Having practically circumnavigated the world and since retired and become an assisant CEO of Florida vacation villa rental website of http://www.fabvillas.com I thought I would start to write about the trials and tribulations of same, the travel not the website that is.
Do you use a travel agent or go it alone? Having done both I think the latter is my preference. Nothing difficult in booking a flight to your chosen destination and if your truly adventurous wait till you arrive and get a taxi to take you to a hotel.
My first experience of this was on a trip my wife and I were taking to final destination Oman in the Gulf.
We started to book the flights as stated above and having questioned the price, it was so cheap, it was like the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! The reason for the low price was a) Its not direct b) Its with Egyptian Air and b) the pilot might ask you the way.
That now prompted the wife to say well if it’s going to Cairo we can go and see the pyramids. Like we were visiting long lost friends on the way. Maybe she was, friends from a former life, maybe?
We opted for British Airways in the end (at least the pilot would know the way) and to make it special we opted for Business class as well.
Off we set-to London Airport and from there to Cairo
Arriving in Cairo in the evening. I had taken the time to ask the party that we were eventually meeting in Oman, if he could recommend a suitable hotel in the area. Bad move. The man in question was a minister in the government and as such was accustomed to 1st class everything. Me?
A London cabbie and wife on an adventure.
The hotel verbally recommended was The Oberoi Mena House. So armed with this information my wife and I leave the terminal building into the heady and balmy night air of Cairo. Walk across to the taxi rank and ask the first taxi driver to take us to The Mena House please. You would have thought I had just asked him to sell his daughter into slavery
Remember I have been in this position at Heathrow, where I used to conduct business. I said to my wife, “Oh it must only be local”. This was purely on the cab drivers actions and the look on his face. That pleading look in his eyes, that I must have shown many times. The look that says or (you hope it does) “Oh please guv not me I’ve waited here for over an hour and you only want to go round the corner” Ever had it happen to you?
I was ready to capitulate when all of a sudden a scruffily dressed policeman approached two bewildered tourists and this cab driver who was acting like he had just been diagnosed with some terminal illness and won the lottery at the same time.
“You have a problem” said the policeman. “No, I don’t think so” I said. “Where do you want to go?” he enquired. “Well we wanted to go to the Mena House, but if its only local we’ll take a bus or maybe they have a courtesy service?” says I defending the cabbie in his efforts to “broom the job”
In a most authoritative voice the officer turned to the driver and said “Mena House” accompanied by a cursory wave of the hand.
Still naively trying to defend this hard done by cab driver, I interject “Hey! Look if it’s local I’ll take a bus. How much will it cost to get there?” The policeman repeated the enquiry to the driver. The reply “Eleven Pounds” That in someway told me that it was in fact a short ride. Wrong!!!!!
So the cases were placed into the boot of this beat up vehicle. Nothing like the regulation vehicle I was used to pushing around the streets of the capital back in the UK.
Of paramount importance is the horn must be in full working order. The other attribute is a heavy right foot. So at breakneck speed we departed the airport area and entered what the driver must have. thought The Indianapolis 500.
After 30 minutes or so of swerving, hooting an gasping the white knuckle ride was coming to and end and we were treated to the sight of the pyramids. My wife and I in unison exclaimed Wow!
We had arrived at this opulent and historic hotel “Oberoi Mena House Hotel was originally a royal lodge built for Egypt’s Vice King Khedive Ismail and used when he and friends were hunting in the desert or visiting the pyramids.”
The cabbie sprung out of this deathtrap he had the gall to describe as a taxi, I asked “How much” he smiled a toothy grin and replied,” Eleven Pounds effendi” Feeling entrepreneurial I handed him Fifteen pounds. Well you’d have thought I had just given him the key to unlocking King Tuts personal fortune. He bowed and scraped as he took the suitcases into the reception area brushing aside the liveried staff.
That was the start of the adventure