An early start to the day. Too early to make the hotel's breakfast buffet so they prepare us each a box to take on the plane. And bottled water. Wait—don't we have to go through airport security?
Yes we do. The procedure is straightforward: men appear curbside and whisk your luggage into the airport. People, almost all men, mass in front of the security scanner making it difficult to keep an eye on your carry-on. The travel agency representative (if you're using an agency), who got you from the hotel and got you checked in at the airline counter, hands you your boarding pass and points you in the right direction. They are not allowed to go any further.
I was too gorked out when I stepped off the plane in Cairo to appreciate it, but now I am loving the travel agency assistance. Many people are using e-tickets and have just a printout off a computer or nothing to show to the security guard, who is insisting that only ticketed customers can proceed. Agents (not just ours) are arguing rapid-fire in Arabic with him while people squeeze through the security scanner and past the man with no paper ticket (and no agent). The crowd is getting tight, making me nervous as the press trying to get through edges toward inappropriate. Then a man—baggage handler? security? who knows—starts demanding my carry-on so he can put it on the scanner's conveyor belt. I don't want my bag to go through when I can't (the men are still arguing about the e-ticket) so I shake my head no. So the man reaches to grab my bag off my back. At which point I'm thinking inappropriate touching ! He must have seen the look on my face because he backed off. And apologized.
We squeeze through, collect our scattered bags, do a count to make sure we have all five of us, then head toward our gate.
[More later, hopefully this afternoon, because I just got called in to work and have no photos ready.]