The Train back to Luxor
The night train trip from Cairo promised to be interesting right from the start. First one must catch the eye of a cab driver right in the middle of peak hour traffic one of the busiest areas of town, then, with horns constantly honking all around, get all the luggage, then all the people in. A jouney not dissimilar to the trip in from the station made us, by turns, close eyes tight and hold breath. The distance to the station is actually not very far on the map, but seems such a long way across town when you experience it.
Once on the platform, it was a long wait that got longer as there was no sign of the train which was due in at 8pm.. The platform continued to fill up with people and bags. Along came some policemen to look at our tickets. Ahh, they said, the train is too full, too full of locals. We will put you all on another train, a nicer one, a tourist train, that is leaving at 10pm. And they wanted to take the tickets away to change them. No way was Debs going to let the tickets out of her sight, so she insisted on following. Our intended train came and people piled on from every corner of the platform. Still no Debs and no tickets. The train left. Debs appeared at last, smiling I am pleased to say, and we were all escorted off the platform back to the concourse by 5 tourist police who would "look after" us while we waited for our nicer train. Some of us wandered around the concourse just for something to do to fill in time, but we found we had shadows. We were followed by a policeman, at a small distance, each time we wandered around! At one stage I went looking for a toilet and the policeman fronted me to ask what I was doing. Finally we were duly escorted back to the platform where they wanted payment for protecting us. Debs wasn't having any of that, needless to say.
The journey was pretty uneventful from then on and we managed to get some sleep in fits and starts. And so 11 hours later, our 9 hour train trip ended in Luxor.