Egypt

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Paul McCourt
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Egypt

#1 Post by Paul McCourt » March 12th, 2019, 8:03 am

Hi all,

I am going to be in Egypt for a week at the end of the month. Two days Cairo, 4 days Luxor.

Any words of wisdom on what not to miss, where to eat, or general commentary/suggestions? As always, thanks in advance!

dbailey
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Re: Egypt

#2 Post by dbailey » March 12th, 2019, 11:45 am

2 words: be careful
Dan

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Mark Y
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Re: Egypt

#3 Post by Mark Y » March 12th, 2019, 11:53 am

would love to hear your thoughts after the trip. it was fine when i went but that was 15+ years ago.. i wonder with the political environment, how you view the travel experience there.

thanks!
Y.e.

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Richard T r i m p i
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Re: Egypt

#4 Post by Richard T r i m p i » March 12th, 2019, 12:08 pm

dbailey wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 11:45 am
2 words: be careful
Sound advice. Cairo is a polluted, amazingly over-crowded zoo, with a few small oases of sanity. My brother-in-law was born and raised there and my sister lived there for a few years...right up to and just through the Arab spring. They still own rental properties. Tourism was all but decimated for several years. Word is that it's slowly clawing back to life with some legitimate "bargains". The Museum of Antiquities is a treasure trove which is (or at least was) woefully under cared for and disorganized. I'd recommend "staying on the path" created by your tour operator. Not a place to go out for casual directionless strolls to explore the sites. It's not Europe.

RT

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Michael O'Brien
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Re: Egypt

#5 Post by Michael O'Brien » March 12th, 2019, 2:58 pm

One thing to do is to take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Nile and the valleys. Incredible to see. There are several operators.
PlanoWino

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Re: Egypt

#6 Post by dbailey » March 13th, 2019, 8:24 am

Friends went there 2 years ago. Said it was a very uncomfortable experience as they felt extremely unwelcome everywhere they went.
Dan

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RyanC
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Re: Egypt

#7 Post by RyanC » March 13th, 2019, 8:48 am

A few months before the Arab Spring I spent a couple weeks in Cairo for work and had several days free. We were given the red carpet treatment by our client. But even then it was insanely chaotic and intimidating—even just crossing the street was an ordeal. But it was also totally fascinating and unique and I’m thrilled that I had the experience. We did only the standard sights, but they were magnificent. The great pyramids were of course crowded, but the less famous ancient sites near Cairo were empty and you could explore pyramids and see walls of hieroglyphics basically unsupervised. The Egyptian Museum of artifacts was amazing but also chaotic. The bizarre was very cool but I’d use a guide. Food was decent and interesting but not that exciting.

Get a guide for everything. Taxis were a moderately stressful experience.
C@ughey

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LoriMcLaughlin
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Re: Egypt

#8 Post by LoriMcLaughlin » March 13th, 2019, 8:55 am

Lots of great things to see in Cairo and the approach to the airport from desert to Nile valley to city is awe-inspiring. I traveled alone but joined some colleagues there. I blend in since I have a Mediterranean look with dark hair, but probably would have felt uncomfortable if I was a blond.

Love it or hate it, the guys in the markets and bazaars can be very blunt and aggressive. “How can I take your money” “I have what you want”, etc. but I loved the experience and enjoyed the bazaar. I love their food and am addicted to their lemon mint drink. There are a number or boat trips on the Nile and of course the Great Pyarmids nearby in Gaza. The night sound and light show when I visited was the same in the James Bond film - with the Omar Sharif voiceover.

We didn’t use any guides - but our team are well-seasoned travelers throughout the Middle East. If you’ve never been, you may likely be more comfortable with a guide and/or pre-arranged transport. Use common sense, don’t be flashy, and dress appropriately for a Muslim country.

If you or a travel companion loves unique jewelry, I highly recommend Azza Fahmy. I love their pieces.

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Re: Egypt

#9 Post by dbailey » March 13th, 2019, 11:35 am

Lori,

I love that lemon mint drink too, but only with the sugar syrup!

Dan
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Richard T r i m p i
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Re: Egypt

#10 Post by Richard T r i m p i » March 13th, 2019, 12:44 pm

Molokhia, not for the faint of heart. Like spinach with lots of Okra slime.

RT

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Re: Egypt

#11 Post by Siun o'Connell » March 13th, 2019, 3:37 pm

Some of my Polish coworkers go often for serious deep sea diving ... if that's of interest, let me know and I'll get you details.

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Mark Y
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Re: Egypt

#12 Post by Mark Y » March 13th, 2019, 4:00 pm

Siun o'Connell wrote:
March 13th, 2019, 3:37 pm
Some of my Polish coworkers go often for serious deep sea diving ... if that's of interest, let me know and I'll get you details.
The red sea does have the best diving in the world..
Y.e.

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Richard T r i m p i
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Re: Egypt

#13 Post by Richard T r i m p i » March 13th, 2019, 4:01 pm

The main SCUBA resort is Hurghada. A rogue attacker stabbed several tourists (all women) 2 years ago. 3 women died. There was an attack the year before (January 2016) involving tourist stabbings and alleged ISIS connections. On average, it's fairly safe (and much of it over-dived according to some) but again..."be careful".

The best (world class) diving is to the south closer to Sudan and typically requires a live-aboard. Not sure about the current safety status.

RT

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Eric Ifune
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Re: Egypt

#14 Post by Eric Ifune » March 13th, 2019, 5:11 pm

It's been some years, but I got lost walking around Cairo. Wanted to walk a few blocks to the Museum of Islamic Art. Missed it by half a block and got completely lost. Away from the hotels and tourist areas, there is little English spoken and maps and signs unintelligible for the nonArabic speakers. No taxis either. Ended up walking the entire length of the city but actually had an enjoyable time. Got a tour of the city's main fire station and found the national puppet museum. Rummaged around the booksellers market and found some antique maps I purchased. Managed to finally get a taxi at the Khan al Khalili bazzar. Went to the Museum the next day.

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Paul McCourt
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Re: Egypt

#15 Post by Paul McCourt » March 13th, 2019, 10:06 pm

Thanks everyone.

I'm not spending too much time wandering around Cairo. I'll be by myself on the way in and I'll show my daughter around a bit on the way out -and amazingly enough, although I was around the region many, many moons ago, I've never had a chance to do the tourist time at the pyramids or other antiquities, so we will spend some time together in both Luxor and Cairo and do some of those tourist things (I hate tours and like to be on my own time, so probably hire a guide for both as I find a good guide can provide a lot of trivia and local flavor, and get me access to interesting unexpected side jaunts and better food).

Personally, I don't mind the chaotic haggling in the markets. I find it more amusing than annoying, although I understand it can tiresome in a hurry if one isn't in the mood. (My daughter always says nobody ever seems to bother me because I "look mean". I, of course, disagree)

I'm not overly concerned about trouble or terrorism, to be honest. Beyond the normal precautions and simply not being stupid, everything I hear is that it is relatively safe unless you venture into no-go areas that still exist. My daughter is spending a day and a half at Hurghada and meeting me in Luxor, and I am not particularly worried about her safety there -she also speaks a bit of Arabic and can handle herself. From everything I am being told, they have come a long way in the last few years in comparison to the post-Spring conditions.

Too bad that the new Museum in Cairo opening date was pushed back into next year. They are spending about a billion bucks on it.

I'll have to check out that jewelry for a present to bring home to the wife (who is not coming, so offerings are required upon return).

The balloon idea sounds very interesting! A boat hire of some sort is definitely another good idea.

It is incredible how cheap everything is.

I am greatly looking forward to it.

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