Just returned from Egypt with Globus

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Jun 4th, 2000, 10:38 AM
  #1
Jennifer Castro
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Just returned from Egypt with Globus

WOW what a place!!!! I loved Egypt!!!! Before I left I promised that I would let readers know how my trip went and give advice so here goes . . .

BUGS - Bring a mosquito net for sleeping in Cairo. We stayed at the Mena House in Cairo. The room came with shampoo, hair dryer, shower hat and a can of Raid. The mosquitos were bad. I recommend that the minute you get there put bug repellant on. We could not sleep at night because we were being eaten by mosquitos. We finally had to buy bridal veil type material from a fabric store to make a makeshift mosquito net to sleep under. Cairo is the only place we used the netting so don't spend too much money. Also there is no way that you can hang anything from the ceiling in the Mena House. At the Cairo sound and light show you must have good bug protection.

HEALTH - My mother and I did not get sick although several people in the group did get sick. The Globus tour director told us to notify her if anyone got sick because most medicines that people bring with them do not work. I do not know what the tour director recommended for those who did get sick. However, several people in the group had prescription antibiotics. We did not eat anything that was not cooked, boiled or peeled even in the five star hotels that we stayed in. We did not brush our teeth with anything but bottled water (we paid about 7 to 4 egptian pounds for each 1.5 liter bottle). All the hotels provided buffet meals but we just chose to eat only those things that were cooked, boiled or peeled. The tour director told us that we could eat everything in the hotels but we decided to let caution be our guide and we did not miss a day of sightseeing.

HEAT - It was hot!!!! I suggest bringing powdered gatorade and country time lemonade. These were the most important things that we brought. The bottled water tastes bad when it gets hot so you make it taste better with the powdered lemonade. You sweat so much that your body loses a lot that the gatorade replaces. We brought a small plastic funnel to get the powder directly into the bottles of water. We put both gatorade and lemonade in our bottled water and then we shook the bottle. We drank all the water that we needed to because it tasted good and it was what our bodies craved. I can't recommend the Gatorade and lemonade enough. Make sure that you bring a lot of the stuff. We were about a day and a half short. You will not believe the amount of water you will drink.

Also bring a huge hat and great sunglasses. The heat was so intense. It bounced off the rocks and came smashing back up in your face. It hurt to take off my hat and sunglasses for photos.

The tombs were so hot and stuffy that you need a fan. We brought battery operated hand held fans. My mother used one in all the tombs. I did not use my fan because the noise of the fan (however subtle) disturbed the quiet solemnity of the tombs. My mother's fan drove me nuts. In one of the tombs in the valley of the kings, an attendant handed out thick pieces of cardboard for people to fan themselves with. The cardboard worked great and was quiet. So think about bringing some sort of fan for the tombs.

PICTURES - Many of the sites charge to use your camera (about US$1-2.00) and even then you can not use the flash. This was no problem for us because we would just leave the camera on the Globus tour bus since my camera would not pick up anything without a flash. The cost of a ticket for video cameras was expensive (I think about US$30).

GIFTS - You will see many children making the hand signal as if they are writing on something. This means that they want pens. Our tour director told us that they take the pens to school and show off to their friends that they got a pen from an American or Canadian. So maybe you will want to bring some pens to give to children. Also the vendors in the bazaars will ask for a gift - they usually mean a pen. One guy on our tour group negotiated a price with a vendor that was US$20 and a blue pen. The pen was part of the deal they struck.

Well that is about all that I knew that I had to impart to people up front. If you have any other specific questions let me know, I am more than happy to answer them.

Have a great time.
 
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Jun 4th, 2000, 01:58 PM
  #2
Dick
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Jennifer, thanks for the great posting. We learned a lot. Will be on Globus tour in a few weeks. What are your thoughts as to the light/sound show at Pyramids and also the one at Luxor? Any comments on the Nile Cruise?
Dick
 
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Jun 5th, 2000, 08:21 PM
  #3
jennifer castro
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I thought that the Cairo sound and light show was very long. I got bored and wanted to go back to the hotel. I kept looking at my watch while I was swatting away mosquitos. I did not like it because the narration was so melodramatic. I could not stand to listen to the narration. I am not sure that I would advise you to miss it because you will most likely only be to Egypt once but . . . I did the sound and light show at Luxor too. I liked this one better than Cairo because the show started out with walking through the temple. However, we sat down for the inevitable horrible narration. It went on forever. I was so glad when the thing got over. I did not sign up for the sound and light show at Philae. I was sick and tired of light shows. The Nile cruise was wonderful. The schedule was very relaxing. Sometimes I wished that I had binoculars to get a closer look at the things on the shore. While the boat is waiting its turn to go through the locks, local vendors come alongside the boat and sell things. You must be on the sun deck for this. I had a great time catching the stuff they threw up to us and throwing the money down to the vendors.
 
