Tipping in Egypt and Jordan

Jan 3rd, 2010, 03:15 PM
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That wouldn't have worried me. I don't ever recall seeing a policeman or military guard ever pull out or even threaten to use the guns they carry.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2010, 03:16 PM
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My apologies.....did he actually HAVE the gun in his hand when talking to you?
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2010, 03:33 PM
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He was holding a rifle...he didn't point it at us but I wasn't going to argue with the guy holding the gun!
loru100 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2010, 03:51 PM
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Oh - I would have worried about that. I used to love seeing the guards around the school perimeter "napping" with their chins on the open end of their rifles. Made us all wonder if there really were bullets in the guns!

We never argued like people do in the US, but DH was very good about holding his ground with a big smile on his face. The Egyptians are very friendly people and you can get things to go your way much easier if you smile and laugh a little while you're saying "no!"
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 07:12 PM
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Any time I have had someone chase me to push my trolley I just say............ NO Money - sorry! ........ and they look at me as if to say. What you came to Egypt and you have no money lol.

but I tell you what, it works. Ive had my trolley pushed for free 3 times !!!

and each time the men said some lovely arabic words to me as I left hahahaha! I think they were wishing me a great vacation

scotsgirl is offline  
Jan 5th, 2010, 12:53 AM
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I'll have to train my husband to be the pushy one to tell folks that we have no money, or "get out of my way"! I've told him he will have to protect my "virtue" too.. although he tells me he is practicing in Arabic - "you want the blonde girl!"
MissGreen is offline  
Jan 5th, 2010, 02:44 AM
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MissGreen - make sure he learns his numbers. The men will want to know "how many camels" he will want for you!!!!
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2010, 05:32 AM
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I forgot to mention my funny tipping story. We were visiting Pompey's Pillar in Alexandria - it was very quiet there, just us and a large Egyptian family. They were taking many pictures of their group and the pillar, and kept passing the camera around to get a picture of everyone.

So I offered (via pantomime) to take a picture with their camera of all of them - much "Shukran" and many smiles later I had taken their picture and went to give the camera back. Via pantomime they asked that my husband take a picture of me with the family, again using their camera. (I stand out - 6 feet tall and blonde). So he did.

Then I took a calculated humour risk - I coyly put my hand out for a tip - well, we all lost it! Much laughter and pretend payment to me for being in the picture.
Elizabeth_S is online now  
Jan 5th, 2010, 05:53 AM
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My beautiful 24 year old daughter was worth a million camels-my husband of 28 years was offered only 5 for me! It has become the family joke!
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 5th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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Yikes dutyfree, I'm sorry you had such a stressful visit! I just got back and would love to go to Egypt again someday.

While Egyptian men can do smarmy and oily like no other culture I've seen, I never felt truly hounded for a tip. The vendors were in our faces, but a firm la shukrun generally dealt with them and I simply did my 'friendly but very focused on something else' impression anytime a guard wanted to show me something. I rarely made eye contact with any of them so they would have had to get my attention before they could ask for a tip for anything.

I never had to pay to use the bathroom (I have a freakish bladder) but one of the families on my tour had two young girls. Every time they got coins or smaller bills, they would keep them aside as potty money. The hotel in Cairo was also happy to exchange larger bills for smaller ones. They also tipped $1 US often because it was the 3 of them.

Agree or disagree with the way it is, that's simply how Egypt is right now. I can't imagine giving up a visit to Egypt simply to avoid the tipping.

As for tipping within a tour, I really hope you mean 400LE (Egyptian pounds) and NOT $400 US. We were told to tip something like $2 per day total to be split between everyone on the cruise ship. I think we had to tip two bus drivers, and the suggested amount was $2 or $3 per day. The suggestion for tipping the guide was $4 or $5 per day, and that was in the tour literature, NOT ever mentioned by our guide.
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Jan 5th, 2010, 08:16 AM
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Everyone that I talked to (and there were alot on various tours and at the airport) were given sheets by their tour company and it was basically 50-100LE per person per day for the guides;tour reps meeting you at the airport were between20=50LE a person per day,etc.
It wasn't stressful being in Egypt but annoying. We did things like walk the back alleys(where the tourists weren't at) in Old Cairo and generally go in areas where there were tourists and also regular neighborhoods-everyone wanted a tip for nothing.
The small pound notes and coins were impossible to get from anyone.
Examples of trying to buy or get change? I bought a book at the Nubian museum that was 78LE-the man refused to sell it to me unless I had exact change as he "wasn't going to give me any". I finally told him that he could go to the ticket office and change it-at first he did not want to go it.Come on?
On the cruise ship,the only thing that we bought was a bottle of water for 12LE. We gave the guy a 50LE note on the final day of checking out and they refused to give me change-after a standoff or telling them they could give it to me as a Christmas gift they finally decided to get change from their banking office on the boat.
As I said before, I travel everyweek overseas and am known as a good tipper. I understand different cultures overseas but my whole family agreed that they enjoyed the sights but not the constant nagging for tips.Our family is savvy about how you look walking through markets;getting into taxis,riding public buses,etc.
We were never asked if we were Americans which was shocking with our blonde and red hair.I think that we did alot of things on our own so did not have the tour guide buffer.
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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After reading some notes on other threads I think that I have finally realized what the difference was in our trips.
Most of you stayed at only 5 star hotels and usually were with your guide the whole time you were out and about.

