March 2020 – The start of the Covid-19 Pandemic
There were 13 of us booked, but with the current situation and personal reasons, only 8 of us made it to Sharm El Sheikh.
Disappointed as we were not to have the others with us, we slowly started unpacking and preparing to relax and enjoy our trip.
38 hours in when Egypt decided to low-key announce they were closing all airports on Thursday (19th) at 12 noon.
Not a problem- we decided to call our airlines and change Sunday (22nd) flights to Wednesday or Thursday (18th or 19th), so we leave earlier. As we tried getting online, calling, texting, faxing..lol.. sending smoke signals, we learnt that there was a communication block and no one could call in or out. Phone lines and the internet were down in the WHOLE of Egypt.
8-10 hours later, when communication was restored, we slowly struggled to get back online and rearrange flights. Surprisingly Pegasus was better at this than Turkish Airlines. 5 from 8 that travelled with Turkish Airlines had no choice but to book new flights with Pegasus. Airline. A big cost incurred, but it didn’t matter- we were being sensible and tried to head home early. Hafsa Gaher from www.archergaheradventures.co.uk was an awesome friend to me at this time and took care of the new Pegasus bookings for some of us.
We decided to relax and enjoy the rest of our time- till just a few hours later Pegasus airline cancelled the new flights we booked as Turkey had stopped all incoming flights and we were flying back to London via Turkey.
So now, no one had a flight home, there were no direct flights to London from Sharm El Sheikh, and most other transit routes were also cancelled. If we didn’t leave before Thursday at 12pm then we would be stuck in Egypt for a minimum of -4-6 weeks, and who knows what the maximum could be?
Despite the panic- we managed to have a great time. We snorkelled, struggled to snorkel, drank 3% of the red sea, speed-raced in the desert, and broke all the quad biking rules. Rode horses, panicked when there was a realisation of no helmets (lol.. well, someone in particular), gained several injuries on the same day by walking into the same iron bar on a Yacht, got facials, massages, hair cuts, new hair colours, tattoos, mosquito bites, ate hairy tasty Kanafes, drank mocktails, smoothies, fruit juices and baby food in a fancy glass. Parasailed, banana bobbed, sand exfoliated, pool dipped, swam & splashed. Pray, posed & people watched, laughed, laughed some more, cried whilst laughing, and nearly passed out by laughing too hard, all whilst trying to squeeze in as many moments and memories as possible before making our journey to Cairo to be able to get out of Egypt.
Some of them managed to leave on Wednesday, and others in the early hours of Thursday. I am pleased to say as of 3 hours ago- the last of the group touched down in London. Alhumdulillah.
Definitely more to tell and beaut pictures to post, but I wanted to share that we are safe. Whilst the world is shutting down, and there are so many sad and awful cases and stories, I wanted to share that ours was an adventure, a unique experience. I couldn’t have created those memories and shared those experiences with better people. I loooooooove loooooooooove the people I meet on meet-ups, holidays and get together than anything else in the world.