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Siwa: an oasis in the heart of the Sahara #1

Day 1: the trip to Cairo

This article describes Day 1, the trip to Cairo in details.

7:30 AM

The taxi driver arrives and clearly doesn’t have the car to drive us all with our luggage to the airport in Geneva.

After 15 minutes of giving himm a change, we decided to take our car that he drove.

He was very nice and brought the car back safely.

11:30 AM

Barely 5 minutes at the airport and security people storm outside to lock a huge portion of the airport and the firemen arrive: there is a suspect luggage left without attendance.

Thankfully, only 1 hour later, the airport is freed again and checking desks are made available again.

3:00 PM

The flight had 1 hour delay so we got to the gate with almost no waiting. And there were no issue with the boarding and the COVID madness.

Before the take-off, we made sure to remind our host in Cairo that we had a lot a luggage, especially after the taxi incident. No surprise: our host tells us he can’t pick us but kindly book us a taxi from Cairo airport to his place.

3:00 PM > 8:00 PM

The flight was short of 4 hours. We met a very nice saoudi arabia man who helped us to download the e-visa for me and the twins… Yes, we forgot them at home somehow…

8:00 PM > 10:00 PM

In Cairo airport, we had no issues with the COVID PRC certificates.

The VISA was a joke: we didn’t need to present any for me and the girls, even though I read we have to print it out…

And Aurélie took 5 minutes of waiting at the line to buy a $25 visa stamp from a dedicated shop… And that’s it. No question, no passport required. Maybe because it was 8PM or because it was a sunday? The shop even took Euros at the time, in case you are wondering!

Then, while waiting for and getting the luggage, which took ages to come, we had to contact somehow the taxi driver: either we would buy a local simcard (plenty shops saling them on site) or ask someone to call him.

Thankfully the same saoudi man from the plane was waiting like us to get his luggage too. He helped us but the original taxi booked was gone already (we were too late) and our host had been given a different number of another taxi. But that we didn’t know because we had no Internet connection.

It was a little challenging because it was really difficult to know who could be trusted and could not.

You have to be watchful, see the signs in people who genuinely want to help and those who are seeking opportunity to rob foreigners like us.

Finally, an airport employee helped us call the taxi driver and another man came, wearing a big cloak, talking little english, and told us to follow him.

I had a sense that he was trustworthy because he talked back to the employee who pointed to us.

We followed him and another man, older, joined us and we were told he was our driver.

Soon, we were in the minibus and off we went on one of the most craziest ride in Cairo’s traffic which was pretty quiet but wow, driving was either a race or a game of avoidance, slalomming between cars, playing the honk and flashing the lights to other drivers.

We were told this is the way in Egypt!

Less than 1 hour later, we arrived, safe and sound Zayed city, the town where our host and his family live.

Credit: Hero photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

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