...

Tags: ,
Current Location: Sharm El Sheikh
Current Mood: hot hot
Current Music: Fade To Gray - Visage

Leave a comment