As I have mentioned before, Photokina 1980 changed everything for our company and myself personally. Filmlab Engineering had become a name in the Motion Picture Industry to be reckoned with. We were asked by a representative of the Egyptian Government to visit Cairo and to inspect their laboratory to make suggestions for necessary upgrades and modernisation.
I drew the short straw but should say the longest, because what awaited me was fascinating beyond my imagination. Getting a visa from the Egyptian Consulate in Sydney was easy and then it was only a matter to arrange travel details and accommodation in Cairo. However, our Egyptian contact had already taken care of the accommodation and booked a room at the Mena House Hotel in Giza. As so many places in my travels, this was a first and I really did not know what to expect. After a taxi ride through a very congested city, we arrived at the hotel. By that time dusk had already set in. I went on to the balcony in my room and the sight awaiting me took my breath away. There was this huge structure in front of me almost as I could touch it. When I had recovered from this incredible sight, I realised that a long-held dream of mine had come true. I saw the greatest pyramid of Egypt built during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu and probably completed around 2560 B.C.
View from my hotel room
The following day brought me back to earth as I met with government representatives and laboratory staff at the lab. The inspection of the laboratory revealed that basically none of the existing equipment could be restored and reused. So, I put my thinking cap on and worked on an outline of a proposal how to resurrect the laboratory. The next day I presented it to the government officials who said they would consider it and give me their decision soon.
That meant that I was now free to explore the pyramids and their surrounds. In those days there were no restrictions on where you could go. Fortunately, there were only very few guides and hardly any other tourists around so I could enjoy these fascinating historical monuments undisturbed. I could climb up on the pyramid some way and enter a narrow and low ceiling shaft leading into a burial chamber of some minor public servant.
After a while I walked over to the sphinx and admired the timeless beauty. However, I was a little surprised about the size of it. She was quite a bit smaller as I had imagined but nevertheless breathtakingly beautiful. After seeing all this so many years ago I can only hope that these sites are preserved and not destroyed by the environment, overtourism or any political influence.
To cap an unbelievable business trip off, the company received an order to refurbish the laboratory and supply new processing equipment.