Just Back from Egypt

Old Oct 27th, 2005, 04:01 PM
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Just Back from Egypt

Returned from Egypt last week and got the Flu on the final evening there, while in Alexandria.

I am just feeling better now to do a little report.

I went on a 16 day tour but went a full day earlier and stayed an extra day at the end.

I booked a private tour guide for ther first and last day and this was a excellent move as I visited places that I would not have seen on our regular tour .

We arrived in Cairo near midnight and our tour guide was there waiting for us.

He took our passports and $30.00US( for two of us) and was back within 5 minutes with our Visa.

Then he stood in my place in line for customs while I went to exhange some money for Egyptian Pounds. This took about 4 minutes ..Wow!

Now for some bad news ,our luggage did not arrive for two days... but British Airways called and said they will deliver it to our room the next day...they did at 2 AM the following day.....
I was getting ready to starting buying some new clothes.

We stayed at the Marriott and they upgraded us to the Executive Suite (no extra charge)with this super view of the Nile. Wow!!

Next morning Debbie was waiting for us at 8:45AM in the hotel lobby..so off we went.

Our Tour Guide Debbie Senters took us to the Ibn Tulum Mosque, the Gayer -Anderson Museum and then to the City of the Dead.

The City of the Dead is really a nice place to tour about and visit and I got to climb up to the top of a Minaret...which Minaret??...the one of the face of the Egyptian one Pound note.

The we did Coptic Cairo and visited the Hanging Church and the rest of the grounds and cemetery.

Then it was off for a snack and Debbie knew just where to take us as she lead us down narrow alley , that looked like it was going nowhere... then there is was this nice quaint restaurant.

We then did the Khan El Khalil Bazaar and this is where we bought our Galabeas for our Cruise Boat Galabea Party in a few days.

These things are cheap,I paid $7.00 US, none were over $10.00 US, but then Debbie knew the fellow and of course as one of Debbie's clients we got a "deal."'

The merchants are in your face continually ,enticing you to purchase their product.
This was day one in Cairo and I can tell you you better get use to this harrassment by the sellers because it will follow you your whole trip.

I became immune to it after a few days.

As you sit in the main square at the Khan El Khalil Bazaar,there are lovely Mosques to see in every direction, like:

The Hussein Mosque with it very tall lone minaret and

the lovely Al Azhur Mosque with its eye catching 3 minarets.

I will not go into details about how nice some of these churchs and Mosques are inside because some are beyond my description.

There are many lovely white geometric patterns in these buildings and you think they are painted white.... then you walk up close and touch them and they are solid Ivory !

You will also see statues of Ramses ll along the main road from the airport.

We were there during Ramadan month,so they could not eat or drink or smoke or have sex,from sunrise to sunset.

They say the most babies are born 9 months after Ramadan !!

Egypt Museum:
Whatimpressed me most here was how huge the boxes were that King Tuts four coffins were eventually placed in.

You know that there were four boxes ,each succeeding one being smaller so as to fit into the previous one, well that first box looked like half the size of a train car.!

At the Citadel:

This place is perched up on a hill and seem to overlook all of Cairo, something like the Edinburgh Castle does in Scotland.

The view from here is spectacular

To enter the Mohammed Ali Mosque, you removed and carry your shoes.

If women wore shorts,then they draped a robe over them.

No I will not even try to describe how beautiful the work is in side the Mohammed Ali Mosque and the stained glass all the way up into the highest dome...how did they do this!!!

The Light and Sound Show at Giza at the Pyramids: well....

Hmmmm, you better know some history or you will looking up at the sky most of the time.
Thank goodness I was well read about the Pyramids and their Dynasty.

You could skip this and not miss much.

On yes, there is a Hard Rock Cafe and Kentucky Fried Chicken place facing the Pyramids, if you are hungry!!!

Like I said on the way to the airport there are 2 large stautes of Ramses ll and a Mosque with the largest Minaret in the world,so the Egyptians say.."remember when you are in Egypt...then Egypt has the largest Minaret.",so said our tour guide.


We flew here from Cairo inthis huge plane.

Landed in Luxor to 106F heat!

