Despite my best efforts I didn't get any sleep on the plane. In Dubai I wandered through the duty free shops. I was in a dangerous buying mood, but managed to restrain - thought the prices were good. Wandered upstairs to try and check in to the transit hotel - but British Air has booked out the entire hotel since they have a delayed flight. Great - no sleep last night, and now a nine plus hour layover...
Sat down in one of the cushy chairs outside the business center - away from most of the action - and worked on my H/PC for a couple hours. By then I could hardly keep my eyes open so I got up in search of coffee. I checked at the hotel just in case... and they had a room. It is by far the most expensive room I've ever stayed in (when you look at it by the hour - US$ 70 for six hours), but it's also as nice as any room I've ever stayed in. Had a great five hour sleep, then a long hot shower and it was incredible how much better I felt. I still felt a little scrambled, but at least I was capable of rational thought and could keep my eyes open.
In Cairo the immigration was a nightmare - at least a thousand people waiting on three officers - chaos does not even begin to describe the mob. They added two more officers, but it still took over an hour to get through. Last time I came into Cairo I flew in - but I can't even remember going through immigration so it couldn't have been bad. An Egyptian woman explained to me that it was because the crowd was mostly local and Egyptians are used to waiting. Looking around I realized that she was at least partially right - there were only two other obvious foreigners in the mass. Luckily customs wasn't an issue at all - whereas the Egyptians who were coming from Dubai were searched thoroughly.
Before, in Cairo, the problem was getting away from the taxi drivers, but now there are just too many people and it took me a bit to find one willing to take me at a reasonable price. It was after seven by now and the sun was a huge deep red ball as it set. As we drove by the spectacular Noor Mosque the sun was setting and the twin minarets and dome of the masque... well it just felt right to be in Cairo.
I was worried about finding a place to stay, but the first hotel I'd picked out of the guide book had a room - and it's in the same area of Cairo that I've stayed in before so I know my way around. I arranged for a four AM taxi to take me to the airport to meet Amy, then went out and walked around before coming in to try and sleep - difficult with the nonstop traffic noise.