We had a "day Egyptologist"(who had worked at the Pyramids for many years)for our time in Cairo and Alexandria and we stayed at a beloved 3 star hotel in Cairo which was in a working neighborhood.We also had a whole day without anyone before our tour started so were out using taxis,walking in working class areas,etc. without someone to run interference for us which is what we wanted.

Although we did our tour through Lady Egypt, I changed a few things before we left in regards to hotels-went down from the 5 stars to 4 stars.We alsp had another tour guide with us from Aswan(who was wonderful) down to Abu Simbel and up to Luxor the whole time which was nice but suffocating for our family at times.He always wanted us to be happy and not need anything but we finally made it clear to him that we did not need him 24/7 which worked out great!

In Luxor we ate lunch where the captains of the fellucas eat overlooking the Nile with cheap beers(well recommended in the guide book); had a marvelous meal at the local koshari restaurant that seemed no Westerners frequent yet again is in Rough guide;rode the public bus vans up and down the street,etc. for sightseeing the Nubian museum and going to the grocery store yet the tour company had us stay at a very upscale hotel there (Iberotel).
Quite honestly,we were upgraded a few times on our trip(the Nile Cruise,Luxor, Dead Sea) and although we enjoyed it it was just too sterile and bland. My kids referred to it as the sanitized or homogenized portions of the trip.
For our family in regards to traveling,the journey of the backroads is what we enjoy!Perhaps this is why we were hit more with the tipping than others?
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 07:57 AM
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dutyfree - that could be. You didn't have someone running interference for you and you weren't there long enough (like those of us who lived there) to learn the avoidance strategies.

Now, on to a more important topic - what beer did you have?
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 09:56 AM
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Actually, we also had a lot of free time, including a day and a half on our own in Cairo, Khan Al Khalili, the markets in Luxor and Aswan. We used the avoidance strategies learned 30 years ago in Morocco.
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 08:15 PM
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We just came back from Egypt, and our experience was closer to Elizabeth_S's in regards to tipping. Interestingly, we also had lots of free time,(more than 2 days in Cairo, 1.5 days in Luxor, and many free evenings), most of which we spent in non-touristed areas (we too enjoyed several meals at local koshari joints -- SO cheap and SO yummy!), and we rarely encountered situations in which people wanted tips for no reason. In fact, the farther away from the tourist areas we went, the less people bothered us in general. The only place it was an issue was in Luxor, where we made the mistake of giving a child baksheesh in the presence of other children. The other children followed us for over an hour asking for baksheesh (we had given baksheesh to the first child because he was our impromptu "guide" through the Old (non-tourist) Market, but we should have been much more discreet about tipping him. Other than that (and perhaps at the Cairo airport), we felt that most people asking for tips had provided some service, either direct or in-direct. Also, people were very gracious about the tips we gave and seldom asked for more (again, the airport was an exception).

And on the beer topic, Grcxx3, after copious sampling, I found that I liked Sakkara the best.
abby97 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2010, 08:28 PM
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Oh boy, this thread reminds me of when I purchased something in Mexico, I was quoted some outrageous price for some handicrafts in a store, this is not uncommon in Mexico and customers are expected to bargain, after bargaining and the merchant and I agreed on a price, I paid the merchant, he bagged the goods and before giving them to me, said where's my tip. WTF!
justshootme is offline  
Jan 8th, 2010, 06:33 AM
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I agree with abby97...Sakkara was my favored brew...especially while relaxing on the top deck of the boat watching the banks of the Nile go by! The memory of those treasured moments brings a smile to my face now as I type this! Please tell me why vacations cannot last forever...in particular Egyptian vacations!?!
Lollie14 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2010, 06:39 AM
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Sakkara and Stella were our favs too!
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 8th, 2010, 07:22 AM
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yup - I always liked Sakkara. My DH especially liked the Sakkara 7*!!!!
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2010, 07:53 AM
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Here is the complete list of beers I do not like:
Elizabeth_S is online now  

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