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Jun 6th, 2000, 05:41 AM
  #4
Rudy
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Dick: We got back from Egypt 10 days ago. We saw both the Karnak and the Giza sound and light shows. I liked the Giza one better; my wife liked the Karnak one. She is a history and archaeology buff, and Karnak was the high point of her visit. I'm a more low brow type and found the Giza show more appealing. It was so impressive sitting out there with the Pyramids silhoueted (sp?) against the sky, and to hear the narrations while the lasers played off them. To add to the magic, a group of camel-mounted tourist police appeared on the horizon at the beginning of the show. The Giza show uses lasers; I can't recall them being used at Karnak. Our tour guide said that most people prefer the Giza show. It cost us $5 more than Karnak. Hope this helps.
 
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Jun 6th, 2000, 06:09 AM
  #5
kang
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Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for the great post. I enjoied it.
I am going to Egypt with Globus in early
August. A few questions:

Dress standards. There were before some
disscussions on this subject but still
quite confusing. I am a male. What should
I prepare to bring with me?

One more day in Cairo. I have one extra
day in Cairo by myself after the Globus
tour. What would you recommend me to do?

Internet access. Can I access the internet
in Egypt for e-mais, news, etc.?

Thanks very much.

Kang



 
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Jun 6th, 2000, 03:54 PM
  #6
elizabeth IVES-RUYTER
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We are going to Egypt on July 31 for 4 days. Do we need any vaccinations?

Are the mosquitos bad at that time do you know?

Should I bring any rain gear?

Thank you

Elizabeth
 
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Jun 7th, 2000, 07:31 AM
  #7
Penny
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Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for most informative posting! My family and I are going to Egypt next week with General Tours (AAA).(Has anyone traveled with them?)

Did you get your visas before you left the US or when you arrived in Cairo? If in Cairo, was it a hassle or very time consumming/expensive?

Do male tourists wear shorts anywhere you visited? On the cruise ship?

Will we need mosquito netting inside air conditioned hotels if we keep windows closed?

Is a package of dry gatorade per person per day enough/too much? I can't remember how much one package makes.

Thanks again for the info. It's been a big help!!

Penny
 
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Jun 7th, 2000, 12:38 PM
  #8
Sarah
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Jennifer,

Your email was great. My husband and I are in our late twenties and we are traveling with my parents (late sixties). What are your thoughts on age's on the tour? Also how far in advance did you book your trip? Thank you in advance.

Sarah
 
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Jun 9th, 2000, 02:30 AM
  #9
Tom
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Hi,

We just returned from Egypt as well. Jennifer, perhaps we bumped into you at the Mena House.

Regarding men's clothing, The Mena House and the Old Cataract Hotels we stayed at did not allow shorts or jeans in the dining rooms. People in our group in short/jeans had to return to their room to change. With the exception of visiting mosques you could probably get by with shorts anywhere else, but your reception will be mixed in Cairo and Luxor which are both very Muslim cities. While on the cruise down the Nile ( Oberoi Philae) shorts were OK any stop you visited but long pants were recommended for dinner as well.
Regarding shirts: the summer sun is too hot to expose arms, shoulders etc and unless you use a strong sunscreen, you will fry. Our Eqyptologist wore long sleeve shirts throught the 11 days. When I asked him about it he said that long sleeve light material shirts keep you cooler, prevent you from the everpresent insects and command more respect with the locals as revealing bear limbs is not highly looked upon. I tried this and found he was right. I remained in light cotton long sleeve shirts and slacks through the remainder of the trip as did my wife.
Also, for the person going to Egypt next week please be aware that the Esna lock on the Nile is closed. The ship will dock there and you will have to be bussed one hour from there to Luxor (Valley of the Kings/Queens, Sound an light etc). The lock is closed 21 says in June and January each year for servicing and repair. We did not miss anything though and saw some interesting villages/activities along the way.
Great time overall.
 
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Jun 9th, 2000, 10:30 AM
  #10
Linda
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Jennifer, your information about your Eqyptian trip is really helpful. I have some of the same questions that other posters have asked you, so I'll just wait for your reply.

We're also traveling with Globus, and I'm interested in learning about the hotels you stayed in. Were they nice, and was the Cairo hotel convenient? We're adding a day on each end of the tour, so we'll have time to explore Cairo on our own.

