How safe is Egypt after 9/11/2012

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Dec 28th, 2012, 01:34 AM
  #81
 
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Casual, it was and looking at the other "standards" I guessed it was the best. On technical merits it's a clean bright wine with a nose mainly of the laboratory that tastes as if it has been made as two wines and mixed. One of the wines has a very short taste with just a hint of fruit, the other has a medium length taste that is not particularly nice. I'd rate it in the 10/20 level, ie drinkable with no particular technical faults. I know it was red and might have some Merlot in it. (you asked )

I've had the Omar Kyam before and still shudder at the experience.

Still the beer (Stella) is drinkable if very Heinekin based and hence really just for slaking your thirst (Think Ice Cold in Alex for those who remember old films).

I think the Lemon drink that I had all over was pretty good and since I had a cold the hot Hibiscus tea was envigerating.

For food the little Metse type dishes of Falefal (with parsley) and cheese in pastry and the odd humous and other dips made a good lunch time snacks. For my main meals I liked the variations on oven baked veggie stews with or without cheese and stuff.

Mrs Bilbo looked on Trip Advisor this am (weather is horrible in UK at moment so stayed in bed) and saw the Egypt area is very active with terrible storys of being scammed. All I can say is even the man in charge of the airport security xray machine wanted baksheesh for taking my bag and putting it badly onto the conveyor belt.
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Dec 28th, 2012, 02:54 AM
  #82
 
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And he would have been satisfied with somewhere between 10 and 50 pence for doing that, since he probably makes about 50 GBP a month for a salary. Compared to the UK everything here is SO inexpensive that a bit of back sheesh here and there seems fair (to me). It is something that one has to get used to, I understand that. If they were making the same slaries as the workers in the UK or the union workers in the states, the request for a tip would seem over the top, but under the circumstances I sort of appreciate that I get to pick and choose how much and to whom my welfare donation goes to.
Come to think of it though, in the states if a man takes your bag from you at the airport (curb service) and puts it on the conveyor belt (nicely or badly) he expects a great deal more than 50 pence, and he will no doubt make sure it is tossed on badly if he doesn't get at least $5.00. The bad thing in the states is that it is sometimes hard to even find someone that will help. Is it different in the UK?

LOL about the wine - but what do I know? Not that much, for sure!
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Dec 28th, 2012, 06:27 AM
  #83
 
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If the guy had been at the curb I 'd agree. But I was standing by the xray machine and he was in the way, effectivley I swung it, he touched it and it went to the wrong part of the conveyor. I think if he had been successful it would have been "as assist basket" as it was he was in the way, added no value and almost damaged stuff.

I had no problem with shoe cleaners, waiters, cleaners, taxis and "guides" (hah).

In the UK there is not much "help" hanging about the streets and the whole tipping thing wins Brits no real plaudits on Fodors however. I see it like this.

The UK. If you need help getting through the airport (wheelchair etc), the aircraft company provides it (free) it's in EU law. When you queue for the Taxi, its free, people know how to queue it does not take many brain cells and opening doors is not too tricky. If you need door helping skills you ask the taxi driver who is going to expect 10%. If you are so weak you need a porter there are people and I have no idea what they cost but I guess £5 to £10. They are around but you often have to send for them. When you get to the hotel, I walk away from a hotel that wanted me to give them my bag to show me to a room (which an idiot could find) and I'd certainly expect to carry my own bag. I think in London there are hotels that offer porters and I guess again £1 to £5 would be right (no idea) I'd still leave a tip in the hotel room if I'd stayed a few days (£10) but not if just over night.

Waiters in restaurants get at least minimum wage (well everyone gets minimum wage unless you are self employed) and I'd put 10% on the table (not the card) unless "service" is included in which case 5%.

I'd also expect all prices to be tax inclusive.

So visiting the States is very weird. In Egypt it is not so bad, I guess due to the low value of the currency, but how do you maintain a stream of change in your pocket to pay this backsheesh when you are not used to it. How do you remember to keep filling your pockets with the stuff? Do you order it especially?

Anyway, have a look at Trip Advisor and see what the poor guy with the wheelchair bound wife did, he paid backsheesh, they did nothing for it so he still ended up doing all the work.
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Dec 29th, 2012, 02:29 AM
  #84
 
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You had a lot to say, but the only real point you made that I want to comment on at this point was this:
<>

When I first moved here I felt exactly the same way. I could not understand a nation of people that could NOT seem to stand in line and wait their turn. It drove me nuts. There are times when it still drives me nuts, but then I try to remember something someone once told me about why this might be the case....

