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This is a Trip Report with a difference
It’s a ‘post trip’ Trip Report titled ……… Oh Sh!t - I’ve Lost my Passport

Thursday
After a wonderful weeks diving at the Brothers and Elphinstone on Excel - it was time to leave my 'ocean going luxury liner' and head for home

We packed up our gear collected our passports and paid our bar bills and well deserved crew tips

We drove from Marsa Alam to Hurghada in record time and checked into the Marriott
My journey in October took over 8 hours !

l decided to get myself organised for the return flight
l took out my travel clothes, ticket, passport ..... ‘Oh Sh!t - I’ve Lost my Passport’

Somewhere between leaving Excel and arriving at the Marriott my passport went missing

My room mate, Jill, checked my gear and bags
My tour rep Ashraf also checked my bags ... Nothing

Ashraf happened to be in the Marriott sorting out another guest (Puffin) issue and if it was not for him l would probably still be in Hurghada

At 11pm we went to the Tourist Police to report this incident
There was a blackout!
l could make out the machine guns that the officers were carrying

After sitting in the dark for 45 minutes we decided to come back the next day

Friday
We were moved from room to room in the Police Station
There was much chatter in Arabic - which l could not understand

At one point the chatter became animated and quite loud
Someone then asked me where my father was from
Ashraf later told me that they looked at the colour of my skin and did not believe that l was Britsh
They thought that l was from Pakistan and that l was here to cause trouble
Where in fact my father is from lndia
This took quite some persuading
Ashraf explained to them that he had known me for seven years and that l am a frequent traveler to Egypt

After quite some time sitting around and Ashraf making numerous phone calls the Head guy started to complete a form in Arabic then we were on our way

Ashraf's father is a General for the Government so he pulled a few strings and got the process pushed thru quicker than it could have taken

Ashraf then booked me into the Hilton for the next night - the Marriott was full

After checking into the Hilton - which is still under reconstruction - l booked a room at the lnterContinental in Cairo and went to the Egypt Air office to book a flight
The very helpful lnternet engineer at the Hilton advised me on the lnterContinental as it is the closest hotel to the Embassy

l then raced back to the Marriott where the rest of my group were to be collected at 4.20
l had really neglected them since my passport discovery

They were all such nice people to be with on a liveaboard (well, some of them anyway)
Jill, Mike, Dave, Gareth, Gary, lan
xxx thanku

But it seems that they left early and l missed them by minutes

l called my sister and asked her to sort out my diary for the next week and to call my travel insurance company
lt turned out that if l pay a $30 excess l am then covered for up to $750
So, l thought that would more than cover my hotels, flight from Hurghada to Cairo and Cairo to Heathrow – l was wrong, it became much more !

Saturday
l'm waiting now for my flight to Cairo
I didn't think that anything would go wrong from now on
l have a permit from the Police to be in the country
l just need to go to the British Embassy in Cairo and get a travel permit to take a BA flight from Cairo to Heathrow
And my hotel is minutes away from the Embassy so l will be there extra early

Ashraf had already arranged for my free return flight from Hurghada the following Friday
But, l figured if l can fly BA from Cairo any earlier than that and Heathrow is closer to where l live than Gatwick - and that saves me from flying back to Hughada

Ashraf met me at the airport and explained to the staff that l was not traveling with a passport and why only then would they let me thru

l don't recommend Egyptian Air for internal flights
They threw a muffin and a fruit juice carton at us as we were still banking and collected the empties less than ten minutes later
l do however recommend the lnterContinental SemiRamis in downtown Cairo and in walking distance to the Consulate - just in case your reason for being in the city is the same as mine
I checked in at 11.30pm

Sunday
On Sunday morning l met another representative from SCUBA UK
A stunningly handsome man named Mardy

Unfortunately, he went to the wrong lnterContinental
But, we still made it to the Embassy before 9.30am

Mardy was not allowed past the first reception – so, l was on my own
There were quite a few people waiting to see the Consulate mostly about passports
After completing a new passport form l was asked for LE680
l had about $100 made up of four different currencies to get me thru the next few days

Armed with my credit card l tried to get some cash from two bank - who didn't want to know

I then went to Thomas Cook
The only ld l had was my PADI card
So, l gave him that and he typed my reference number into the system

Somehow he accepted this and back l went with my LE680 for my passport
l was told 'no problem, your passport will be ready on Tuesday'

