So I took of my coat and we jumped on the bus over to get the luggage, already I could smell the familiar Middle Eastern air, 30 years since I last felt this heat and it all came back. Love it. Anyway to my surprise our four cases spun round on the donkey powered roundabout in quick succession and we were ready to go, obviously no strong unions here.
The Kuoni rep stood waving a clipboard in the air to get everyone's attention and before long he was leading us out through customs and visa checks to the car park where similar snakes of humanity struggled against the heat to drag cases across to a car park full of coaches. So far so good, even Annette's special 3 pound bright Green tartan canvas suitcase had survived the flight, but the towing handle had given up the ghost so I was left to haul this beast as best I could.
We eventually ended up, covered in sweat, by a beat up old bloke alongside a medium sized air conditioned Merc bus. This was the porter who would pass up the suitcases to the driver perched on top yelling for him to get a move on and gesturing for him to start throwing cases upwards. Rule one is tipping. Target for any sort of tip is about 2 EP (Egyptian Pounds) for anything from saving your life to the more trivial taking a photograph. Trouble was, had not got much EP's as exchange rate much better locally than best on offer in UK, so blowed if I am going to tip a 20EP, but the man was more than happy to grasp a large silvery 50p English coin, worth about 5EP. I know I over tipped, after all it was only about a 6 foot throw upwards of an average weight of 20 kilos, but it was our first night.
On board the coach we started to cool off and the rep started his spiel about what we could expect as we drove off into the night towards the Nile and the Sherry Boat. I did not pay a great deal of notice as the microphone distorted most of what he said and I was counting on Annette and the others to listen in for anything important. Although I did catch something about 0500hrs breakfast that I was not expecting.
We arrived at the river and followed the rep through half a dozen riverboats onto ours. Those who have not sailed on the Nile before should be aware that they moor all the boats four or more deep and leave connecting doors open so you walk through several competitors ships before you reach yours. The ship that sails first the following day is always parked on the outside and this often leads to various adroit ship shufflings throughout the day. Our bags were to be hauled down to the cabins by ships crew, more hands in pockets, found me another 50p, damn but I'm generous tonight!
First impressions were that all the boats were of the posh nature, a cut above what we is used to, half a day on JC's narrow boat. The reception desk sorted out our keys, we had 118 (perfect, lots of I've got your number gags!!!) and the kids shared 117. As we had arrived late they had left us sandwiches in our rooms. Well I was not that hungry, but had a terrible thirst and fortunately they had left water too and we had some cans left over from the trip.
The room was one floor down from reception deck and this put us at the water line, for some reason the reception deck cabins were about 20 pounds a night dearer, could not think why, but was soon to find out why. The ship was generally cooler that the night by far and the rooms themselves were air conditioned and we entered into a nice cold blast. Again appeared a touch on the up market side for mere peasants, but we would have to rough it. The sandwiches were covered in cling film and looked like the heat had melted the plastic onto them, the taste was classic British Rail so they were left for the bin. Not much time to unpack as we had the early breakfast and then off out to the Valley of the Kings before it got hot!!! Annette put the drinks and water in the fridge and went to shut the door, which promptly fell off, (Think back to prologue!!!!) I was meanwhile admiring the wall paper in the shower as it started to peal off from the bottom corner. Yes, this was more like it!!!
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