Just back from Egypt. Had a great time despite

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Jan 28th, 2002, 12:33 PM
  #1
jenny
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Just back from Egypt. Had a great time despite

Just back from a great 2 weeks in Egypt despite being fleeced on day 2; nice weather, not too many tourists. Felt safe and welcomed even with an all American husband along. He was to be my mute german husband but we soon felt safe enough to drop that.
Important lesson learnt after being conned by the driver/guide we hired from Budget rental at the Marriott in Cairo was that we had to know roughly the going rates for everything from camel rides (paid about 5 times more than we should have) to taxi rides. Felt rather stupid trusting the smooth talking driver, even tipped him. Thing is, I would have been more careful with a taxi driver, but felt safe with a "professional" driver/guide since we hired him at the Marriott lobby. But some other tourists were very fortunate with their driver/guides hired at their hotels who told them the scams to look out for and exactly how much to pay for extras like camel rides. Came across a reliable travel agent in Aswan who went out of his way to help us. Despite his unfortunate name (Osama) we highly recommend him. His email address is [email protected], handphone no is 012 243 6494.
Egypt is a great place to visit, esp. for the independent budget traveler.
 
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Jan 28th, 2002, 03:21 PM
  #2
Thyra
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Jenny, thanks for your trip report. I am very glad you proceeded with your trip at a time when so many people are not going anywhere particularly Egypt.
I really enjoyed your posting, Egypt is definatly on our list of "must go" places!
 
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Jan 29th, 2002, 01:42 AM
  #3
jenny
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I am glad you enjoyed my report. I just forwarded to you an email I wrote to my friends to convince them to meet up in Egypt soon.
 
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Jan 29th, 2002, 03:01 AM
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kavey
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Oh jenny, I would love to read a more detailed report if you have one...

Do please post it here?

Kavey
 
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Jan 29th, 2002, 03:33 AM
  #5
gail
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A second for posting a more detailed report here. Glad Egypt was great. We too had an attempted scam in Egypt - I think it is considered part of any trip to Egypt.
 
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Jan 29th, 2002, 05:36 AM
  #6
jenny
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My husband and I like to travel independently and usually without prebooking any hotel. But after this trip, I will contact travel agents as well as the hotel directly to obtain a price quotation over the net.
Day 1. Arrived at Cairo Int. midday, it took all of 5 minutes to obtain our visa stamps at the bank b4 immigration. Paid 40 le (egyptian pounds US$1 to 4.6) for taxi ride to the Marriott which is currently having a special ($55 for a low level garden view room, $85 for higher level Nile View). Had dinner at Justine's, which Fodors mentioned as the best french rest. in Egypt. It was excellent and a great value ($55 for 2, 3 course meal, best crab bisque ever, egyptian wine is real bad tho).
Day 2. Hired car and driver for 200 le for half a day. Went to the see the pyramids. Had a fun 3 hour long ride from Giza pyramids to Abu Sir, would it again but this time start earlier and make it to Saqqara. Chose a big camel with comfortable "2 seater" saddle. Wasn't too sore the next day, unlike our 2 hour long ride in Luxor on smaller one seater english style saddle. I am no rider.
 
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Jan 29th, 2002, 05:37 AM
  #7
jenny
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Day 3. Woke up at 3.30 am to catch a flight to Abu Simbel at 5am. Tripped and fell on uneven floor while half asleep at the airport, even tho I was wearing sensible Timberland moutain sneakers. Even tho we were flying standby we managed to get on. It's a good time for non revs (airline employees with discount) to travel as we had no problems getting on any flights (unlike in Turkey last September). Reached Abu Simbel at 8 am (stopover in Aswan) and the temple's definitely worth the detour, altho I am not sure if I would pay full fare for the flight. Back to Aswan which was our most fav. place. Took a taxi (30-40 le) to Old Cataract Hotel. Beautiful place, pity we couldn't afford it even with 25% off the rack rate of $175 garden view. Trotted thru the lobby and patio to the New Cataract next door ($125 rack rate) which is a no frills place with rather thin walls but the views of the Nile is a picture postcard with the egytian feluccas (sailboats) and their curved sails passing by, ancient monasteries visible in the distant desert, and a small island in the middle called elephantine island, possibly because the many rocks around look like rumps of elephants which I remarked on before knowing the name of the island.. And suprisingly, Nubian food is rather good, their fish soup rivalling any Bouillabaisse that I've had in Marseille, almost; but probably limited in variety I suspect, like Egyptian food. More peaceful to stay away from town where all the cruise ships dock up to 5 ships deep. Met up with Osama the travel agent recommended by a hotel staff to check out cruise ships leaving for Luxor. Saw 4 ships and decided to pay US$58 pp per night for the 5 star deluxe with the wide wall to ceiling windows and bigger room. Food was bad tho, altho many of the other guests were overheard raving about the daily buffets. The Oberoi Philae looked really good even at $100pp but the timing was off for us. If you are booking a ship over the net, make sure you know the dimensions of the window, some ships had balconies wide enuff only for two standing and windows just as wide. I wouldn't stay more than 2 nights on the cruise if possible. Much nicer to stay at a nice hotel in Aswan or Luxor than on the ship while docked. In fact, two Brits we hung out with on the cruise didn't think much of Aswan after the 2 days and nights they were docked there. They had booked a 7 night cruise from Luxor to Aswan and back.
I am boring myself and the readers I fear.
 
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Jan 29th, 2002, 05:43 AM
  #8
jenny
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We had a good time cruising down the Nile, and docked in Luxor on day 3 of the cruise. Went to the Karnak Light and Sound which was impressive, but a little long. Stayed at New Winter Palace which was considerably better than it's sister New Cataract altho its location on the Nile wasn't as serene and picturesque. I might consider staying at the Movenpick which is further away from town. My travel agent got me a good rate for hotels for the rest of my trip. Was hoping the Sofitel which runs the Winter and Cataracts would give us 1/2 off as airline employee discount but they only offered 25%.
Headed for Sharm el sheik after 3 full days and 2 nights in Luxor. Stayed at the Ghazala Beach Hotel for $55 (rack rate $125++) for 3 nights. Decent rooms. Nice resort town, but I would have preferred to stay in the less touristy Dahab and Nuweiba as well.
 
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Jan 30th, 2002, 05:38 AM
  #9
Huong
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I just returned from two weeks in Egypt yesterday. Needless to say, I had a wonderful time. My husband and I enjoyed every minute there. All the Egyptians people were super nice. We had many strangers welcome us to their country. We took a tour and we were pampered from head to toe. As far as being safe in Egypt, it's a lot more safe than America.
 
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Jan 30th, 2002, 05:46 AM
  #10
Temdc
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Hi Huong,
What tour company did you use?

Thanks
 
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Jan 31st, 2002, 07:26 AM
  #11
Huong
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I used Go Ahead Vacations. You can check out their website at www.goaheadvacations.com
The hotel accomodations and cruise ship we were on are all phenomenal. Unlike stories of dirty hotels that I've heard from people, all of the ones we stayed at are really clean.
 
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Jan 31st, 2002, 09:31 AM
  #12
temdc
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Thanks Huong
 
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