A group of septuagenarians who took over a tour bus and crashed it defended their actions last night.
“We were asked to go on this fucking tour. We didn’t invite ourselves,” Mamdouh Shaheen said as he walked away from the debris.
Shaheen was one of 20 retired army officers invited onto the tour bus by the now defunct Hosny Travels Company.
Other guests on the tour – which was scheduled to last 6 months but in fact extended well beyond this period and only ended when the bus crashed – said that while initially friendly, the pensioners soon became aggressive and shirty with other passengers.
Passenger Hamdeen Sabahy said that the tour had initially been “unpleasant” until January 2011 when the Hosny Travels Company collapsed and ownership of it was transferred in mysterious circumstances to the One Hand Group.
Sabahy said that the group of 20 pensioners appeared “just before we were told that the company had collapsed”.
For a short period the tour became “magical”, passengers say, as they were allowed to roam around Egypt freely “without some cunt in a uniform accosting them”.
When the pensioners boarded the bus they were “very friendly”, other passengers say, and pledged to offer support and protection for the tour.
“They sent us cute SMSes on our phones telling us to behave and protect the tour. We thought they were joking,” one passenger said, adding that the pensioners sometimes dressed in their military uniforms and allowed passengers to take photographs with them.
The mood soon changed.
“They made us do a vote on the route the tour bus would take. We wanted to go Cairo – Luxor – Aswan because that makes sense. They gave us this choice, or an alternative option of going Luxor – Cairo –Aswan – which is patently ridiculous and unworkable,” passenger Amr Hamzawy said.
“Somehow the unworkable option won. They then said that they would draw up a menu declaration. It took ages to arrive and when it did they had completely changed the sandwiches section”.
All of the passengers agreed that they don’t remember when and how the pensioners had taken over the tour bus but didn’t say anything because the bus appeared to be moving forward, albeit occasionally on the wrong side of the road.
In March trouble started when tour bus passengers insisted on visiting Tahrir Square, and staying there for a while.
The pensioners became violent and aggressive when they refused to leave, and insisted that they visit the Egyptian Museum, where they assaulted them.
Mohamed ElBaRaDei, a retired diplomat complained about the lack of a clear roadmap or timeline for the tour.
“Disorganised and unprofessional. Opaqueness and lack of a clear vision eroded credibility. Shame”, he said.
Things changed on the bus, too. The pensioners began monitoring films and programmes shown on the bus’ television monitors. They started posting statements on the bus windows accusing some of the passengers of being criminals.
“Sometimes one of the pensioners, General Fingary, read out the statements in a strange voice,” a passenger said.
Matters became even more sinister.
“I was locked in the luggage compartment for 6 days after I told one of pensioners that he is a moron and has ruined the tour,” a passenger who requested anonymity said.
“They made me play paper stone scissors with someone they said is a lawyer and when I lost they said that I had been found guilty and down I went”, he added.
Soon passengers were being denied the right to speak without first presenting a short summary of what they intended to say to pensioner Mohamed El-Tantawy.
The crash that ended the tour happened when the pensioners announced that the bus would be going for a short detour to Eilat because it’s lovely there and they needed to see some friends.
Passengers began chanting in protest and the pensioners responded by driving the bus backwards while spraying them with fire extinguishers.
We asked ElBaRaDei what happened next but he was unable to say because he he had been sending a short message to Twitter at the time. It is believed that Fingary, while waving his big finger about knocked the steering wheel, causing the tour bus to fall into a canal.
Shaheen insists that the pensioners did nothing wrong.
“Those bunch of bastards didn’t have a fucking clue and about running a tour it was a bloody circus. Everyone was doing what the hell he wanted to do. Complete chaos and instability, it was a fucking shit show. What they don’t understand is that order is more important than fun. Now they know,” Shaheen commented, before buggering off.