Journal: Friday 11 July 1997
In early June I was sitting on the college steps after a lecture with my three ‘study-buddies’, when Robin said, ‘I saw a really good deal. A week in Luxor, including flight and hotel for £99!’ We sat and mulled over this interesting snippet of information for at least five seconds before chorusing, ‘Lets do it.’. The only problem was that the offer was for July – only a month away and the hottest part of the year in Egypt. Well, I thought, it would be good to experience the country in all seasons and it didn’t take any persuasion at all to get me on a plane back to my beloved Egypt.
Robin, Sam, Eve and I drove to Gatwick together, chattering excitedly and playing tapes of Egyptian music all the way, before meeting up with another friend, Jan, at the airport. The plane was a frustrating hour late on take-off, but soon we were cruising high over the Mediterranean at thirty thousand feet with the jagged white-capped waves swirling around the Greek Islands below us, backed by a vivid sun setting over the western horizon. It was 9.00pm local time and dark by the time we landed in Luxor but the temperature as we walked off the aircraft was 34 degrees C. That feeling of hot dry desert air was wonderful.
We bought our visas, negotiated the crowded baggage hall and were soon on our way into Luxor, drinking in the sounds and smells of a now-familiar town, still bustling with life in the late evening. I felt like I had never been away. This time we were staying at the New Emilio Hotel on Youssef Hassan Street in the centre of town, it was basic but adequate for our needs and to be honest I would have camped on the pavement in a tent, just to be in Egypt again. It had been twenty two hours since I had left home and I slept very well that night.