Luxor is much more lush than Cairo and you can see this from the air ,as the land boardering the Nile is green and lush and then about a mile further away it is desert, the demarkation is quite a contrast,like a line being drawn in the sand.

Luxor temple.Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings,with visits to three tombs and the main one of course being Queen Hatshepsuts Temple.

To enter King Tuts Tomb ,you have to pay extra and the price is $14.00US, but save your money,there is not much there...everything you will want to see is at the Cairo Museum.

There are merchants at ALL these Tomb places and they are in your face to buy something, they will follow you and just keep asking you.

Just say La,La ,La ..this means No!

Or say Laaaa-ARG and maybe a few will get the message but do not count on it.

I was up at 5 AM taking pictures as we went though the locks at Esna.

Edfu Temple:

This is probably the best reserved temple in all of Egypt.
We had a carriage ride from our cruise boat to the Temple.
There were carriages everywhere,it was like a caravan, but when we reached out destination, I soon relaized we were trapped in a carriage mazes and the horses had no place to move and started to rear up...what a mess!!!

The Temperature was 104 F. Whew.

Crusing the Nile is just lovely because it is so peaceful and you are no more than a full block away from the shoreline on both sides.

So the people are waving to you as you pass by,and you do pass through many little town not listed on your Nile Cruise.

At Aswan:

We had a Felluca Ride and you will see the Kalabash Mosque ( which is near the Aswan High Dam) and we visted the famous Aglika Island where the Philea Temple had to be move to.

We visted both the Aswan Dam (1898) and the Aswan High Dam (1961 started to build).

A visit to the Papyrus Factory if you want to purchase some Papyrus painting.

We flew from Aswan to Abu Simble and I have to say this was the highlite Temple of the whole trip.
Both Temples are right beside Lake Nasser,almost as if they were on a long beach.

Their movement to their present location which was done by UNESCO, is nothing short of an Engineering marvel.

You cannot take pictures inside Abu Simble Temple, nor video either.

Inside the temple is something to behold, like a kid I touched every column inside .

Wear shoes and socks or very good sandle with sox so your feet do not get dusty, but good sandles and no socks will be okay.

Our guide told us as we were going to Abu Simble"
Wear shoes and socks
Wear a hat
Wear sunglasses
Bring water and drink often...but Oh No!!

there always has to be a few stupid people ( this time it was two women ,sorry ladies)who thought this was a fashion walk.

They wore backless heel sandles with 2 inch heels... yes you guessed it,they fell and twisted their ankle, so it was ice paks anda tensor dressing and they hobbled along for days on their swollen ankles.!!

Finally let me give you some prices to the Temples:
Queen Hatshepshut.. 20Ponds
Edfu Temple..35 Pounds
Phliea Temple..35 Pounds
Karnak Temple...40 Pounds
Unfinsihed Obelisk ..20 Pounds
Luxor Temple.. 35 unds.
Kom Ombo Temple...20 Pounds
Giza PyrAmids...40 Pounds
Step Pyramids... 25 Pounds
Squarra.....35 Pounds
Egyptian Museum...40 Pounds
Citadel...35 Pounds

Now if you are on a tour, these prices are taken care for you,but on your own,this is the price list.

Remember, you get about 5.75 (fluctuates) Egyptains Pounds for one US$,so the entrance to these palces is rather cheap.

On our final day after the tur was over we went to Alexandria with our private tour guide Debbie Senters, this was a very lovely full day trip,and should not be missed of you can stay a day longer.

When you stand in front the The Sphinx and the Pyramids for the first time...a little voice inside of you says, "I finally made it here."

I will stop now ,but I could go on for another hour.


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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 05:00 PM
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Thanks for the great report. As with all the others, I'm taking it all in eagerly. Would you be more specific as to what was (or wasn't) in King Tut's tomb?
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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There were the paintings of course but all the gold and coffins and boxes and chairs have been removed .

The mask itself is in Los Angelos right now, but much of the rest of his gold and ornaments is in the Egyptian Museum.

There is a mummy room in the Egyptian but this is an extra cost and you don't really get a good viewing of the mummies.

When in the Valley of the Kings if you can get to go to the Tomb of Ramses V1(6)you will absolutely love this Tomb.

