Back from Egypt yesterday morning..
ideally I should be telling you how wonderful Egypt is, the architecture, the culture, the all-so-interesting history of Egypt that I got to enjoy in the first few days of my trip. But all that seems to be blacked out in the events of the last four days of my visit.
You’ll must have read from the papers about the protests..so to cut the story short..
The day we got back from the Nile Cruise and landed on the Cairo airport we were stranded at the airport where we had to spend the night because of the curfew. We moved to a hotel for the next night in spite of the warnings not to enter Cairo and the curfews. We should have heeded to the warnings cuz that night v couldn’t sleep one wink. Military and the tankers were everywhere around Cairo. We could hear the bullets firing, fighter jets flying over our heads, laser lights falling on the buildings, people screaming and to add to all this we didn’t understand the language. Our co-ordinator later told us, the prisoners had broken out of the jails and raided police stations to get arms and ammunitions to loot the common people. The Cairo Museum was also looted. All this filled us with fear and made us wonder whether we would ever be able to get back to India.
We did manage to reach the airport the next day. Though it was safe there, all the food, water and even the toilet papers were exhausted. There was no way of communication. Internet was barred and the recharge cards for the cellphone were all sold out at the convention stores. Tourists had no option but to sleep on the cold floors or some lucky ones found cardboards to sleep on.
The ‘EgyptAir’ airlines did not understand or care for the tourists in any way. They kept cancelling the flights and also didn’t bother to reschedule them. To ask one small query like “whether our flights cancelled or delayed” everyone had to stand in a large queue.
We changed our airlines and did manage to get seats in “Gulf Air” travelled to Bahrain and then Mumbai. On our flight we had a few residents from Egypt fleeing the country. They had left their homes,cars and everything else behind to never return back(so they said).
Such was the condition, and the Indian Embassy could have done better to help their people. There were embassies who had come to search for their people and some embassies had arranged free flights back to the country. But the Indian Embassy increased the flight charges to double the rates even in this situation.
Admist all this, I did meet a few very nice people in egypt..Our tour coordinator from Egypt managed to calm us down even when he was tensed about his family in Alexandria. A Bengali girl I met at the Cairo train station, who was also visiting Egypt with her family. Later we kept bumping into each other at every place we visited and got all so happy to meet yet again. It was nice to meet Sophie(I forgot her korean name again! Sophie was animated when the topic moved on to talk Indian movies and specifically ‘3 Idiots’), Hrishi(A sweet lil kid who was ready to leave his family to get on a flight with me) and Humsa I met at the airport..
People keep saying that your life changes once you visit Egypt. And indeed this would be one of the most unforgettable journeys in my life.