22nd March 2008
I made it back to Cairo after a long struggle with the train. Someone is definitely watching out for me, I think. I managed to get myself to the station, but that’s where the easy part stops. I got there and the man at the ticket window just slammed the shutter down and proclaimed “NO MORE TICKETS!” Then this voice just said to me “Come on, Let’s get the train together”. His name was Madi, a nice young guy from Libya, who thankfully spoke Arabic. Madi had to try to haggle with the guy at the window to get tickets, he told us to come back in half an hour and he would see what he can do. Half an hour came and went, and he said another twenty minutes, after that, Madi went to see him and bingo, we had tickets, which were just a piece of cardboard with something in Arabic scribbled on them. Madi had also collected up two Swedish guys and managed to get them tickets as well.
The train ride was long and took an hour longer than it should have, but we got into Ramses Station at about 10pm and Madi and I got a cab Downtown and he took me all the way into my hotel…. I would probably still be in Alexandria if it wasn’t for this guy, to whom I’m eternally grateful. It was kind of exciting not knowing if you are coming or going, but that’s just the way things work here.
The next day I hung around the hotel, Ramez had messaged the night before and asked me to meet him for tea. So, at 4:30pm, I marched myself down to Tahir Square, for the meeting I had been waiting nearly two years for. I waited around for a bit, not sure if he would recognize me with my new rasta do, inspecting every car that stopped. Finally, a silver Hyundai pulled up and I looked into that, the guy in it almost jumped, as did I “Kristina!” “Ramez!”I ran around the barrier between the footpath and the road and jumped in the car with him and we were off.
He took me to this beautiful park; it was almost as if the noise of Cairo had disappeared inside it. We went to the café there and went upstairs and watched the sunset, he kept asking me to tell him stories about what I’ve been doing, and I was totally at a loss for words! That’s right me! Lost for words, I know no one will actually believe that, but I was!
We also went for a walk in the park at night, which was all lit up and had beautiful fountains. We talked about my new job and Egyptology…and about the last time we saw each other on the cruise. We left the park and Ramez took me to this spot, where you could see the whole of Cairo lit up, it was beautiful, we sat together on the ground, cuddled up together in the dust, about all we could get away with, with the “Morality Police” lurking about. (No that’s not a typo) We were out until about 10pm, and I went back to my hotel in Downtown and went to bed, wondering if the evening had all been a dream.