Egypt and back !

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Sep 24th, 2000, 11:19 PM
  #1
Charlie
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Egypt and back !

I've just returned from a 10 day Egyptian tour/cruise and would be glad to help with any questions that I can.
 
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Sep 25th, 2000, 02:30 PM
  #2
carol
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Dear Charlie - Tell us everything you wish you had known before you left! What did you learn that you can pass on?
Thanks.
 
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Sep 25th, 2000, 07:03 PM
  #3
Charlie
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Hi Carol, here's a mini report.My 10 day trip was actually 8,losing 2 in travel.Our time was split between Cairo(3 days)and the Nile cruise(5 days).I personally enjoyed the cruise,watching the Egyptian countryside slide by,and would recommend no less than a 5 day cruise to fully enjoy all the stops between Luxor and Aswan.I'll briefly outline my itinerary and thoughts.
Cairo airport arrival.
Visa
Upon arrival you must secure your visa which is easily done in the arrival area.Tours companys offer this service for between$25&$40 and all they do is point you to a line and you get it yourself.Find the line yourself and the visa is only $15.
Hotel
We stayed at the Cairo El Gezirah Sheraton,a beautiful 5 star hotel with great views of the Nile and the city.The best views are from the south side of the building and you can see the Pyramids from the 18th floor and above.If you are planning to tour the city yourself you may want to consider another hotel a little closer to downtown,the Cairo Hilton for example is just a couple of blocks from the Cairo museum(all of Tut's goodies).Must sees are the museum,the Pyramids and the Khan al-Khalili bazaar if you're a shopper.YOU MUST REMEMBER TO BARGIN for everthing as prices are greatly inflated by as much as two thirds.I acquired some Egyptian art on Papyrus and be forwarned to buy Papyrus from a reputable dealer because there is a lot of false papyrus art for sale made from banana plants with printed art instead of hand painted.A good source is Mena Papryus Institute located near the Pyramids.The only negative for me in Cairo were the vendors at the Pyramids,they are super agressive and swarm you relentlessly not even allowing you to reflect on the wonderful things that you are seeing.At night there is a laser light show at the Pyramids,its a little corny but its pleasing to the eye and you are seated with lots of time to reflect(no vendors).
GOOD NEWS---
It seems that as you travel south the vendors become less agressive,a simple no thanks works in most cases.
TIP
Don't make eye contact with the vendors,it seems to help.

Luxor
Must sees-
East Bank--Karnack Temple(very nice)
Luxor Temple(ok)
West Bank--Valley of Kings(my favorite)
" " Queens(good)
Colossi of Memnon(ok)

Edfu
Edfu Temple(take it or leave it)

Kom Ombo
Kom Ombo Temple(stay on board and use the pool)

Aswan
High Dam(waste of time)
Unfinished Obelisk(waste of time)
Philae Temple(worth a visit)
*****If you have a few extra bucks the side trip to Abu Simbel is worthwhile.

Videos and photos--
I was disappointed to find that at almost all indoor sights video was forbidden without a permit.Permits
were available for EP100/EP150 or
$30/$50 US. I found this to be the case at at least 8 sights and I wasn't willing to spend an axtra $240/$400 for video.

Photo tips--
#1 Flash is not permitted in most all indoor sights because it fades the colors on painted surfaces.
#2 You will need at least 800 speed
film(even faster would be better)to capture the painted Hieroglyphs.
#3 If your camera is auto be sure that you can TURN OFF your flash
or take a piece of tape to cover
the flash and block the light.
Accidental flashes can result in
fines.

Mummy's tummy--
Use bottled water for everyting,
brushing teeth,ect,.
If it's not fully cooked or peelable don't eat it.
Our group of 30 lost 8 to mummy's tummy and 1 to heat exhaustion,the daily temps from
Luxor south were 110 degs.

That's about all that I can think of at the moment,I still have jet lag,If you have any other questions let me know.
 
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Sep 26th, 2000, 08:18 AM
  #4
Karen
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Dear Charlie,
Thanks for your helpful info as I am planning a similar trip later this year. Can you share with me the name of your tour company and cruise line? Also did you do any exploring on your own or did you feel more comfortable staying with the guides? Any other tips such as dress aboard the cruise would be appreciated.
Karen
 
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Sep 26th, 2000, 10:51 AM
  #5
Charlie
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Hi Karen,we toured with Foreign Independent Tours in Fort Lee,N.J. They have a web sight ...www.fitnile.com
we were very satisfied with their services.As to getting out on our own we didn't have much free time as our trip was only 10 days but I don't think we would have anyway.I felt that the language barrier was a hindrance and mostly all street signs(including those in Cairo) were in Arabic only making it difficult at best to get around.Our cruise line was Queen Nabila which is one of the larger lines(6 or more ships) sailing the Nile.Dress on board and on the shore excursions was very casual,shorts were ok,however I must caution you that shorts,tank tops,etc. should not be worn touring around Cairo or Alexandria.Proper dress around town would be slacks and a sleeved shirt or blouse.A few folks in our group wore shorts to the Cairo museum and were subjected to a lot of coughing from the native male population,it seems they cough aloud to show disapproval with visitors.What may be the best tip I can offer is about "Mummy's Tummy".We had an excellant Egyptoligist(sp??)with us for the entire trip and she said that even the locals suffer from M's Tummy and the local prevention method is to drink lots of fresh lemon in your bottled water daily and avoid greasy foods.Does it work? Who knows but during the tour I seen a few people suffer the ultimate embarrassment and I'd vote for lemon and water.Well I hope that I've helped give a yell if there is something else.
 
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