Also, what was your opinion of the cruise ship--accommodations, food, cleanliness?

And finally, did your guide "run interference" for you with the locals? My experience with guides in foreign countries is that they usually prevent you from being annoyed by overbearing locals.

Thanks for all the great information!

 
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Jun 12th, 2000, 09:12 PM
  #11
JenniferCastro
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I agree that you should wear light weight shirts and long pants. I did this the whole trip. People kept asking me if I was hot. Of course I was hot but I was not being fried by the sun. I was so much more comfortable in long clothes too. I never felt that my being a woman mattered to any of the people that I met whereas it might have mattered had I been wearing a tank top and shorts. Also bring a huge hat. I had a great hat that I brought from home. Many of the people on the tour did not bring hats. They ultimately bought one in Egypt. ON the cruise ship I wore shorts and T-shirt on the sun deck etc. but for dinner I put on casual sun dress and sandals. The men wore khakis and oxford shirts.

For your one extra day in Cairo go to Faiyum Oasis. Talk to the travel agency in the Mena House hotel. Ask for Hawida (spelling?) to be your guide. Ask her to take you into people's houses. The oasis was not exciting but the drive out to the oasis was great. The driver and the guide took us to places that we wanted to see (museum and visit people). If you do not get a guide and a driver who will tell you about life in Egypt and take to you non-tourist places, then I do not think the trip to the Faiyum Oasis would be worth it. For us, it was a highlight of the trip.

I tried to get on the internet but I gave up after the Mena House personnel looked at me crazy like. The AT & T number that Globus gives you does not work. I had to get my family to call me at designated times. It was hard to call out to the states.

We needed several vaccines. Our health care provider told us what we needed.

I was told that it only rains three times a year in Cairo and then it is only like a heavy fog. I would not bother with rain gear.

I got my visa before I went to Egypt. So when I got to the airport, I just went through the checkpoint. I avoided the hassle of getting one then and there (if there was any hassle).

I do not know if the mosquitos would be bad in July but I would be prepared anyway. I only had to use the mosquito net in the Mena HOuse hotel in Cairo. the doors did not fit right. I assume that the mosquitos got in through the doors. Other people in the group had problems with mosquitos at the Mena House.

I brought a canister of powdered gatorade that would make 2 gallons. There were two of us for two weeks. I was using two scoops of lemonade to one scoop of gatorade in a 1.5 liter bottle. Towards the end I started to run out of lemonade so I used more gatorade in the water. I was one day and a half short on my supply. I would take more gatorade and lemonade than I did. Take a lot.

Have no fear regarding the hotels that Globus stays at. They are all wonderful. The Mena House is out of the way, right next to the pyramids. The CAiro Sheraton is convenient to a lot of things but we were not there very long. We just took a taxi to the market on our last day in Egypt.
 
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Jun 13th, 2000, 06:18 AM
  #12
Kang
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Jennifer: Thanks.
 
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Jun 18th, 2000, 11:45 AM
  #13
Caroline
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When I was in Luxor I was on my own and really being pestered by locals to guide me. Finally, one of them, a young man in his early 20s, with very good English, suggested I hire him and he would get rid of the others. His price for the day (can't remember) seemed very reasonable. This turned out to be my smartest move. He was delightful and we had a great day together. We ended up walking over the little mountain btwn the Valley of the Kings and of the Queens, with him recounting the story of the massacre,etc. He kindly carried my camera bag and was just great. He took me to his family's little house in a village and I met his mom, who gave us tea. I decided to take him to the sound and light show, which he'd never seen. Another good idea since I was single and alone and it is night time. I do recommend this approach. It took all the pressure off me, and I had a delightful time, felt as though I'd been with a friend.
 
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Jun 20th, 2000, 01:59 PM
  #14
Ashley
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Its easy and inexpensive ($15) to get your visa at the Cairo airport. There are many places to buy the visa stamps and change money before you go through customs.

We saw internet cafes throughout Egypt. Friends of mine used them and had no problems accessing their mail from home.

As far as dress goes, in touristy areas wear what you want. All of the other tourists do. I started out dressing conservatively (as I was told to do prior to my trip) but by the end I was in shorts and a t-shirt in downtown, non-touristy Cairo and no one minded or stared at me. Luxor and Aswan (besides for touristy areas) are more traditional so you may want to dress more conservative there.

The Mena House Oberoi is like paradise in the middle of chaos (Cairo). We could see the pyramids from our room's balcony. You can see the pyramids from the pool and most of the hotel restaurants. Its only a 10 minute walk up the road and you are at the base of Cheops! Fabulous!

