The boat is moored back at Port Ghalib and I’m on a mission to get a momento of my Egypt trip before flying to London. Browsing for souvenirs, a shop owner asks where I’m from. “Australia”, I say. He introduced himself as Abdul and eagerly shakes my hand as he’s never met an Australian before. Come to think of it, I haven’t met, heard or seen any Australians since arriving in Egypt. It was great. In Egypt, I’m the most exotic white skin you can get. Like a white tiger?
With the knowledge my backpack is at capacity, I ask how much a small decorated thimble is. “It’s my gift to you” he says, and in addition to the thimble, Abdul ties a small woven bracelet on my wrist. Wow. I’m genuinely moved… He legitimately expects nothing back (most do) but asks I tell my friends to visit Egypt and tries to befriend me on Facebook… too bad I’m not on the book.
The transfer to Hurghada airport is 2 hours late. Italia is coming along for the ride to catch a bus from Hurghada to Alexandria. It’ll be a miracle if I make the flight at all.
“I saw many times nemo today”, exclaims Italia. Man, this kid is clown fish obsessed… actually, he’s obsessed with ocean life in general, taking hundreds of videos and photos of generally unremarkable and common species. I’d hate to see him in a shop filled with shiny things.
“I wish you were coming to Milan, you could stay with me at my house and I’d cook for you”, says Italia… he’s hoping I miss the flight 😂 I tell him, he’ll always have the memories. “What if the memory is not enough?” He replies with a sadness in his eyes… (even though I spend the majority of the time just saying, “no” to him). Admittedly, it’s all very lovely in the boat bubble, yet in the real world, my emotional complexity (and a long list of other super attractive traits) would quickly extinguish his interest.
Randomly, I mention my favourite colour is green. “Mine too… And red” he says. Right…. all the colours of the Italian flag.
Getting to the airport, I run to check in. Security advises I’m at the wrong airport and to take a taxi to another terminal, 5 minutes away. Fizzle sticks! A frantic race up the road, I go to check in. Without prompting or asking, the airline upgraded me to “economy plus”. Unsure what that means. Fingers crossed I’m not on the same flight as the crazy pommy woman who abused me for adhering to the directions of the airport staff...
The following is to be read with a thick pommy accent.
Pommy lady: “ya think you’re better than everyone else and can get away with cutting in line, ya think we don’t see you… I’m trying to give you life advice so you don’t have people being agro with you ya whole life, cos now ya got 8 people pissed off cos you cut the line”.
I try to explain I was following airport staff directions to go to the front so as not to miss my flight yet she continued to carry on like a pork chop…
Revert back to thick pommy accent.
Pommy lady: “I don’t care bout ya bullshit story… Manchester, Prince Harry, can I ava cuppa tea, Brexit”.
Riveting exchange. Jog on love.
Goodbye Egypt, with your delicious beans, baba ganoush, fried eggplant, hummus, flat bread, falafels and desert charm. Shukrān habibi.