Cheng Milk, who is a third-year doctoral student at the University of Sheffield, UK, planned a long dive trip to Egypt in late March. Unexpectedly, just two days after arriving in Egypt, as Egypt suddenly closed the airport, her vacation turned into a “big battle” when the eight immortals crossed the sea and each showed their magical way home. After being trapped in Egypt for many days and experiencing many setbacks, she finally turned around and returned to the UK, and the surging news recounted this ups and downs experience.
A trip to Egypt with all kinds of hesitation
I decided to go to Egypt for a week long ago. I wanted to stagger the peak of the Easter holiday when booking, so I chose to leave the UK on March 14 for Hurghada, Egypt, and return to the UK on March 22.
However, the outbreak in Britain had already broken out before departure. So I was particularly hesitant. One week before departure, I kept asking people around me, should I go to Egypt? My friends are so annoyed by me that several of my good friends have told me not to go.
That week, the British Prime Minister Johnson gave a speech on mass immunization. Everyone was very panic about his remarks, but I thought that if he wanted to slowly lower the curve, it means that the UK will continue to operate normally for a period of time. The United Kingdom has not issued a travel warning to Egypt. So I want to wait for me to return to the UK, nothing should change.
Shortly before my departure, the University of Sheffield discovered a patient with new Coronavirus, which was also the third in Sheffield. If I was entangled in the question of whether there will be an outbreak in Egypt, then my thoughts changed before leaving. Since Sheffield already has a new coronavirsu outbreak, I might be able to avoid it if I go to Egypt.
In fact, I have been tangled until the morning of departure. Finally, the luggage has been packed, the air tickets have been booked, the train tickets from Manchester City to Sheffield, etc. are all set, and I feel that Egypt will not break out. So, I finally set off.
In advance, I bought disposable gloves, disinfectant wipes, and disposable hand sanitizer, and more than thirty masks were placed in the suitcase. I also wore masks when I set off from home, but not many people at Manchester Airport wore masks. Everyone seemed to think there was nothing wrong, and no one on the plane was wearing masks. Before sitting down on the plane, I wiped all the seats carefully with disinfectant wipes. My neighbor was staring at me, and asked me to borrow disinfectant wipes and wiped my seat as I did. During the five or six hours of connecting in Turkey, I sat in McDonald’s for a long time wearing a mask, but the people coming and going at the airport were no different than usual.
Egypt, plan cannot keep up with changes
After arriving in Egypt, we followed the itinerary, first stayed in Hurghada for a day, and then went to a nearby resort Marsa Alam. I reported a diving lesson before and I want to learn diving there. It was March 16. On the morning of March 17th, my friend who was with me told me that I heard that the Egyptian airport would be completely closed from the 19th to the 31st.
Nevertheless, I think the situation is not too bad. Before departure, the Prime Minister of Egypt had always emphasized in the news that Egypt ’s tourism industry was okay and looked forward to tourists. In the news of closing the airport, he still said that Egypt as a whole is safe, and tourists who are already in Egypt can continue their journey. I do n’t think we ’ll let us go, so it ’s pretty calm.
At that time, my friend was nervous and wanted to coordinate with the airline to see if he could leave on the 18th, but when contacting the airline, we learned that the flight was already full and we could only stay in Egypt. After that, we were watching the news every day, brushing airline tickets, and contacting airlines. On the 21st, I received a flight cancellation notice from my airline. At this time, my friend found a German low-cost airline, Sun Express, which had a flight departing on the evening of March 22 from Hurghada to Cologne, Germany. We confirmed on the German border inspection website that Germany allows British citizens or those with UK residency status to return to the UK via Germany. So we booked this flight together and bought a Ryanair flight from Cologne to Manchester.
During check-in, I encountered some troubles. The other party made many phone calls to the company to confirm my flight ticket. I also took photos of my next flight information and other materials to this airline, and finally I succeed Got the boarding pass.
However, while we were queuing up to board the plane, someone came suddenly and came in the airport car and pointed at me, saying that I was a Chinese passport and could not board the plane. Inexplicably, I was taken out of the team. I originally thought that even if I couldn’t board the plane, I would give me a statement and the next arrangement, so I obediently followed him back to the check-in desk.
Unexpectedly, the other party just took my passport and took a picture without giving me any explanation. Later, another person came, took my passport and entered an office, but did not come out. Then another person came and told me that the airline executive thought I could not board the plane, but he also gave me no reason.
I was particularly confused and nervous, so I asked him for my passport. So another person came, holding my passport in my hand, and asked me to give him my boarding pass before I could return it to me. He said that because the boarding pass was an item at the airport, if I did not return it to him, he would use “force” to regain the boarding pass.
I really do n’t want to return the registration card to him, because I thought that I might need this boarding pass in the future. However, he allowed me to take pictures of the boarding pass, and said that if I can’t leave the airport, I can only return the boarding pass to him.
After getting the boarding pass, these staff completely ignored me and went home from work one by one. With the mentality of not leaving the airport without solving the problem, I started calling Germany. But the other party’s statement flashed, saying that Cologne Airport is too small, and I am not a British citizen, so I can’t transfer there. But later, a friend who successfully boarded the plane told me that he saw many non-British citizens holding British residence permits connecting to Manchester City at Cologne Airport.
I also called the airline, and their claim became that I could not fly because I bought a non-connected flight. Joke, could anyone still buy a connecting flight? So far, I still can’t figure out why I can’t board the plane. The reasons given by the airline were excuses, because I saw that many people in the same situation as me were also on the plane, and since then I also called the border inspection of Cologne to confirm that I had no problem transferring. So I am more sure that this is the reason for the airline itself.
