Journal: Monday 3 November 2003
I arrived at Heathrow in the middle of a baggage handler’s strike, but thankfully there was little evidence of it as I met up with six of the other people I am going to Egypt with. My friend Sam is leading our little expedition and she has already gone on ahead to Egypt to sort out our final travel plans.
Most of my travel companions are friends of Sam’s who have expressed a wish to do a trip in the Western Desert and they are members of her local Egyptology society. Tom, Tim and Judy, Elizabeth, Val and Kevin were already waiting in terminal 3 when I arrived so we all went off to check in for our 2.00pm flight to Luxor. Kevin I already know, a friend of mine who lives near me. Although the plane was an hour late leaving, we had a good flight in Egypt Air’s old jumbo ‘Hatshepsut’, a familiar plane I had flown in before and we were able to get to know each other a little on the way.
That old familiar concoction of a warm gentle night breeze and the various smells of Luxor – spices, animals and dust, hit us as soon as we left the aircraft. It’s good to be back, even though it’s only nine months since I was last here. By 10.00pm we all trooped out of the airport terminal and were met by Sam with the minibus that she has arranged for two weeks at which point the others will be returning home. I, however, am staying for three weeks.
We checked into the New Radwan Hotel in Luxor near the railway station and by Midnight the rest of the group, tired from the long journey went off to bed. I’d gone to have a shower, but finding the water turned off in my room I ended up chatting with Sam in the hotel lounge until around 3.00am. However tired I am – and I’d been up on the overnight train to London all last night – I always get a new lease of energy as soon as I arrive here.