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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Phil, pictures of cake and prejudice against Mexicans is all very well, but what's happened to Big Sis since she came back down to earth with a bump six weeks ago?". Well firstly, thanks for asking. And secondly, I'll tell you...

As it happens, Big Sis actually paid us a visit last Wednesday evening. I didn't mention it at the time due to the fog of a family funeral, and the fact that she only really turned up here to use my printer and borrow some money. But having stood by while she hogged my computer for three hours, I lent her thirty-five quid for some travel insurance, gave her directions inland to the nearest petrol station, and waved her goodbye. Shortly after which, she phoned to say she was heading past the pier in the wrong direction.

Fortunately you can get further than you think on an empty tank of petrol, and sure enough, twenty-four hours later, Big Sis was in Egypt. No, seriously. She still hasn't acclimatised back to English temperatures, so last week, having finally passed her final, final flying exam (at least until the next one), she booked a quick jaunt to the sun. I know that, because I not only watched her book the hotel from my living room, but I also received a text message shortly after touchdown in Cairo. It read "I haven't been so scared since the time I built my own road up the side of a mountain!" That's what I call confirmation of arrival.

And if you're wondering about that road-building adventure, you can view the evidence here.

As it transpired, Sis hadn't so much got a taxi from Cairo airport, as jumped into the car of a mad Egyptian pretending to be a cabbie, and found herself locked in a moving vehicle with a man demanding money. But all's well that ends well. Ten minutes later she was standing on a motorway bridge, pretending she had a gun. Sometimes it's the only way to talk to these foreigners. Thank God he wasn't Mexican.

Fortunately Bis Sis's threats of extreme violence quickly paid off, and she was soon rescued by an Arab in shining armour who took her to the hotel, where she e-mailed me with all the details before going straight to bed, ready to soak up the warmth and sunshine the following morning. She texted me at 9am on Friday to say "I don't believe it! It is freezing cold and cloudy!"

Anyhoo, it takes more than an armed robbery and a bit of cloud to knock Sis off her stride. I received word a couple of hours later that she'd chartered her own boat on the River Nile for seven pounds. Who says you can't get something seaworthy for under a tenner? I heard nothing over the weekend, so naturally I assumed she'd drowned, but fortunately Big Sis resurfaced on Monday with this final update:

"Just been to see the pyramids and my impression was the same as that of the Sydney Opera House: smaller than expected and could do with a good power wash. I somehow got conned into going on a camel for an hour around the pyramids which was almost as scary as the fake taxi driver. I escape tomorrow."

She's having the holiday of a lifetime.