Road to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Posted: August 31, 2007 in Education, Information, Out n About, Technology

I’ve been selected to attend an International Youth Forum in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt from the 1st – 3rd September 2007. Wowwwww…… Egypt…… Moses in the Wilderness, Camels, Pyramids and mummies…. Mummiessss???  Ahhhhhhh!!

My trip started in the good ole Jackson’s Airport. I will fly to Singapore, to Bangkok, to Cairo and domestic to Sharm El Sheikh. On paper it looks simple enough, if I depart on Thursday afternoon; I should arrive in Sharm El Sheikh by Friday morning. Too simple in fact!

I figured that if I check-in early Jacksons it will save me tones of time…so I just that. Checking in at 10am while my flights at 3pm. I spend the remaining hours running around (that’s another story) and came back to the airport at 2pm. I saw a long line at the check-in and I was so pleased with my little plot. I though I was a hero….. I’ve beaten Air Niugini and the long lines…..Wooohoooo!!

Well, the celebration was short lived. Good old Air Niugini has come up on top number one again. They have delayed the flight for 4 hours. 4 hours!!!! What the….$%&&??? It seems Air Niugini had run out of aircraft and has loan one of the aircraft from Air Macau and with that delayed….I’m definitely missing my connection on Swiss International Airlines to Bangkok and will have to wait again for the next flight Friday.

So Air Niugini put me up for the night at this cheesy looking hotel called Hotel 81, Princess. And great Air Niugini has checked my baggage to Sharm El Sheikh and I am not seeing it again until I arrive in Egypt. So I am about to spend a night clothes less with Cheesy Princess. Ohhh….Hotel 81 has other family hotels; called Prince, King, and Queen and well…you get the picture. But I just don’t understand why they would stuck my in a Princess Hotel. I was thinking more of a King or a Prince Hotel!!

So I stayed a night in the Cheesy Princess and that was it…I didn’t want to stay in Singapore anymore….so my great mind formulated an idea that if I get up early on go to the airport, I just might be able to change my flight to an early one and get to spend some hours in Bangkok rather here in Singapore. So me, waking at 7am, checking out of Cheesy Princess and on my way to Changi Airport for a flight to Bangkok.

At Changi Airport…I was told that there is only one Swiss International flight to Bangkok a day….and that’s the same one at 9pm in the night. Arrrggghhh!!! You can imagine me seeing my great plan going up in smoke…I am about to spend a hopeless day at Changi. So I wonder up and down one end of Changi for the billionth time until 2:30pm when Swiss International Airlines opened for early check-in.

After checking in I was given a STAT Premier Lounge pass. Oh..My…!!! Yep!! A pass to the STAT Premier Lounger!! Thank you, Swiss International Airlines (I love You)…if that’s what you did. STAT Premier Lounge is a private Lounge for certain business class airlines only. It consists of free unlimited internet service, free massage parlor, shower rooms (towels provided), free drinks and food (eat all you like, self-serve), TV and PlayStation!! Woohooo!!!

I will just be another participant in this forum unlike other forums where I was a presented in some kind of chosen topic. Some of you may say…..why go all the way to Egypt when you won’t be presenter? Well, apart from fully paid round airfares and accommodations by the organizers, Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement, the forum will host very interesting topics.

 The theme of the forum is, The Power of Youth for Peace, Youth SPEAK we LISTEN!” and all the topics are revolved around Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Examples are: 1.Is the media Youth Friendly?, 2.Rules of Engagement; What it takes to Be Safe on the Net, 3.Social Entrepreneur for Peace,4.The Power of Youth in Promoting Peace, 5.New IT skills, New markets, A New Global Citizen and so much more. 

Now most of you will know that I’ve been trying my best to set-up a Youth Radio station. Well, another reason for attending is the possibility that I may make a connection or even find someone who may be interested in buying into the concept. But that’s all in my WISH LISTS!!!

 

 

Update – 3rd September 2007

Survarnabhumi International Airport looks like a great big tunnel from the outside but from the inside, it was a masterpiece. I was spell bounded by how big it was, but I guess there are few flaws in customer relations if you know what I mean.

Obviously, I missed my flight with Egypt Air to Cairo and Air Niugini in Singapore forgot to re-do all my bookings so when I turned up at 2:30 am to check in, they told me the flight is fully booked. Told me to come back and try again tomorrow. That means…another 24 hours waiting at the airport. Arggghhhhhh!!!!

I just gave up and decided to get back to POM, talked to a friend in Brisbane on chat  and he agreed to call Air Niugini to have me flown back to POM in the next available flight with Singapore Air and later with Air Niugini. Well, things go really complicated as Singapore cannot change my flight as my ticket was with Swiss Airways and it was an e-ticket.

Well, miracles do happen and somehow I was able to get the next flight to Cairo after waiting for 24 hours. My arrival in Cairo was very smooth. They didn’t have the fancy tunnel that you walk through but just like our domestic arrival out onto. Actually, you didn’t have to walk, there was a pickup bus waiting to swish us away to Egypt land.

