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Ramadan in Egypt and Jordan

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I'm going to be in Israel, Egypt and Jordan during the last 3 weeks of January 1999. This will be my first time in the Middle east, and I understand that Ramadan is during this period. Does anyone know the exact dates of Ramadan? (My travel agent, and two guides books have all given me different dates.)

Also, I have heard that the week after Ramadan is rather festive and that this is a bad time to travel in the muslim world. Is this true?

I was thinking of booking my first nights' accomodations in Egypt and Jordan before I leave, and then looking for cheaper accomodations after I arrive. (I always do this in Europe). Is this feasible in Egypt and Jordan? Is it feasible during Ramadan? Considering that I am travelling during Ramadan, might it be better to join a tour group, to ensure that my accomodations and transportation are guaranteed? (China is the only place I have ever had to do this.)

Finally, how easy is it to get around with English? (I imagine that it will be more difficult than in Europe, but easier than in China.)

--Tony Bonner

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