On the way back to the hotel Mardy held my hand and we walked along the Nile
He said to me 'this is the perfect place for two lovers to walk'!
l had earlier decided that he was holding my hand as protection for myself from other people
So that l would not get hassled by them and so l don't get run over – there are no zebra crossings in Cairo and possibly no driving tests either

Monday
The next day l decided to do the tourist thing
l went to visit the pyramids and the Egyptian Museum
As this was my fifth trip to Egypt l thought l had better do something cultural ? And get a better appreciation of the country

Tuesday
Back to the Embassy with Mardy holding my hand
More waiting around
Azza the lady at the Consulate assured me that l will have my new passport for Wednesday not Tuesday and l can fly on Thursday 'no problem'
l looked at her paperwork and noticed that the passport details on the fax from the UK were for my old passport which had been cancelled
After pointing this out she said 'no problem you will have your passport for Thursday - this would be too late for my early morning BA flight
So she said she will check and l must call her later

Later that afternoon l spend a few hours walking around Old Cairo and the famous Bazzar

After speaking to Azza she said 'no problem' l will be able to fly on Thursday - so, l booked my flight

Wednesday
l called Azza at 8.30am to check what time l could collect my passport
After being told that it would be ready for 1pm - l told her that that was no good as l still needed my stamps from the Government office
She said that the Government office will remain open for such emergencies

After waiting an hour l had a new passport in my hands by 1.40pm
Mardy found out that we must be at the Government office before 2pm to get the stamps
We then ran to the Government office - along those endless corridors and looking in all the offices - l'm suprised no-one stopped us

After completing another form l handed it to the official
We had the same discussion about how can l be British, she thought l was actually Egyptian
'Tomorrow' she said in Arabic
We were too late and she was not going to change her mind!

l'm glad l booked a flexible BA ticket
l changed the date to Friday

Thursday
Once a gain Mardy met me in the hotel lobby and we went to see the Government Official

She saw me coming and shout ‘sit’ waving at a chair
After a few minutes I heard someone shout ‘British’ – looking around l decided that must be me
I walked over to the voice
A large man took my passport from my hands and handed it to someone else who marched off shouting ‘sit’ at me and waving to the chair

With stamps in my new passport, e-ticket in hand, and a packed dive bag l was ready to go
I spend the afternoon in a coffee shop reading in the sunshine as l knew that tomorrow it would be 5 degress celcius

In the past few days l had had a few calls from friends who had expected me back the week before or responding to my emails/ texts
Word had now got round the office too
Their reactions were anything from 'fantastic you get to stay on in Egypt' and 'you lost your passport on purpose to extend your stay' to 'be careful, don't go out alone'

I will be made fun of big time when l get back
Roger had already told me that he will ask the band at my local club to dedicate 'Walk Like an Egyptian' by the Bangles to me – this track is on their play list every gig

Friday
I checked out of the hotel at 5.15am
Way too early for - but that was the only BA flight to Heathrow

HOME

ls all this going to deter me?
No, l will be back on Excel for the deep south in August
l have already warned Ashraf and he told me that he will be there waiting for me !

The two tour reps representing Travel Line and Tony Backhurst showed the highest degree of professionalism, dedication and responsibility
And I feel confident that l am traveling with a first class tour company that truly values and looks after it’s guests
 

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Jet

Ahhh Adventure is the spice of life


I enjoyed Cairo as well, did you take in the light show at the pyramids? Richard Burtons rich tones add so much to it, Not to be missed although i kept looking for Roger Moore and Jaws fighting off to one side (Moonraker).

Sounds like your trip cost more than mine, but i did have to tab around the Desert with a bunch of Cabbage Heads (40 Commando Royal Marine).

Glad you got back safe in the end.

Regards

Paul
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Paul Oliver @ Mar. 13 2004,22:34)]Jet

I enjoyed Cairo as well, did you take in the light show at the pyramids? Richard Burtons rich tones add so much to it, Not to be missed although i kept looking for Roger Moore and Jaws fighting off to one side (Moonraker).

Paul
Paul

LOL
Actually, l did not enjoy Cairo at all
Except for the one day that l spend at the pyramids and the museum - l am really pleased that l had the opportunity to do that

l didn't do the light show - but, l did hear good things about it My funds were low - and l spent more than my insurance will pay out

Richard Burton?

l am going to stick to the Red Sea from now on

Jet
 

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Oh Dear showing my age


Regards

Paul
 
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