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garner Jul 27th, 2009 09:37 AM


Percy Jul 27th, 2009 10:34 AM

This is a bit of a problem in Egypt.

Tipping your guide and hotel staff is okay,and you will of course do this.

It is just that during your tour up and down the Nile you will come to many places,where the some people will be asking for a tip ....while others are in your face trying to sell you something.

If you tip one or two kids.... you may be swarmed by about 10 others,who will come "out of nowhere."!!!!

I converted some $US money into Egyptian pounds and got about 200 one pounds Egyptian bills.

I gave these away like kids and others ( at times just to get rid of them ).

Like you said One Pound is about 18 cents.

I took a felluca ( sailboat) ride in Aswan and while I was on the water...two young children about ages 8 and 10 years old ,came paddling up to me on a home made raft ,that was leaking water !!! ...singing me songs ...for a tip.

They were so cute , I gave them each a $US 1.00, knowing that others were not likely to come attacking me !!

Grcxx3 Jul 27th, 2009 12:13 PM

I would recommend using Egyptian Pounds -mainly because it is easier to adjust the amount you are willing to give with LE. As Percy said - convert a bunch of USD into LE when you arrive - getting as many 1 LE notes as possible.

sandi Jul 27th, 2009 12:15 PM

Guess I'm not as generous, especially not when it comes to Baksheesh. Sure, the porters and housekeeping, as well as guides and boat staff get tipped and quite generously... not the others.

It's a way of life in Egypt, even more so than many destinations, including other Middle East countries. The little kids are adorable, but I've seen them take trinkets or a few local notes, only to hand over their "booty" to an adult. Sad, but by 2nd day, I stopped... sorry kiddies! It becomes annoying and a turn-off when otherwise visitors would be naturally generous.

Suggestion: while learning a few words in any local language - from "hello, good-bye, thank you, please, excuse me, how much and where's the toilet" - add: "NO, not interested" and be firm when saying it. :)

Percy Jul 27th, 2009 03:04 PM

Yep , those tip seeking children and adults can and will be annoying.....
maybe it is just part of the Egypt holiday:)

Something we all have to tolerate.( They are going to keep asking for tips)

And they can become a little aggressive !

At Kom Ombo, this little fellow was doing the Snaker Charmer with his flute.

He asked if I wanted a picture with a snake around my neck.
I figured,"What the heck , why not."

After the picture, I gave him a 20 pound Egyptian note ( about $4.00 US)...that was the only money I had on me , as I just walk off the cruise boat.

Well !!!!! he sure was not happy with this and kept following me for more money !!!, the little stinker !

I should have done what one lady at the Pyramids did.

She had her picture taken beside a local policeman on a horse....after the picture she gave him $5.00 US.

He wanted more, so she quickly snatched the $5.00 out of his hand and said to him , "Now you get nothing "

I do not think I would have been that brave!!

Ahh , yes.... Happy Tipping in Egypt. :)

LAleslie Jul 27th, 2009 03:47 PM

I also reccommend lots of Egyptian pounds in small change with which to tip. Dollars quickly add up and tipping $1 to use the restroom is really far too much. Learn to say "No thanks" in Egyptian (I forget the phrase) and say it very firmly and most people will leave you alone if they feel you mean it.

nouryan Jul 27th, 2009 09:38 PM

To say "No, thanks" just say "La, shukran".

One Egyptian pound is fine for baksheesh in most places, though anyone who "offers" to let you take a photo with their animal is likely going to expect a lot more. My father got scammed out of 30USD that way. Always agree upon a price before you get on.

Bostonian in Cairo

Casual_Cairo Jul 28th, 2009 02:27 AM

Percy, What I'm certain happened to you and to nouryan's father is what happens to me when I decide to be generous to a taxi driver - The minute you over pay for something, that seems to automatically put them into the "try to get more cuz this stupid tourist has NO idea what the going rate is" mode. It's super annoying as I am trying to be kind and generous, but then when they go into that mode, it shows total disrespect for me, and I loose my mood to to be generous.
They know darn well they've been over paid, but I bet for everyone that snatched her $5 back from the policeman, there are two that said "Oh isn't that enough? What should it be?" and then gives another $5. It has to have worked for them, or they wouldn't do it.