There is a Light and Sound show at the Karnak Temple, but once again you have to know your history , because they have lights shinning on the various places in the Temple and a voice over the speaker, giving you some history.

Then you will sit down by the Sacred Lake at Karnack Temple and there is a further 1/2 hour of show still remaining.

They will go through the Dynasties and it is nice if you can understand some of it... like the 18th 19th and 20th Dynasties.

King Tut was in the 18th Dynasty and only ruled for 9 years.
Ramses started in the 19th Dynasty and all of the 20th Dynasty.

Also, Ramses was a name given to the King (Pharaoh), it does not mean that Ramses 2 was the son of Ramses one or that Ramses 5 as the son of Ramses 4.

Also do not get Nefertari and Nefertiti mixed up.
They were both Queens.

Nefertari was Ramses 2, favourite wife...so much so that she stands along side him at Abu Simble on the facade of the Nefertari Temple in Abu Simble.

Nefertiti was the wife of Akhenaten(who was a loose canon!!)and when he died his wife Nefertiti had to undo all the crazy things her husband had done.

This is mentioned in some of the Sound and Light show talk.

You have probably seen pictures of The Coloussi of Memnon..well these two large statues stand right beside the road as you drive into the Valley of Kings..

There is a Nolimeter on Elephantine Island in Aswan and also on Rhoda Island in Cairo...it is nice to see one , when you know what it was used for.

You will also visit a perfume factory(I got a bit sick of smelling all the perfume they were putting on my forearm to smell) , a cotton factory( lots to buy here if you want),an Alabaster Vase factory,nice to see but I did not buy anything.
Again in front of these places poeple asking for tips !!!

When you do the camel ride at the Pyramids, let the photographer take your picture..it is only 10 Pounds or $2.00 US.

The Nile cruise is very nice and peaceful as you will see. There is so much to see along the way, so sip on a cool one ,sit back and take it all in.

I have been told this time and time again.:
Cairo is very safe,there is no muggings, no killings , no rape, etc.
I never would have thought this.

On the cruise boat , we got our water free.!
If you have to buy water, then buy it off the boat, but if you get stuck and need water,remember that things are relatively cheap.

Okay so a bottle of water at the Edfu Market (where the boat will dock) is 2 Egyptain Pounds, well quick math tell you it is only 35 cents US

On the boat it is 12 Pounds for a large bottle(2 liters)...okay again quick math ,tells you that it is only $2.00 US.... you pay double that much back home.!!!

Ahh, there is lots to say, but I wont bore you bobbysue.


Have a great time to this wonderful place.

Percy is online now  
Old Oct 27th, 2005, 08:53 PM
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curious as to which boat you cruised on and when and where did you book it was it Luxor to Aswan
please give cost and what was included and also hotel you used and liked and rates

you can e-mail me
traveling with aloha
the coconut wireless
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 02:09 AM
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I assure you, Percy, you aren't boring me. I'm taking it all in.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 03:06 AM
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Percy what a wonderful trip.I am off on a cruise around Egypt and Libya. We have three days in Alexandria and are hoping to do a full day trip leaving Alexandria at 7am and returning late the same day. I will try to e-mail debbie and see if we can arrange to have her as well. Could you advise of what to see in Alexandria as well and also what to see in Cairo if we have limited time there.
I echo bobby in saying that your trip sounds wonderful and we love hearing about it. Perhaps a little more on Alenxandria would be nice.
Many thanks Chris
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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bobbysue...Good Luck on your trip.


We were on the MS Mariam Cruise Boat.

We booked with Insight Tours for the cruise and tour,but we booked our trip to Cairo on our own as we came a full day earlier and stayed a full day later ..so we could go to Alexandria with Debbie.

Our complete Tour trip was $2200.00 ( not including airfare, but airfare is relative depending on where you are coming from.

We stayed at the lovely Marriott on Zamalek Island and we got very lucky when they upgraded us to the Executive Suite..with a breathtaking view of the Nile and City.

What did I pay at the Marriott..$119.00 US for this beautiful suite..heck back home a Best Western or Comfort Inn costs you that!!!

I have to say that the Breakfast Buffet at the Marriott was absolutely the best.

The rest of the stay at the Marriott was paid for when I paid for my tour..so I only paid for the days I can earlier.

