Journal: Monday 5 April 1999
Ahmed came with his taxi early this morning to drive me along the quiet mist-covered West Bank roads to the airport. We crossed the bridge and drove through Luxor while I watched the town waking up and beginning a new day. A mile or two out of Luxor is the airport entrance with an old military plane sitting proudly on display by the traffic control gate. Once inside the gate I always feel like I am in prison – there is no turning back and I am committed to going back to England. My flight was due to take off at 8.30am and happily my very overweight suitcase went through baggage check-in without comment. Each time I go home it gets easier because I know I will be back.
The departure lounge had been spruced up a bit and this time I could see out of the windows. At 8.30am the Egyptair plane with its Horus Logo on the tail was out on the tarmac waiting, so why were we not boarding? After another hour the announcement came. Our plane had damaged a wheel on landing and new parts had to be flown in from Cairo. Was this to be a repeat of my delayed departure last year? Well, not quite, but it was 5.00pm when we eventually got airborne. I seem to be destined to spend long hours in Luxor airport, which is not my favourite place in the world.
My journey home doesn’t end at Heathrow. I still had to catch a train down to Cornwall and had missed my connections by about ten hours. Luckily I just managed to catch the sleeper train from Reading and arrived home at 8.30am on Tuesday. Why do I put myself through this gruelling journey? Well, I know the answer to that and I would do it again tomorrow given the chance!