In the end, I was desperate, and it was very late. I had to make a temporary reservation for a bed and breakfast and checked in at two in the morning.
Days in Egypt
After moving into the homestay, I had a feeling of living at home. Many friends sent me the way back and forth to the UK, but I was in a state of emotional breakdown at the time, and I did n’t want to book a flight anymore. My first cancelled ticket can only be refunded by half of the ticket, and it has not yet arrived. The Sun Express ticket was £ 150, and the follow-up Ryanair ticket was £ 50, which was more than 200 pounds. I’m afraid that if I buy another ticket, it will still be cancelled, so I didn’t book another ticket and did nothing for two days.
Staying in Egypt is also good. The bed and breakfast I stayed in is in good condition, with security guards and a swimming pool. It costs only 18 pounds a night. I also saw someone who was trapped in Egypt and went to rent a house, preparing to live for a month or two.
The school helped me find some flights, but I could n’t buy those tickets. It seemed that the charter flights of the travel company were used to evacuate the tourists who were trapped there. The Chinese embassy has no choice but to advise me to stay at the residence as much as possible and not to go out. However, they told me that some people mentioned that Sichuan Airlines continued to carry out a weekly flight, let me give it a try.
So I bought Sichuan Airlines’ return flight. The earliest time I could buy it was April 10th. The ticket price was more than 10,000 yuan, which was quite expensive. But then I can still have a destination at least by April 10 at the latest.
The flight ticket of Sichuan Airlines departed from Cairo, so my original plan was to go to Cairo on March 31, and I had found a good place to stay, just at the house next to the pyramid, because there are no tourists and it is very cheap. It would be best if there was a flight back to the UK before then, otherwise I would go back to China.
I have lived in Hurghada since March 23. I do n’t know if there are infected people here, and there is no official data, but the locals are very nervous, and many people wear masks. Before, I contacted the car in Luxor (the ancient Egyptian capital Thebes) at Marsa Alam, only to find that the road to Luxor was blocked. It was one of the centers of the epidemic in Egypt: March 9th, on a Nile cruise ship heading to Luxor. I found many cases of new Coronavirus patients, so I have always been entangled in whether or not to go.
On the second day after the airport was closed, Egypt issued a curfew announcement and could not go out after 6 o’clock every night. All restaurants will be closed from the 23rd, and all cafes will be closed in a few days. I remember one day I was led by a cat to a cafe and sat for a while. Unexpectedly, the cafe ban came the next day.
After all restaurants were closed, only McDonald’s was open, and after a few days, even McDonald’s was closed, and it could only be delivered. I ate McDonald’s for the first few days and bought some instant noodles in a local supermarket. Later, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and found that many people were pouring out of a corner, carrying shopping bags in my hand, and I went to have a look.
It turned out that there was a huge supermarket with everything in it.
I live in the center of Hurghada. People in the neighborhood should often deal with tourism and be strange to tourists, so they have nothing to say about my Asian face or Chinese face. But this is the first time I have met so many locals in close proximity in this big supermarket. That night happened to be Thursday, the Arabs were closed on Friday and Saturday, so that day was their weekend. Many people brought their own When I came out shopping, I also felt their resistance to me. One of the men deliberately came over and asked me, are you from China? Do you think the new Coronavirus is from China? After seeing me, some women turned their heads exaggeratedly with a contemptuous look.
That day I bought meat, shrimp, soy sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and I bought them all. I was very contradictory. Perhaps I subconsciously felt that I would be trapped for a long time, preparing to carry these to Cairo.
Willow blossoms, back to England
I bought the plane ticket back to the UK during the day of the 29th during the early hours of March 29th. Coincidentally, this turned out to be an opportunity brought to me by a cat. I met a small stray cat sticking to me on the road before. I looked at it pitifully and took it back to my residence after obtaining the consent of the owner.
But because I was going to Cairo soon, I wanted to find a host for it. The locals suggested that I go to a Facebook group and ask if anyone would like to adopt it. So I added two Facebook groups in Hurghada, released the cat’s information, and also turned over the other content in the group.
Coincidentally, I saw a post where someone asked if there was an Englishman trapped in Hurghada. Someone in the comment sent a screenshot of booking a ticket. The price in the screenshot attracted me. It is a low-cost carrier, EasyJet Flight is from Hurghada, the fare is only 150 pounds.
I immediately checked the flight ticket and found that there were still tickets, so I quickly booked the ticket. I also knew that the United Kingdom was arranging some flights to evacuate overseas, but I have seen the price of air tickets. The expensive ones cost 800 pounds, and the cheap ones cost five or six hundred pounds. I think the price is not very suitable.
My original plan was to go to Cairo to live next to the pyramid, and it suddenly changed. Someone just replied that I could raise a cat. The next day, I sent the cat. That day was really smooth, like it was hanging up. In fact, I had seen this flight on the Facebook page of the British Embassy before, but it was already fully booked at that time, and perhaps the tickets had not been released. Later, after I got on the plane, I saw that there were only 50 or so people on the plane that could accommodate more than 200 people.
Going back to London and landing at Gatwick Airport, I found that the airport is very empty compared to the past, and most of the area has been closed. The train station is also deserted. On the train back to Sheffield, there were only two passengers in this train. Now that it has been temporarily closed, I am also isolated at home. I think, since the whole world has been disrupted, then my schedule is disrupted.