I have to say that Debbie is just super to have as a guide.

On the last day we went to Alexandria with Debbie.
She told us to meet her at the train station (Ramses station which is nearby).
We got there at 8:20 for out 9AM train ride...Debbie was there and had all our tickets for the train.

When we got to Alexandria ,her driver was there waiting for us in this new air conditioned van..and off we went to tour and see the sites.

You will have lunch at a very nice restaurant called the Fisk Market.

This place has floor lenght windows that looks right onto the Mediterranean Sea...there are pictures of famous people who have been there.

We had a terrific meal here and the cost was(for my wife and I),$25.00US !!!
And this 25.00 included half of Debbies meal also.
There were four of us with Debbie.
You pay Debbie about $14.00 per hour for her time plus her costs.

The extra cost are no big deal because if the admission to a site in Alexandria is $7.00, then I paid an extra $3.50 for Debbie.
We are not talking big money here.

You know how nice it is to have everything done for you that all you have to do is look and see and take it all in.!!!

Don't miss Alexandria if you can....stay a day longer if you can and book Debbie.
Just to walk along the Sea and have the waves's mist hit your face is priceless!!

I would stay at the Marriott again in a heartbeat.
From the Marriott you can almost walk to the Egyptian Museum.

On a clear day from down town Cairo you can see the Pyramids...we did during our travels.

This is how we went:

We toured Cairo seeing most of the major highlites.
Then we flew to Luxor to board our Cruise Boat.

We then sailed on to Aswan seeing places along the way,like Edfu Temple,Kom Ombo Temple etc.

While in Luxor you of course do the Valley of the Kings,Luxor and Karnak Temple.

Aswan is a nice place and from here we went in a smaller boat to the Aglika Island to see the lovely Temple of Philea.
Then we visited both Dams, had a Feluca ride and shopped a bit(or at least walked around the Market).

From Aswan we flew to Abu Simble and back the same day.
Then we cruised back to Luxor again seeing places along the way.

You book your flight to Abu Simble when you get to Egypt if you are with a tour..it is cheaper to book when you are there...than booking it from home.


Okay more about Alexandria:

The trip is 2 hours and 20 minutes.
The seats are comfortable,sorelax and enjoy the country side.

You will visit:
2.Fort Qaitbey..nice views from here
3. Pompeys Pillar
4.The Library(which I could have spent more time here..amazing)
5.By the Library is a monument to Alexander the Great.

6. Erosthtenos monument is here also,he is the one who claculated the circumference of the earth..way back then and he was correct.!!

7.Some very lovely Mosques.

8.Muntazah Complex...this is where you will walk the grounds and see where King Farouk once lived..it is right along the Mediterranean Sea..you will also watch the sunset go down over the Sea..terrific.

The Corniche (the drive along the Sea )is 14 lanes wide..7 lanes each way.

Have a nice trip.
Ask anything you want I will try to help.


Percy is online now  
Old Oct 28th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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Percy thanks for the great report. We also enjoyed Debbies tour for the first day of our visit. Money well spent. I would like to make one quick correction though. The King Tut golden mask is actually NOT at the show in Los Angeles (we went to see the LA show right before we took off for Egypt). The face on all of the marketing materials is from a small funery statuette that is the highlight of a terrific show. The actual solid golden mask is still in the Cairo museum, but it's in the room of the jewels which is a special entrance (I don't think there was a fee) it is at the center of the room in a glass case and just about takes your breath away.. If you missed it, it may have been because, if it was like when we were there, the crowd of people around the case are 10 bodies deep.
Welcome back! T
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Percy, very well written

I guess the mosque you were referring to in your paragraph on the city of the dead would be the QaitBey mosque... same name of the Egyptian ruler the citadel in Alexandria was named after.

<<<They say the most babies are born 9 months after Ramadan !!>>>
Could be... because lots of people would postpon their wedding till immediately after Ramadan, so the following few days are a 'busy season'
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 02:54 PM
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Oh my goodness ,I guess I missed the famous King Tut mask.
I just assumed that it was the one travelling around in the USA.

Oh well ,I saw enough of his other great gold articles that were in his Tomb.
It is truly amazing what was in his Tomb and the way he was buried.

I read your good report before I went to Egypt and I kept my eyes open for anybody whipping the horse at Edfu!!!


I am not sure what the name of the Mosque is but Qaitbey sounds right.
In any case it is the one on front of the Egyptian one Pound note.
On the other side of the Egyptian one Pound note is Abu Simble.

The City of the Dead is a great place to visit.
Actually the City of the dead is an old burial ground, where homeless people came and were hired to look after the Tombs....
soon a community formed...to what is now a full vibrant living community in the City of the Dead.

You cannot miss it in your travels through Cairo because it does cover a lot of space.

There are few parks in Cairo but a new one is now present.

It is called the Al Azhur Park and the people of Cairo refer to it as "the Lungs of Cairo", perhaps because of the oxygen the greenery gives off.
You will see it in your travels.

If you do visit the Coptic Church (called the Hanging Church), it is called the Hanging Church because it was built over a wall from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
In fact in the Church there is a segment of glass in the floor ( like a glass bottom boat), you can look down and see that the Church truly is suspended over the wall of the Garden of Babylon.

Another impressive thing I saw in the Church was that there are six matching columns.
This is because Christ sent out his Apostles into the world two by two(in pairs).....however one of the matching pairs is Black(!), this is for Judas Escariot and Doubting Thomas.

There is no pick pocketing at the Khan El Khalil Bazaar..in fact the merchants themselves would soon take care of anybody who would perpetrate a crime in their area of business!!

Bring a light sweater...no kidding ,it is 105 F during the day but if you are going to sit at the Sound and Light show it can get cool at night...I said a light sweater not a winter sweater.!!!

let me say this and it is important:
If you are on a group tour ,then BE on time when your tour guide says to be back at a certain time.

In the Valley of the Kings,one felow had to go for a hike over the next gravel hill and could not find his way back....we waited and looked for him for 45 minutes.... this disrupted the rest of the days activities.

Two of the main bridges you will be driving over in Cairo is the October 6th and the July 26th Bridge.

October 6th is because Egypt had a war with Israel in 1973 and won some of their land back from 1967...this was October 6th 1973.

July 26th ...this stemmed from the 1952 Nasser Revolution, Nasser was tired of Egypt being forever ruled from elsewhere ..so after the Revolution he told the British Troops to leave...they left July 26th 1953!!

The two main beers in Egypt is called Stella and Sakkara.

What I did not know is that they are served in a 500 ml bottle(!) ..boy two beers and you have drunk a liter of beer.
In the over 100F temperature the beer goes down like water !!

What you will see in many places in towns that you visit is:

Men riding little donkeys
Donkeys pulling little carts..sometimes with very large loads.
Children that should be at school are playing in the street and/or asking for money.

Our guide Moahmmed ( yeah ,sure who in Egypt would be called Mohammed) was very eloquent in explaining the heiroglyphic and many other carvings on the pillars and walls.

He was very explicit. He would use us tourist in his explantions.

In one of his explanations,
I was Osiris
A lady from Newfoundland was Isis
and a fellow from Italy was the evil Seti,who eventually cut me up into 14 pieces and scattered my parts all over Thebes....and so the myth goes, but it was very interesting the way he explained the myth.

And another thing I have to add:

Bring some cough and cold medicine with you,preferrable not the liquid kind, but in tablet form.
People got sick with sore throats and a cough.
Maybe because of the extreme heat and then air conditioning.

Also people got abdominal cramps and diarrhea.....if you bring Immodium or Lomotil ..fine..but if not,then go to any local pharmacy and get AntiNal...this is a good combination drug for the gastrointestinal problem.

I talked to the Cruise Boat doctor about this drug and read its enclosed pamphlet... REMEMBER,take some meds, it is no fun being sick when the temperature is over 100F and you are lying in bed.
My wife was sick for one full day ,thank goodness it was on a day we were just crusing the Nile.

And finally, when you are standing in front of the Sphinx and the three Pyramids...think of how lucky you are to be here in front of these Ancient Wonders.

Best wishes to all those going to Egypt soon.