There isn't much to see inside the pyramids, but its cool just the same.

I would recommend going to Sakkara to see the Step Pyramid. Take a camel ride there because a) its cheaper (only cost me 5 lbs.) and b) its less crowded c) the camels looked cleaner than at the Giza Pyramids.

Also, go to the Khan el Kalili bazaar. Its really fun to bargain and you can find some incredible hand-made items (brass plates, mother-of-pearl inlaid boxes, gold, silver, etc.).

Though I didn't get to them, I have been told that the Iben Toulin mosque and Gare Anderson house are "must see" places in Cairo.

The Cairo Museum was very amazing - with King Tut's treasures (most famous funerary mask, etc.), mummies, sarcaphoguses, etc.

The Aswan Oberoi on Elephantine Island is also really nice. Its on its own little island across from Aswan so you don't hear the beeping of horns or feel the hustle bustle of the streets.

The Luxor Hilton is also very nice but out of the way (very close to Karnak Temple but farther from the city of Luxor).

In Luxor we also hired a guide through American Express Travel. He was very knowledgeable and spoke great English. We liked him so much that we retained him for 2 days. He really kept the people selling trinkets away from us and helped us figure out the Valley of the Kings/Queens, etc.

I was there for 2 weeks, brushed my teeth with tap water, drank bottled water, chose my food carefully and was fine. No health problems. We took immodium tablets every other day as a precaution.

Best Arabic words to know (I may butcher the spelling...)
shukran = thank you
la = No!
or combine them for la shukran or no thank you!

Have fun and enjoy the differences. People who get annoyed by constant bargaining (to buy water, to get a taxi, etc.) or by people always wanting money or those trying to sell you things might not like it. If you take it in stride, smile and say no thank you (or la shukran!), you will have a much better time and actually learn to appreciate Egyptian culture.



 
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Jun 25th, 2000, 06:01 AM
  #15
lorena aguilar
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Thanks for a great set of ides. I am going with a group of eight to egypt and will like to have some advice.

Can we go on our own to the pyramids. rent a taxi in Cairo? Should we ask to stay, or can we get a taxi back?

Howw will you recommend to go to Luxor? Should we book our airfare from abroad? How is a good travel agent

Any help will be great.
 
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Aug 6th, 2000, 04:48 AM
  #16
M.E.Topper
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To the top for Kierstan (sound and light info herein)
 
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May 21st, 2001, 08:26 AM
  #17
carolyn wilson
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We are planning a trip to Egypt in November and are looking at two tour groups.Globus and Odysseys Unlimited.We would appreciate hearing from anyone who has traveled with Odyssey.The things that I am most concerned about is how much walking is involved as I have a back problem. Also, do the ships have refrig. in the rooms.We are planning to take our own bottled water,crackers etc.The last thing we want to happen is get sick but most places I have checked suggest you do not need shots,then we will see others that recomend hepitites shots.Thanks to all who reply,
 
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May 21st, 2001, 09:59 AM
  #18
Dianne
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Egypt is not an easy walking place. There are lots of uneven stairs and surfaces. Bring "sand-colored" pants so you can at least have a seat on the ruins during your guided tours without looking all dusty! I went on a Globus tour and it was hectic because there's so much to see, but I loved the trip. I don't think there was a fridge in my room on the boat. Our boat was a bit dumpy though. Maybe you'll have a nicer one. I drank Egypt's Baraka brand bottled water throughout my trip. If you get sick, everyone says to tell the tour guide. Apparently they'll get you the most effective medicine for the local bacteria. I didn't get any shots before my trip.
 
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May 21st, 2001, 04:09 PM
  #19
Anita
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Jennifer,

Which Globus tour were you on, what hotel did you stay at and which ship were you on? Was it a 2 night or 3 night cruise? I have been looking into the Egypt tours and I'm deciding between Globus, Gate 1 and Maupintour.
I have been on tours with Globus before and I am going on another tour with them this summer, but I am truly interested in the details of the Egypt trip.

Thanks for your advice.
 
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May 21st, 2001, 06:23 PM
  #20
LEANNA
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Hi all......just returned from the 17 day Maupintour and it was fabulous. Very first class all the way and worth every penny. They actually stop for lunch so you dont get that hectic feeling of seeing a site AND eating all within an hour!! We had fridges in all our rooms and on the boat. Drank the local bottled water and was fine, but did get sick..and who knows from what and where! The guides do know the right stuff to take...so have them fix you up if you do get sick. Oh and our cabins on the boat had private balconies and I used mine constanly ..it was truly fabulous to just sit there and watch the shore drift by!! Great trip!
 
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