Just back from Egypt....

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Sep 27th, 2005, 05:04 AM
  #1
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Just back from Egypt....

Have just returned from Egypt and still can't believe we were really there! It was a remarkable trip, booked through GETours, which included a stay in Cairo and a 7-day Nile Cruise - Luxor/Aswan/Luxor. Also, a visit to Abu Simbel, which we thought was one of the highlights of the trip, especially arriving before sunrise and watching the changing colors of the monuments as the sun came up.

We felt very welcome and very safe. Although we learned a few words of Arabic and used them whenever possible, most people we met spoke some English and were delighted to learn that we were Americans as US visitors have been staying away in recent years. The military presence is everywhere, including on our tour bus and walking trips. The undercarriage of the bus was checked with mirrors and/or bomb-sniffing dogs.

Shopping was an experience, to say the least. About bottled water......the first few brands we were buying did not really quench our thirst. They had a heavy mineral content. In Aswan, we found Dasani water at a local shop and that made all the difference. The water was very reasonably priced and we kept the large bottles in our room, filling our smaller bottles from them for sightseeing excursions.

Re: clothing, In Cairo, slacks/capris or long skirts and blouses/shirts with short sleeves. A scarf for entering Mosques. Sneakers or walking sandals and don't forget socks or your feet get very dusty.

For touring at Giza, Luxor, Aswan, etc., shorts are fine. However, T-shirts or knit polo shirts are too heavy to wear and the perspiration doesn't dry. Instead, try 100% cotton or seersucker-type blouses and shirts which are loose fitting, maybe even a size larger to allow the air to circulate. Sneakers or walking sandals with socks a must due to uneven surfaces and sandy areas. And tour early a.m. or late afternoon, early p.m. Besides being more comfortable and avoiding the majority of other tourists, you get some great sunrise/sunset photos.

Would be glad to answer any questions. Mimi
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Sep 27th, 2005, 06:19 AM
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My sister and I are leaving for Egypt on Oct.4th. I am sooo excited to be able to see in person the wonders I have read about since I was 6 years old. This trip is my birthday gift from my family. I am glad to hear that safety was not a concern. I didn't think that it was, but my family and friends are fearing the worst. I am glad you had a wonderful trip, thanks for the tips. We are traveling with Smithsonian Journeys. If you have any other information, please let me know.
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Sep 27th, 2005, 10:47 AM
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bobi: what a great way to celebrate your birthday! I was there in Nov/Dec as my b'day gift to myself. You will indeed have a grande time!

I too had so many people concerned for my safety on the trip and I, like you, was not worried...and had no reason to be. As you'll see from my trip report on the following link, I felt totally safe the entire time I was there. The Egyptians are some of the most warm and welcoming people I have ever met.

http://www.worldisround.com/articles/207621/

Enjoy your trip and have a fabulous birthday!
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Sep 27th, 2005, 03:06 PM
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Oh my Goodness bobi !!

I am also leaving for Egypt on October 4th.

I am wondering if the place is big enough for the two of us at the same time !!

Maybe while you are in Cairo I will go to Luxor ,then when you are in Luxor I will go to Aswan!! and so on.

What a way to celebrate your birthday.
Have a great trip.


Mimi ,Thank you very much for your most helpful comments about the clothes ,water and shoes.

I am doing exactly what you just did, , a 7 days cruise Luxor/Aswan/Luxor with a side trip to Abu Simble.

I am staying an extra day to go to Alexandria with a private tour guide for the day.

Thank you again Mimi,and bobi don't forget to say Hi to me when our paths cross.!!

Percy




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Sep 28th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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Mimi

On the cruise boat is there little shampoo bottles?

Because if there is then I will
not have to bring any from home....one less thing to pack

Thank you

Percy
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Sep 28th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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Percy, All the hotels I stayed in including the 3 star in the desert & the cruise ship had bottles of shampoo.
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Sep 28th, 2005, 02:32 PM
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Thank You sunshine007

Or should I say "double oh seven"!!!

My wife will pack he little shampoo bottle but I will not.

Once again Thank You

Percy
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Sep 28th, 2005, 03:24 PM
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Percy: We were on the MS Miriam - kind of old-world elegant, including a bathtub in every stateroom. There were several little packets of shampoo, but the one with conditioner included was for dark hair only (I'm blond and my husband is grey). The other was for all hair types, but there was no separate conditioner. Luckily, I packed several of the free samples of shampoo and conditioner you get in our magazines, so I used what I brought. The hotel in Cairo had shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, etc., but the lids on the bottles did not screw down, so we did not take them with us for the Nile Cruise.

