Lifestyle Awards 2013
Wellness & Relationship
The China Kitchen, Hyatt Delhi
An Egyptian Bates Motel
It was around 1.00 am when we landed at Cairo Airport with our baggage, equipment and all..and if there is one airport in the world that can make Delhi Airport feel first-world, it’s Cairo!
It didn’t help that my producer left her passport on a shelf in the plane, and as a result, the officials quizzed us more than necessary when our turn came at the immigration queue.
Our bags of equipment was checked and re-checked umpteen times by a customs lady in a burkha, who caught a mistake in the serial number of one of our cameras. That, and passport lost briefly, it wasn’t a great start in the mystical land of the Sphinx.
After some two hours of prodding, they figured we were not assassins, but a regular TV crew on a food show assignment! We were finally allowed to go.
A very short and sweet man, called Mr Ibrahim, from the Indian Embassy was waiting for us even at this ungodly hour.
We stepped out of the airport, walked a few steps to a bus stop, where I was told to wait, as Mr Ibrahim was going to get the car. Then he moved closer, and lightly whispered in my ear, “Be very careful of your bags, no one is safe in Cairo! Men, women, bags..nothing.”
As I waited wearily at the bus stop, I witnessed one of those moments in life, that I know will stay with me forever. At a distance this jalopy, (it looked more like a funeral hearse on its last legs) barely chugging and spewing clouds of smoke, made its way to where I stood.
This is another world all right, I thought. Anyway, we crammed our umpteen bags into two cars, and drove through the meandering streets, that were ghoulish and lifeless.
We booked into this hotel that was owned by Egypt’s top singer..imagine Egypt’s version of Lata Mangeshkar.
Hoping to be charmed by the ambience..we were greeted by décor that was too baroque - red velvet, glass chandeliers, black 'n' gold motifs, a bit over the top even at 2:30 am!
But the reason we chose it was it was a boutique hotel, centrally located and it stood by the Nile. Here’s where the story takes a twist...
Watch this space for more on Seema Chandra's Cairo caper
That's such an uncool way to pause a story :( Waiting... :)
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