Journal: Monday 22 March 1999
An overnight train journey to Reading and a coach from there to Heathrow, once more saw me waiting in the airport departure lounge, excited to be going back to Egypt. Since I left Luxor in November last year, my friend Robin had been living in an apartment there and although I was making the journey alone this time, Robin and I were looking forward to going to lots of places together. The trip was smooth and my Egyptair flight arrived on time, touching down in Luxor at 9.00pm. Yet again I experienced the thrill of standing at the top of the aircraft steps and feeling that warm Egyptian night breeze in my face, with its exotic desert perfumes. This is always the best moment – and I left the plane behind to get onto the airport bus, knowing I had two weeks of adventure ahead of me.
Robin and our English friend David were a welcome party, come to the airport with a taxi to meet me. After hugs all round, we loaded my luggage into the taxi and we were on our way, chattering excitedly all the way through Luxor and over the bridge to the West Bank. Before long we were in Geziret where I was once more staying at the el-Gezira Hotel, my home from home. I should have been dropping with tiredness after my 24-hour journey, but I was in Egypt and as usual it had totally invigorated me. I didn’t wind down enough to sleep until after another couple of hours of drinks and conversation on the hotel roof terrace, where the familiar welcoming hotel staff felt like a second family.