Thursday, 11 September 2008

How to get from A to B

Leave Geneva 2.55pm, Egypt Air to Cairo. "May I have a seat belt for the baby please? The plane is about to take off," I ask. A reasonable question. "We don't have one." says Mahmoud, a kind-looking member of the all-male flight crew, looking worried. "Just hold the baby really, really close!" I reel Katherine to my chest and breathe.

There is no telly. No film. Some rather piercing Arabic music on the headset. We have a bag of snacks, 2 children's magazines, a pack of crayons (which I will discover don't work on the shiny magazine paper), a pack of Animal Snap and four hours til we touch down in Cairo. The minutes tick past. God, help me.

7pm Touchdown in boiling hot Cairo. "May we have our pram please? We did ask if we could have it in Cairo," asks Gandaman. "Ya, ya!" says jovial Cairo air official. "Why is your baby sucking her thumb???!!"

9pm. Gandaman meets us in a cafe (Cairo airport - good facilities, FYI) looking thunderous. "We got the pram," he said. "And this." He holds up one of my McLaren Techno Classic's wheels, which has been completely severed. A small argument ensues about whether we should try and claim damages. This time I win, citing age of pram, pre-existing decreptitude, whiney tired children, whiney tired wife and the immenent gate closure of our next connection. The McLaren is abandoned in Cairo Airport, gate 9. A sad moment: Emma was wheeled home from hospital in this (now) knackered pram when she was born.

10pm depart Cairo. More kind staff, one man in particular who wings a seat for me at the front. And a bassinette! I could kiss him.

3.45 am arrive Entebbe, feeling faint and headachy and desperate to lie in a comfy bed. I have spent the last few days wondering if my brain made the journey along with my limbs.

At least some people found it very comfortable: