As the aircraft was flying over the Sahara, my mind was travelling back to my first visit. My arrival in 1973, onboard a Hercules was smooth . As the ramp opened at the rear you could feel the desert heat. As I looked across the Tarmac at the activities around me, everything shimmered in the heat. High noon in the sands of Egypt
A piercing voice assailed my ears, “get that shirt buttoned” I had opened my shirt while off loading, to try and cool down. That voice I was to learn belonged to WO 1 (RSM) Earl Royal Canadian Signals.
What a voice for a tiny man. I was soon to learn that the RC sigs, were to be our only link with home, other than the posties. The sigs van was the centre of UN operations.
Yet they found time to allow us the odd call home. This consisted of the Sigs operator, bouncing a signal from the ionosphere. Where it would be picked up, by an amateur Ham operator in Canada. The Ham Op would then dial our home number and we could speak to the family.
Conversations were one sided as you had to end each transmission with the word OVER. The kids loved it wives tolerated it.
Fast forward 40 years,,, touching down in Sharm el Sheikh, This time in a Boeing 757. When the doors opened the hot arid air was quickly disseminated through the aircraft. As passengers as we stood in the aisle , retrieving our carry on items.Then sheep like .we made our exit down the stairs and into a packed bus.
My pal Bobby Bruce and myself had grins from ear to ear, as we rattled along to the arrivals hall.
We passed very quickly through immigration , baggage pick up and customs.
As we climbed into a taxi to take us to our resort. I was amazed to see row upon row, of resorts. Names like Hilton, Raddison, Novotel stood out. This part of Egypt, The Sinai Peninsula, seems so far removed from the Arab Spring North of here.
People shopping in the markets cell phones twittering, like any area in Canada ( perhaps with better reception) No sigs van needed to call or text home nowadays.
I went to visit old Sharm looking for the old UN posts, but they were no longer is there. I was able to find the MFO base. The Multi National Force. Gone are the familiar Blue Berets/ helmets and UN flags.
The MFO ( must be NDP) as they wear Orange berets, and the flags are orange.
The news CNN, BBC is readily available in each room. It seems odd that Egyptians against Morsi and his henchmen of the brotherhood have yet to realise that the average Egyptian does not want his type of political platform.
Egyptians have always been a moderate, well educated civilisation. Who had both Coptic and Muslim faiths, living together for centuries.
That is it for today folks, take care and please Support our Troops.
Nil Sine Labore