12 MARCH 2020
We arrived early morning at Cairo International Airport. And guess what: We were greeted by massive thunderstorms and flooding … in Egypt of all places!
We expected desert-like temperatures and dry conditions, but instead, we were experiencing torrential rainfall!
On the airport, we were informed that the Egyptian government has declared a state of emergency the previous day as they were bracing themselves for heavy thunderstorms and rain, while a sandstorm was forecasted in the Hurghada area (our destination tomorrow).
… a pretty shaky welcome to Egypt I would say!
As we will fly to Hurghada tomorrow (from where we will board the M/Y Blue Adventurer), we chose a hotel near the airport to spend the night – the shuttle of the Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino picked us up at the airport and through a madness of traffic brought us safely to the hotel.
Heavy security presence:
We were a bit apprehensive with all the security at both the airport and hotel. Police with big guns were very visible at the airport and at the hotel a sniffer dog circled our shuttle before we’ve been allowed onto the premises of the hotel. Our luggage was also scanned before we could enter the hotel – first time ever we experienced this at a hotel.
I suspect the heavy security presence is there to protect all civilians against whatever threat there might be … which is probably a good thing.
Our first night’s accommodation in Cairo:
Although we’ve arrived a bit early at the hotel, we were allowed to book in and get to our room (at an additional cost of course). We were just happy to shower and lay down on the king size bed after sitting all cramped up on a nine-hour long flight!
Our beautiful room at the Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino
Welcoming treats in our room
The view from our hotel room
We were still in time for a late breakfast in the hotel’s dining room. It’s always such a treat to see and eat another country’s food … I love this part of our trips!
We explored the hotel and the outdoor area – and found a beautiful swimming- and splash pool. If it wasn’t raining (and so bloody cold), we could have enjoyed the afternoon here.
A splash pool … but not to be enjoyed today in this weather!
The main foyer of the Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino
There were these beautiful windows everywhere … and of course, we could not miss the traditional Egyptian statues
Later that afternoon, the mother of all thunderstorms broke out! As we were sitting in the bar and looking through the big glass windows, we could not belief that we were actually in Cairo! It was raining cats and dogs, with small rivers running in front of the hotel!!
We did not anticipate to see Egypt this wet and windy!
It was not long after the start of this thunderstorm, that the roof of the hotel started to leak in multiple places and the electricity tripped. Everywhere in the hotel, we found buckets filled with rain water! Towels and sheets were spread throughout the hotel as staff were trying to dry the flooded passages and other areas.
We could see the evidence of the heavy thunderstorm almost everywhere inside the hotel
It was pitch dark in the passage on the way to our room – all the lights were out (well, except for the television that stayed miraculously on) … I said to Berto that now is a good time to test his underwater camera light!
The staff apologised profusely to us all and tried their utmost best to accommodate guests whose rooms were flooded. I don’t think that they often have to deal with crisis situations like these.
We decided that the best place to find ourselves in, would be in the hotel’s bar … so, we were quite happy to chill while the commotion continued until very late.
Time to relax
During dinner, we were offered complimentary juices. I don’t know whether it was still to apologise, but it tasted like a combination of med-lemon (a flu remedy) and tea … maybe the hotel was hoping that this would ensure a good night’s sleep after an eventful day!
Is this a drink that could guarantee a good night’s sleep?
We ended our first day in Egypt with (very) strong coffee and some sweet treats … and had high hopes that the sandstorm in Hurghada would pass before we get there.
Not so sure we will actually sleep after that strong coffee
During the early hours of the next morning, I got up to go to the bathroom and stepped into a pool of water right in front of the toilet. Our room was busy flooding with rain water that leaked through the roof!
Fortunately, the rain stopped at around 4:00, while at the same time the electricians (who worked through the night) got the lights back on.
Why does this feel like no ordinary holiday …
To read the next post about our Egypt trip, click here