Chaos in Cairo

Well an early start - Lorraine and Mark knocked on my door and said a final goodbye and I was dressed and ready to go. (they were due to be picked up at 6:30) A few minutes later my phone rang and the taxi was there for me even though it wasn't booked until 7. So off I went - got to the airport at 7:15 and the airline did not open up until 8 a.m. They would not let me into the check in area - it was secured with a guard who would not let me in. So had to sit and wait. Finally got checked in but only got a boarding pass as far as Cairo as my flight to London was with BMI - part of the Star Alliance with Egypt Air. (as Air Canada is) The flight to Cairo was okay and I even got a meal (free) for the 75 min. flight - which was a lucky thing.
In Cairo we got to arrivals and all transits were bussed to the transit area. As I was walking in a fellow looked at my ticket and said "flight cancelled, bad weather London - number three, get luggage and go to hotel". I am like 'what". Trying to ask him what is going on, is it rescheduled but he ignored me. Anyway he led me outside and put me on a bus that took me to arrivals. He kept saying number three number three. I'm like what is going on - had to wait in line and go through customs and of course they didn't let me in as I had no valid visa - mine had been used. the customs guy rolled his eyes at me and jabbed his thumb towards the so called transit area there. You don't want to know what I was muttering at this point but it wasn't very nice. Of course the person at the transit area there had no clue so put me on another bus - guess where to. Back there I was absolutely fuming and nearly in tears with frustration. I could not find anyone who spoke English I could understand and not only that they took away my passport and ticket - I was told later because I had no visa and who knows I might want to stay in the country illegally (NOT). I had to go to the bathroom so badly and dying of thirst so took care of those problems all the time worried about what was going on. I kept going to talk to a different person each time and found one who spoke English and explained my flight was cancelled and the other 12:45 flight was delayed. He said probably it would get cancelled so they would send us to a hotel. While I was standing there they paged London passengers to come to the gate so they all came and were herded up and taken to a hotel - all except the few of us who did not have a visa. (was told later that once they got to the hotel and were checking in they were hauled out again and told that the flight was now going) We had to wait around. I started talking to a fella in the same situation as me - he'd be travelling from South Africa since the previous evening so was exhausted. We got the ticket agent to let us call London (I wasn't supposed to tell anyone they let me!) so I was able to get ahold of Simon (B & B guy) and tell him I'd be late. At that point I got my passport, ticket back and a boarding pass as well as my luggage tag changed. Anyway they gave us vouchers to MacDonalds of all places. Yuck. So MacDonalds two days in a row when I never eat there. (my system rebeled the next day) Anyway there ended up with four of us sitting together - two men from Sudan joined us and we talked about everything. It passsed the time. I was also chatting to an English fellow and he is the one who came running up to us and said the flight is loading. No announcement! This was 5:45. We took off at 7.

I had a row all to myself so was able to stretch out. That was the good part. The meal was vile but of course I had that "good" MacDonalds meal inside me to keep me going.

Arrived into Heathrow and no line for customs - more good news. I tried reaching Simon but the line was busy, busy. A fellow let me use his mobile on the tube so I talked to Simon's wife. I worried the whole time that I would not get to Golders Green on time to get the last bus to the B & B.

Well I got there and no bus....(found out later it wasn't running that day because of the storm) so luckily I was able to get a taxi cruising by. A miracle as they aren't that common. Someone was watching out for me. I get to the B & B - lights on so I thought "good". NOT. I rang the bell, pounded on the door and nothing - finally after five minutes (felt like twice that) Rosie answered apologizing saying they had fallen asleep. I was so upset thinking here I am at 12:30 at night with no place to sleep and utterly exhausted.

Anyway it was good to get to bed. I didn't even try dragging my suitcase up the stairs - just threw off my clothes and fell into bed.

And that's the end of my story.

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