You and I have been priviledged to be born in and raised in a country where, for as long as we have been around (more than likely) there has been plenty for everyone and we learned at a very early age that if we were polite and waited our turn we would get our share. Sadly that isn't the case everywhere in the world, and Egypt is certainly one of the places in the world that most of the population learned early that if they didn't push and shove their way to the front of the line, they might be turned away with nothing to show for the time they spent. This has applied over the last two decades to things like bread, butter, gasoline, and more staples that you and I consider nearly our right to have, and not a priviledge. I know I have NEVER had to push and shove my way to the front of the bread line before they closed the window because they were out of the daily allotment. I hope you haven't either. But many of these people have themselves, and certainly their parents did. It's cultural and a learned response that will take time to break the habit.

One of my missions here is to teach everyone how to stand in line though. Wish me luck. I can't leave until they know how to do this.
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Dec 29th, 2012, 06:34 AM
  #85
 
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great comment, I agree with all you say. I understand that in London the queue is begining to fade away as society down there downgrades.

I still don't understand how in the "tipping society" people have the cash in their pockets all the time.
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Dec 29th, 2012, 11:15 AM
  #86
 
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THANK YOU, Casual Cairo for your excellent post concerning queues I haven't posted on Fodors in a long time, but have been lurking in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Egypt and Jordan. (January 10! Can't wait.)

I'm in SHOCK that your extremely logical explanation for the chaotic lines I've often encountered non-Western countries never occurred to me. (Not to mention the aggressive touts.) I've always been pretty zen about stuff like that, but I suspect your insights will make whatever hassles I encounter even easier to deal with.
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Dec 29th, 2012, 11:21 AM
  #87
 
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Ugh, there's a huge typo in my previous post. There should be a period in the middle of that humongous, illogical first sentence that should, in fact, be two sentences. Is there a way to edit posts?
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Dec 29th, 2012, 11:48 AM
  #88
 
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It's called preplanning and learning to deal with it. I usually try to carry small bills and change when I know I will be going out. Other times I use the language skills I've accumulated and if I only have large bills, I've been known to ask the service giver if they have change.
You have to assume the bathroom ladies and gents have pockets full of 1LE coins and would be delighted to exchange 9 of those for a 10LE note.... or 19 for a 20LE note.
You must speak the language though as they won't understand why you want their money otherwise, and I haven't figured out a way to turn that action into charades yet.
Another plan is to go to any kiosk on the street and buy a small bottle of water with your big bill. You should get useable change for that, then you have water and change - two good things to have here.

TravlinFool - This site does not offer a method to edit your posts. The only good way to do that is to hit Preview first and proof read your post before hitting Submit. Otherwise do what you did and just fix it in another post - but you'll probably soon get sick of that and just leave the mistakes in like the rest of us. Will Casual Cairo be seeing you while you are in Egypt next month?
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Dec 30th, 2012, 12:46 AM
  #89
 
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Don't think we'll be in Cairo long enough for that to happen! My friend and I are only going to be in the city for a day and half before heading to Luxor. I wanted to spend more time in Cairo, but my traveling buddy was made paranoid by everybody telling him we were crazy to go to Egypt in the first place. I had to promise him we would spend minimal time in Big Bad Cairo. Sigh.

Lady Egypt is the tour company. Got the name here on Fodors. They've been a pleasure to deal with. If their ground game is as good as their internet game, we'll be well taken care of.
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Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:04 AM
  #90
 
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While I was in Egypt last spring, I was at first a little overwhelmed with the demand for handouts whether as a tip or not. At tourist areas you learned to avoid eye contact because as soon as they pointed to something they wanted a tip whether you asked them to or not. However, a few times, like in Luxor when we had time, we actually listened to what they had to offer and were treated with a wonderful fellucah ride to a restaurant up the Nile and a private camel trip. Each of these cost us much less than what the travel agent's guide was offering and we felt we really had some unique experiences. I applaud the entrepreneurship of some of these young men. On top of that the 'tip' at the end of our experiences probably fed the man's family for a week. Tourists are so low there now that you can understand their desperation. I am not a 'bleeding heart' and can walk away from any aggressive demand for money but I was very happy to contribute when appropriate.
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