There was a hairdryer on the boat but it was not very powerful. Still, thanks to the low humidity, I never had a bad hair day in Egypt. I brought along my hot-air brush and an adaptor for a quick pick-me-up for hat hair.

We loved Egypt and plan to visit again when we can combine it with Israel and Jordan. Enjoy your trip.
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Sep 28th, 2005, 03:52 PM
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All the hotels I stayed in had hairdryers. Most of the hotels had conditioner and/or body lotion in addition to shampoo. I didn't run into topless shampoo containers or conditioner for specific types of hair as did Mimi. I'm going back in November & am not bringing shampoo, conditioner or hair dryer. That must save a few pounds, yes?
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Sep 28th, 2005, 06:36 PM
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Mimi and sunshine007

Thank you for your input .

I am not going to bring and shampoo.

When in Cairo I am staying at the lovely Marritt Hotel on Zamlek Island overlooking the Nile.

If I am able to I will take a small sample bottle ( from the Marriott) of shampoo for the 7 day Nile Cruise.

I only need a sample size bottle to last me for a week.

Thank you once again.

We have a private tour guide picking us up at the airport as we are flying in a day earlier ( before the regular tour group arrives).

So we will get in a full day of touring ahead of time.

Then we are staying an extra day at the end so we can go to Alexandria with the same private tour guide.

Thanks to you all
Percy
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Dec 19th, 2005, 03:55 PM
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I realize it's been a while since you posted your message but, I am looking for feedback on GET tour of Egypt. You seem to have a positive experience which sounds good. Was the cruise ship great, good, sufficient, poor and do you have other advice on this tour? Thanks Ken
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Dec 22nd, 2005, 05:14 AM
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Kenc: Yes, we had no complaints for Grand European Tours (GETours). Our local guide/Egyptologist was exceptional and planned our daily excursions well to avoid the mid-day sun and heat. Of course, this meant many very early wake-up calls, but there was always time to catch a nap at some point.

The Hotel, Semiramis Intercontinental, was located in central Cairo just minutes away from the Egyptian Museum. It was modern and very luxurious, though you should request a non-smoking floor if needed. (Everyone in Egypt smokes)

We chose GETours primarily because of the 7-day Nile cruise, though this cut down on free-time in Cairo. We thought it was a fair trade-off for a first visit to Egypt. The tour covered all the major sites at a leisurely pace and cruising up and down the Nile was a wonderful experience. It allowed us to bond with our fellow group members, as we were sharing all meals together for those 7-days, rather than going our separate ways in the hotel in Cairo.

We enjoyed Egypt so much, that we plan to return at some point and combine it with a more comprehensive tour of the region -- Israel and Jordan -- and perhaps be a bit more adventurous and see more things off the beaten path.

One final note....prior to this trip, we could find very little Internet feedback on this tour company. But of the 29 people in our group, several had used GETours many, many times. We were very satisfied and would recommend them very highly.

Wherever you're going, enjoy!!!
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Dec 22nd, 2005, 05:30 AM
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Kenc: Sorry, I forgot you asked about the Nile Cruise....the ship was not the most modern, but it was very lovely. Each room had a full bathtub. (Re: not modern, when you dock in many cities, the ships stack up and you have to walk through several lobbies to get to land. Some are so fancy you feel like you're in Vegas!!)

The food was excellent, though all meals were served buffet style. However, there was a huge selection daily (chicken, fish, veal, etc.) and lots of salads and fresh vegetables prepared in many ways. I especially enjoyed the Egyptian cuisine because it was not spicy like some other middle-Eastern foods.

The staff was courteous and always smiling. There was only entertainment on two nights -- a belly dancer (ugh) and a Whirling Dervish (outstanding!) one night, and the Galabeya party with dancing and games. I was surprised that nearly every passenger got into the spirit of dressing up. You might purchase something to wear at the ship's gift shop (very reasonable -- though all prices are negotiable), or from the boat people while waiting to get through the Esna Lock. (They row up to the anchored ship and throw items up onto the deck for your approval. If you want something, you negotiate a price and toss the money down in a bag......it's great fun.)

Other evenings, we just sat on deck and socialized, or watched the Egyptian wedding parties as they made their ritual stops along the Nile for photos and good luck....this has to be seen first hand.

All in all, it was great. I look at my photos and still can't believe I was actually there!
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