Immigration was another hassle. My battered old passport was not good enough for them. I guess the recent bombing for Sharm El Shiekh is still fresh in their minds. I was able to slide pass in Australia, Singapore and Thailand but in Egypt, they wouldn’t let me.

They seem to find a fault and so after scrutinizing it with 5 others, they call me over and interrogated me for another 20 minutes. Now, I found it so hilarious that I can’t help a cheeky smile on ma face. It was so bad……they were dead serious and me in the verge of uncontrorable laughter. The only thing that was holding me back, is that someone might punch me in the face if I holla out in laughter.

They supervisor was no help also, but fortunately, there was a guy who is meeting me in the airport. He came, saw my predicament and took my passport off the immigrations and whisked me away to a waiting vehicle towards the domestic terminal.

Late also at the domestic…but with my invitation letter, I was given first preference and on the express liner to Sharm El Shiekh.

  

 

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Comments
  1. Wanna Be says:

    “Moses in the Wilderness, Camels, Pyramids and mummies…”
    You might like to add Osama Bin Laden in there too if it’s the same Sharm El Sheik that was bombed a few years ago…

  2. Rex says:

    @Wanna Be

    That is the same Sharm El Shiekh. Efforts have been made and security has been tighted after the bombing. I was interogated for nearly half an hour and was going to get stuck if it wasn’t for some Saint.

  3. Emmanuel says:

    Awesome Brutha!!! Wow checking out your pics on Flickr right now….

  4. Rex says:

    Thanks
    Will upload more. Those ones are taken on ma way there…..but have to upload pictures when I went around Cairo

  5. Spowf says:

    Jealous. That’s all I’ll say. But good on you! Why don’t we swap – you go to my uni and I’ll travel the world!

  6. Spowf says:

    The old passport issue happened with me before as well so I know how you felt…except I was in no mood for a laughg that day (hangover plus i wanted to just get the fk out of customs)…but it did crack me up reading about the cheeky grin you had onyour face…ahaha…way to go

  7. Rex says:

    Yeah….maybe you should go next time 🙂
    I’m sure your passport would pass…hehhehe

  8. popol says:

    Hey Rex, its nice to hear about you adventures. Am in Paris at the moment. I faced problems too on my flight to Charles De Gaulle, Paris. Unlike yours where your flights were delayed, my flights actually depart earlier than the schedules times. My route was from POM-Cairns-Sydney-Dubai-Paris. And at each airports I had to wait only 20 minutes to get on the next plane. 20 mins seems a lot of time…but not for someone who is new to the terminal and is finding his way around. I spend about 15 minutes looking for the gate and next five minutes confirming that this is the right boarding gate. Lucky my luggage was checked thru to Charles De Gaulle so I don’t have to walk around the terminals pulling my bags around.
    It was fun actually. My longest flight was from Sydney to Dubai on Emirates Airline. It was a 14 hour flight. And 14 hour flight on Economy class is not very comfortable…but the Emirates crew did a good job in keeping me entertained. I have to say that Emirates is one of the best airline compared with Air Niugini, Qantas, Air France and Scandinavian Airlines. I have not flown in other airlines so can’t really tell. Scandinavian Airlines is the worst of all those I have traveled on. The meal is a separate package and you have to pay for your meal on board. I had a sandwich on board and it costed me NOK70.00 (PGK38.00) just for that sandwich…not to mention muffin and coffee I had afterwards.

    Yes, I like traveling, it can be fun, but it can also be a headache.

  9. Rex says:

    Popol
    20 minutes interval?? You got to be kidding me. Next time you do you bookings…don’t forget the time difference as it will make it easier for you. Always adjust yur watch to local time as soon as yu get off the plane.

    How long where you on the Scandinavian Airlines?? Must be a pain….thanks for the warning…not gonna get onto that airline.

    So how is Paris? How long you’d be there?? I’m suppose to be coming to Paris in OCt also but the sponsors have not gotten back to me yet.

  10. popol says:

    Rex, I know 20 mins interval is too short an interval, but a travel agent did that for me so I don’t have much to say about that. And yes my I had my watch on local time all time…thanks to my Ipod which can have a maximum of 5 watches. So I had all the times set when travelling…but its more the problem of having to wait for only 20 minutes. In the actual fact it was about 30 minutes…but for some reasons some planes depart a few minutes earlier than scheduled.

    Paris is great. It’s very beautiful but very expensive. And its the end of summer so its getting cold. But I do hope to see you when you come in October. For now until end of November I will travelling to/forth between Paris and Bergen, Norway. I hope to be in Paris when you arrive in Oct.

    Yes my flight was a 2 hour flight from Paris to Oslo on Scandinavian Airlines. It was on that flight that cost me NOK70 for a sandwich.

    Norway is very expensive as well…and I mean very very expensive…a loaf of bread cost NOK 23.00 (PGK11.00). Yesterday I bought it cost me NOK250.00 (PGK120.00) for a six pack beer.

    There is an oil boom here in North Sea Norway which probably results in high cost of living in Norway (as well as high cost of meals in Scandinavian Airlines).

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