Back in the late nineties myself and Mr. D were on our first major trip together. The mission was to sign up the Sudanese government for the control of the substation network for Khartoum, and make it back for Christmas.
Mission accepted. Now Mike organised the travel, part of which was a couple of hours stopover in Cairo. I warned the man, nothing good happens when I am in Egypt, nothing, ever.
Surprisingly the change of planes in Cairo went smoothly, and Khartoum bound on an Egyptair flight we went. I had a finally overcome the Egypt jinx that had haunted me for so long. Or so I thought.
On arriving in Khartoum myself and Mr. D were taken away from the rest of the people on the plane to a special area. I was giving Mike the whole ‘look what happens when you get to travel with me’ attitude, you lucky man.
Ten minutes later, and I kid you not, we are being walked, at bayonet point back to the plane – deported before ever we really got into the country.
We got into the Sudan a few days later, a blog in its own right involving a child soldier, passports being seized and a yank in a bar in Cairo, a posting for later.
Anyway after much backwards and forwards with various government officials we get the contract signed. Turkey and ham and Christmas seem but a few short flights away. Our last act was to attend a state banquet in honour of the deal that would see Khartoum benefit from a stable substation network.
Now it’s fair to say that we where both rather sick. A few days on a 90’s Sudanese diet will get the most seasoned of travellers, but you can’t turn down a state banquet.
And here is where a bit of experience, and being a total bastard kicks in (Mr. D may indeed want to write his own betrayal post). We are guided into the banquet hall with the guest of honour seats to the right and left of whatever minister was in attendance. I skip around and grab the seat to the left, a knowing smile on my face.
The first course comes out (some kinda rotting egg dish) and the minister stands up and starts making a speech about Irish Sudanese cooperation, blah, blah, blah. Myself and Mike are just focused on not throwing up. Said minister stops speaking, there is applause and he (naturally) turns to his RIGHT for a speech from the Irish lads. Poor Mike, rabbit in the head lights time. Mike does a credible job of putting words together while keeping his food in his stomach. I owe him for that, and of course that time with the RAF boys in Qatar, but that is a whole story in its own right.
We got the contract, we got (just about) home for Christmas and neither of us have been to the Sudan or Egypt since.