Percy is online now  
Old Oct 28th, 2005, 04:13 PM
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Percy GREAT report!! Makes me want to go back. For beer affecionados.. beer in Egypt is GOOD and STRONG! As mentioned above. Stella seems most popular but it was too sweet for my taste (similar to Tusker if anyone has had Kenyan beer). There is also the Saqquara which is really great and comes in really big cans but there is a rd which is my favorite called Meister which is much drier then Stella and a little drier then Saqqara.. oh and I second Percy's caveat. boy it can go down like water@!!!
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 06:41 PM
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Thanks for the added info on the beer.

I only had Stella and Sakkara.

I must add that your report was helpful to me when you posted it upon your return.

Also,I think in May of this year, a fellow posted a good report.......I think his name was Philbill,so if he is reading this, just let me Thank him also.

My Flu is 88% over , so I am ready to go back to Alexandria !!!!(Yeah I wish).


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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 05:42 AM
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I've already posted my thanks to all who are giving such wonderful info, in the e-mail thread on Stallings' OAT trip.
For those interested in the King Tut exhibit, the Ft. Lauderdale museum, although closed because of the hurricane, still expects to have the exhibit open in December as planned.
Perhaps of interest, I'm finally putting together my Japan scrapbook from our trip of October 2004. In The Japan Times newspaper I kept from 10-24-04, there was an editorial on "Egypt needs a president, not a pharaoh." It's been fascinating to read this now that I'm actually going to Egypt.
There was also an article in that edition about flu pandemic possibilities and about the slowness of governments, including the U.S., to get prepared. In the light of our Oct. 2005 flu panic, it makes one wonder.
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 01:57 PM
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How safe did you feel? My hubby and I have the opportunity to stay at the Oberoi hotels in Egypt for free, but we are worried about safety since we are American.
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 04:14 PM
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I felt very very safe in Egypt.

There is lots of security and Police are everywhere.
Walking along the Nile late at night was never a problem.

Our Tour Guide who has lived in Cairo for about 14 years has never heard of a mugging or robbery or rape.

The people were more friendlier and attentive than I would have every expected.

I never felt unsafe anywhere I went in Cairo.


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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 06:24 PM
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I asked one of my guides about whether egypt had serial murderers & he said that he thought there was one in the 50's. Very safe from a street crime perspective. As for terrorism, you're really not safe in any big city anymore, are you?

Spend a little time reading the posts on this board. You'll see many people who had the same concerns as you who traveled there anyway & loved it.

Besides, free hotel rooms in nice hotels....

Go for it!
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 07:24 PM
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I am worried about terrorism (bombings, etc.) not everyday street crime. Americans are such targets.
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 10:40 PM
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Very little chance that something will happen to you. Very little.

I'm moving there in January after having spent 7 weeks there in 2005. I wouldn't do it if it were unsafe. (middle aged, single woman)

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Old Oct 30th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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I am an absolute coward when it comes to travel believe it or note. the ONLY time I felt scared for my life was while driving through Cairo traffic (though our driver was excellent I can't speak for anyone else.. and NO seat belts).
Seriously If one more person told us how much they love American's I would just cry. It is a horrible thought but to put this in perspective, more American's died in a single day, while sitting in their cubicles at their office in NY then have died in Egypt over the past 20 from terrorist acts. Every hotel we entered had a metel detector, and now they don't let vehicles drive near hotel entrances.. since all the streets are blocked off. Also all of the sights had guards and sniper towers and even our cruise ship came with armed guards night and day.... I short. We didn't feel threatened at all.. and though we may have been the only American's there.. other Europeans seemed to be visitin Egypt in droves.. It's all about your personal comfort level.. but if it were up to me.. I would go back tomorrow.
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Old Oct 30th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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If you went back tomorrow , I would join you !!!

Dr. Andrea:

When I went walking along the Corniche in Cairo , Luxor and Aswan, I never felt like I had to peak over my shoulder, the way I do in many other places.

In this day and age we all worry a bit , maybe more so when we go to Islamic countries because of all we hear on TV and read in the papers...then there was this bombing in Sharem el Shiekh in the Sinai..
we met friends on the cruise boat on the Nile that were spending their last 4 days at Sharem el Shiekh before flying home... they had a great time and felt very safe even though the place was bombed a few months before.

I guess the bottom line is you cannot live your life in fear.

Have a good time
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