Nouryan - welcome to the Fodors board. Are you an Egyptian that has moved back to Egypt recently? What do you do here?

Casual_Cairo Jul 28th, 2009 02:38 AM

Garner, one more thing I think needs to be said so you are ready for it, is that Ramadan is the worst time of the year to come to Egypt if handing out little cash gratuities is not something you want to do. Ramadan is a very expensive time of the year for everyone, as there is lots of entertaining (at every economic level) to be done, new clothes to be bought for the EID, and much backsheesh to be given out. Ramadan brings the beggars out of the woodwork so to speak and everyone will have their hand out - more so than normal.

Just beware of that. There will be more beggars on the streets, by far, in Ramadan than usual.

sandi Jul 28th, 2009 05:55 AM

Seems we've all had similar experiences. Love that woman who pulled the $5 back. Goes to show when one gets too greedy.

Garner, info provided, advise given, so you're prepared. Take it from there and you'll really enjoy this wonderful country, history and warm people.

nouryan Jul 28th, 2009 06:42 AM

Hi Casual_Cairo, I am an American expat who has lived in Cairo for 15 years, 10 of those years married to an Egyptian & the last 5 teaching at AUC. It's great to be a member of such a friendly and helpful forum. I've been getting great advice for an upcoming trip to France over on the Europe forum!

Bostonian in Cairo

Percy Jul 28th, 2009 07:46 AM

Hi Debbie and sandi

Yes , I know I over paid for having that snake around my neck and the picture taken.

But that was the only money I had on me as I just walked off the cruise boat because it parks ride beside the Kom Ombo Temple.

I thought he would have been very happy to get this but Oh No!!!

Being back home and looking back at the event ... it is rather comical..... but being there and running the gaunlet of all those many people asking for tips, got to be annoying!!!

What would an Egypt Nile cruise be without being pestered a bit ( I said a bit :)

Casual_Cairo Jul 28th, 2009 10:21 AM

Percy, He was happy. Believe me. He was estatic! He just wanted to know if you would give him more. That's all. He figured you might.

Casual_Cairo Jul 28th, 2009 10:23 AM

Nouryan, Are you out at the new campus? What do you teach? That new campus is fabulous. I understand it feels like it's way out in BFE, but soon it will feel like Cairo has always been close.

Grcxx3 Jul 28th, 2009 10:33 AM

Where is the new campus???

nouryan Jul 28th, 2009 04:32 PM

Yes Casual_Cairo (Debbie?), I work on the new campus, teaching composition. Grcxx3, believe it or not the new campus is about an hour east of the center of town in New Cairo, District 5, Road 90. Creative, huh? With so many centuries of recorded history there are hundreds, nay, thousands, of names to use...but sadly, we get numbers for street names and neighborhoods. At least the campus IS beautiful and a refreshing change of pace after 30 minutes driving on the crazy Ring Road.

nouryan Jul 28th, 2009 04:37 PM

I just wanted to add that you should not feel any obligation to tip more 'just because it's Ramadan'. Of course, you can give more if you want to. Don't let the grumpy nicotine & caffeine starved people fool you, Egyptians are extra generous during this time of year.

Grcxx3 Jul 28th, 2009 04:48 PM

nouryan - help me get oriented. I lived in Ma'adi, so I know that area and the road out to Kayameya and to Ain Soukhna. Is it out that way?

Oh - and you are SOOOO brave to tackle the Ring Road!!!! I never drove outside Ma'adi. DH did - but I refused!!! :)

Casual_Cairo Jul 29th, 2009 12:26 PM

Crcxx3 - you wouldn't recognize that area now. Come up the Ring Road to Katamaya and keep going. About 1/2 way to the JW Marriott you would take a right out into the desert, but it isn't hardly desert any more. There are villas and businesses and schools and more out there now. It's just getting developed, but the AUC campus is really pretty. Of course it is all new, but the architect did a beautiful job of making it look very old Islamic. Kind of like the Al Ahzar park has been done - if you saw that.

Casual_Cairo Jul 29th, 2009 12:27 PM

Nouryan, Yes, Casual Cairo - Debbie - one in the same.

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