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Just returned: 2 Weeks in Egypt w/Egypt Highlights; Trip Report, in short, AMAZING!

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Sep 30th, 2005, 11:04 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 27
Just a quick question. You said that you need egyptian pounds and that you can get them at ATMs. Do you get pound notes or will it give you larger denomination(as ours in US will only give money in $20.00 bills)and you then need to change it to smaller bills? I will not be in Cairo but one day before flying to Aswan so do I need to stock-up
on pounds or will I be able to find an ATM there. I don't want to carry a large amount on me but I do want to have enough to buy something if I see it. Thanks! 3 days to go!!!!!!!
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Sep 30th, 2005, 07:39 PM
  #22
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 22
I am going to talk to my bank and see if I can't get some Egyptian pounds before I go to save me the hassle before I even get there. Anyone from the States had any luck in doing this before hand?
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Oct 1st, 2005, 12:37 AM
  #23
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 65
Why not just take USD 200 in cash with you and change at the first bank you find when in Egypt (Cairo, Aswan, Luxor etc...) there are plenty. This will be enough Egyptian cash to see you through your first few days.
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Oct 1st, 2005, 03:09 AM
  #24
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Thank you,Thyra, for all the info from your recent visit to Egypt. I'm off there in late Nov/Dec. You mentionned local guides, Magdy and Samir, in Cairo. Cld you pls tell me how did you get them, what they cost, their approx. ages and backgrounds etc. I think I will need them to make the best of my visit.
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Oct 1st, 2005, 05:06 AM
  #25
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RE: Egyptian Pounds, yes, I think Sherif has the best idea, we had US $$ and exchanged them for cash at our hotel (most likely not the best exchange rate). The only place I was able to get EP in advance of that was at the exchange office at Schipol Airport in A'dam (where we stopped). $200 US will get you through a few days for sure at least as far as tipping and drinks etc. Though if your a professional shop=aholic you may need more!
Magdy is actually the owner of Egypt Highlights, who we booked our two week private tour through, (this is a sub-division or franchise of Bourak tours) though he used to be a tour guide I think he's most happy being a "Rep" for his business, in otherwords a "meeter and greeter".
Samir on the other hand is a freelance guide who contracts out with several tour companies, (he does a lot of VIP's, like the PM of Ireland and has the photos to prove it)
I wouldn't hesistate to recommend him at all.
Samir Shaker: [email protected]
www.egypthighlights.com
I don't know what each of them is paid for a day rate by the company (though I suspect it is not much) the tipping guide recommended between 40-50 EP per person per day for guides then another , I think 15-20 EP pp for the driver per day.
Hopefully I will be able to get the top photos up online at some point this weekend.. though we took well over 300.. I think we should be able to cull it down to the top 50 fit for viewing by others!


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Oct 1st, 2005, 05:09 AM
  #26
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Oh ages and backgrounds:
Magdy as I said has worked his way up from being a tour guide to running his own franchise (there may be nuances to that I didn't get) he's actually very young but very professional mid-20s:
Samir is mid-30's and has several degrees which shows in his wonderful over arching knowledge. He would get very aggitated when he would overhear other guides making incorrect statements, which was really a kick!
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Nov 8th, 2005, 11:37 AM
  #27
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 375
Thyra, have you posted any photos of your trip to Egypt yet? We will be going in December and have booked with Egypt Highlights. Any tips for dealing with them? Did they send you a final itinerary with hotel names? They have told us names of possible hotels, but have not yet provided us with the final booked hotels. Does anyone else who traveled with them have any comments? Thanks all!
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Nov 9th, 2005, 10:17 AM
  #28
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Travlaw, well I have my pics developed, and all done, but not posted yet.. does anyone have a favorite posting site??
For Egypt Highlights, Walaa seemed really responsive when I had questions needs. I found it worked best to be polite and direct. Send her an email requesting to know the names of your hotels so that you can look them up. She should be able to get that to you. Particularly if you have sent your deposit. December is their busiest time, (I had been in contact with them since last year!). As soon as I get my pictures posted I will let you know. Bon Voyage!
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Nov 9th, 2005, 01:55 PM
  #29
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 375
Thyra, Walaa did send me a list of possible hotels -- but because of an ill family member I will ask her to send me a final itinerary so we can be contacted if necessary - hopefully they will do that. Of course, with today's bombings in Amman (so sad!), including at one of the hotels Walaa had on our list (we are going to Jordan with them as well), my family is going to be freaking out that we are going at all. I refuse to live in fear, however, so we will not cancel our trip. I don't have a favorite posting site -- though I have heard that snapfish is pretty good --anyone have other suggestions?
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Nov 9th, 2005, 04:23 PM
  #30
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Oh those bombings again! It just breaks the heart,particularly as one of the bombers got into a wedding party of Jordanians. One thing I learned in Egypt, this horrible terrorism has such a huge HUGE impact on the local population.. many people we met told of how their lives were directly impacted by the attack.. Also, we decided to go even though Sharm was bombed just weeks before our departure.. our bartender at the Sheraton had been an employee at one of the bombed hotels in Sharm and had to leave his wife and children up in Sharm to come work in Cairo as of course the attacks had ruined business in Sharm... it's such a shame all those wonderful people.. One thing to know is that definately security will be at an all time high for your trip. It certainly was for ours.
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Nov 9th, 2005, 04:27 PM
  #31
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 161
Joe Joe, I just viewed your photos. Brought back very nice memorie. I see you stayed on the M/S Royal Ruby. We sailed her in mid August and really enjoyed it. Were there any americans on board ship when you went?
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Nov 9th, 2005, 05:48 PM
  #32
 
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Thyra, great reading your comments about your trip. We went to Egypt in July. It was sizzling hot, but we had a wonderful time. We used Egypt Highlights also. And like you, Magdy was there at the airport to greet us. We could not have asked for a better tour company. Everything was wonderful

Seeing the Egyptian sights was wonderful. But even greater were the Egyptian people. We were there for about 10 days and I really didn't want to leave. I was really surprised how genuinely nice we were treated by the locals. Everyone always wanted to know where we were from; and they were even nicer upon learning we were American. It was very refreshing.

Nice reading your posts Thyra.

Joe
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Nov 10th, 2005, 12:08 PM
  #33
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Wanda,

We enjoyed the Royal Ruby also. The ship was full and we were the only two Americans. But we were treated well. We were not a part of any organized activities on board. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably choose the same ship. I can't wait to go back again.

Joe
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Nov 10th, 2005, 03:19 PM
  #34
 
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yes, the same thing happened to us. We were the only 2 americans or truly english speaking people. The crew were very friendly. I fortunately speak spanish therefore was able to communicate with the Spaniard. My husband on the otherhand was not able to speak to many people. He just relaxed which is what he needed.
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