Saturday, November 13, 2010

Baggage Drop-off

So here we are, eating breakfast with the pyramids looming over our table, and we are talking about Jon. He'd sent an e-mail reminding us to have plenty of 1 Egyptian pound notes with us so we could buy toilet paper when we went to a public loo. And then he had commented that our new kitchen looks "eerily like our other one".

"He's such a bachelor," I said to LK, and she said to me that she had obviously trained me well for me to be able to understand that.

Oh, did I mention we were having breakfast a stone's throw away from the pyramids?

This is our second day in Cairo, but yesterday was devoted to rest and relaxation. That's because our travel time from airport to airport amounted to 44 hours beginning Wednesday morning and we were very low on energy.

You can make the trip from Hobart to Cairo in about 29 hours, but we are doing the retirement two-step when we travel. First, use frequent flyer points whenever you can, then book the very best deals you can find. Or vice-versa.

In this case, there was a great round-the-world fare from Lufthansa and its partners, which was ideal since we wanted to be in the States for Christmas. So that forced us into a situation where we flew over the Mideast to Frankfurt, sat in the lounge for seven hours and then flew back to the Mideast. It wasn't bad, just long.

The flights were uneventful.  Getting to them, not quite so.

In Melbourne we had to push our luggage trolley from the domestic terminal next door to the international terminal. It wasn't such a long trip - maybe a hundred yards - but when we got there we were one floor lower than we needed to be to check into our international flights.

I should add that the luggage trolley was groaning under the weight of three suitcases which LK had packed "lightly". Well, that's her phrase. The airlines always throws a "Heavy" tag on those "light" suitcases, so one of them is a bit off. I don't think the trolleys are designed for that much weight, because it was a real shoulder-to-the-wheel sort of push to get it rolling.

Anyhow, there was this escalator-type thing that was really just a long conveyor belt set at about a 30-degree angle. (I still don't know where the degree sign is on this Mac!) It moved slowly, and every few feet there was a big red STOP button, along with a sign saying anyone who pushed the STOP button without a real need to do so was subject to prosecution.

Toward the top there was another sign that said to push down hard on the handlebar of the luggage trolley (that releases the wheel lock) and push hard when you got to the top of the whatever-it-was-that-we-were-on (WIWTWWO).

I did that.

Unfortunately it wasn't enough to get 200+ pounds of luggage and trolley over the lip of the WIWTWWO. One bag fell forward, another fell sideways, I moved forward, the trolley trapped my right leg against the side railing, LK moved forward and started to fall over the cabin luggage which had rammed into the tipped-over trolley, another passenger was close behind and backpedaling. And all of this took about 3 seconds before I decided to risk prosecution and hit the STOP button.

Eventually, with a little help from some people at the top of the WIWTWWO, we were able to get my leg out from under the trolley, drag the fallen bags, right the trolley and re-load it. If it were still possible to wound my pride, it would have taken a hit. But let's face it, I'm pretty much over being embarrassed about this clumsiness/falling down stuff.

My shins were both scraped and a bit bloody, and LK was worried that I was going to repeat a very nasty medical episode where I got cellulitis when I scraped my shin in Africa about 15 years ago. I reminded her that we were not yet in Africa, that I could properly clean the scrapes with antibacterial soap and that it wasn't worth worrying about.

She agreed and moved the nag level to Code Yellow for the remainder of the trip, although she did pull a surprise inspection in Frankfurt when she lifted up my pants leg to check my shin - my own personal department of homeland security.

Anyhow, no damage done. And my shins were already so scarred from that other time that it's even hard to tell if they're injured now.

We slept like the pharaohs in our room the first night and are ready to start our tour tomorrow. Our cheap airfares required us to get into Cairo two days earlier than our tour starts, but we were glad to have some time to recuperate. We were also glad to be able to use frequent sleeper points to get free nights in the hotel.

This afternoon we relocate to the hotel where the cruise is putting us up, and tomorrow we officially tour the pyramids. You know, the ones over my shoulder during breakfast.

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