Daily Journal: Sunday, 12 March 2017

Was up early to finish packing and to clean the flat. Yes, I know that part of the Airbnb rent is for cleaning, but I don’t like someone else picking up after me. My target was to leave by 10:30 and I was out the door at 10:28.

Had planned to take public transportation to the airport, but changed my mind and took a taxi. Taking into account that I would be carrying my suitcase up and down a few flights of stairs, a taxi sounded good to me. Maybe some other time with the public transportation.

My flight didn’t leave until 2:40, but wanted to try getting a VAT (Value Added Tax) refund from when the new phone was purchased in December. I had tried to get a refund in Milan when I was there in January, but ran out of time due to the long lines. In Budapest, I only had to wait a few minutes. It is well worth asking for the VAT refund – an extra $100+ was refunded.

Given that I arrived early to the airport, had plenty of time to get a quick bite to eat and go through security. Arrived at the gate about 30 minutes before boarding. Nice!

Glad I had a small lunch at the airport. Had forgotten that we would get a full meal on the flight from Budapest to Cairo, via EgyptAir. Think they may be one of the last airlines to provide an in-flight meal as part of the ticket.

We took off on time and landed a little ahead of schedule. Got through customs and found my suitcase waiting for me in baggage. The only issue was my driver couldn’t be found. So, I had to take my chances with the taxi service – which is like a free-for-all. While still in the terminal, one guy flagged me down. He seemed nice and the price to take me to my hotel was very reasonable. The only problem is that neither he or the taxi driver (and me) knew where to find my hotel.

So off we went into the unknown. We knew if was in Sun City, near the airport, and the street name, but that was all. I couldn’t look up the whole address because I didn’t prepare my phone to access the Internet. We asked a few people along the way if they knew where the hotel was, but no luck. I remembered that I called the hotel a few days before, so we used that number and called for directions.

Upon arrival, I asked to have a quiet room. After being assured that my room was quiet, I proceeded to check out the room with the porter. I knew immediately that the room wouldn’t work. It was positioned just outside the main entrance and you could hear people talking, car horns, and music from inside the room. For the first time in my travel experience, I asked for a new room.

I was given a free dinner in the dining room, which was very much appreciated. By the time I got settled, it was 9:00. The dining room was still open and as I walked in I soon realized that I was the only guest. I found a table and looked over the very extensive menu. I asked for some tomato soup and a chicken dish. (And a vodka tonic.) ┬áTalked with the staff, since I was the only guest, I didn’t think they were ignoring the other patrons.

The soup was perfect. Tasted fresh and had the full flavor of tomatoes. The chicken dish was prepared well too. When I left, I was full – but not too full.

I hope to get my blog completed and into bed early tonight. My driver will be here at 8:30 and I’d like to be ready when he arrives. Of course I’ll have time to watch an episode of Next Generation before going to bed.

 

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