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Touring Eygpt in March. Have alot of questions. What to pack? Money and visa questions.

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Apr 4th, 2005, 11:53 PM
  #21
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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You can go to Saqqara and/or Dashur which are south and west of Giza to see earlier versions of pyramids I believe that Memphis is in the same vicinity and can be fit in, too.

Or you can wander around Islamic Cairo and see the gorgeous mosques from the various eras since Islam took hold in Egypt. And the Gayer-Anderson house which abuts the Ibn Toulon mosque. (I know that I'm beginning to sound like a broken record on the G/A house.)
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Apr 5th, 2005, 03:29 AM
  #22
 
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Hi Katie,
glad to see that Dottie agrees with me. we had such a great group with OAT everyone got along and we learned so much from each other.
OAT takes you to Saqqura and Dashur. I agree with Dottie about the traffic outside the Mena House being very busy. What about sitting around the pool and getting some color? I'm sure your guide will have some ideas also. There were signs about a golf course there also.
Dottie did you get sick from the plane ride home.? I think we have finally got the jet lag thing settled and made the transition with Daylight savings and all. M
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Apr 5th, 2005, 09:24 AM
  #23
 
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Hello, all. I am so glad to see this thread update and to see all the useful information from those of you who just returned. I am taking the trip in November with OAT with a Jordan pre-trip extension, and these posts just get me more excited. Does anyone know if you fly directly to Jordan if you have a pre-trip extension, or do you still go to Cairo first?
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Apr 5th, 2005, 10:34 AM
  #24
kp
 
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Just a quick reply for bobbysue. No you do not fly directly to Jordan. Currently our itinerary is: Leave JFK at 6:30PM arrive in Cairo at 11:50 AM. Leave Cairo at 5:15 PM and arrive in Amman at 6:40 PM.
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Apr 5th, 2005, 11:16 AM
  #25
 
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Thanks so much. I thought that might be how it worked. Did you fly EgyptAir to Cairo?
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Apr 5th, 2005, 01:46 PM
  #26
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Our trip is in May. We fly Delta to JFK then EgyptAir. We are spending night before the flight to Jordan in New York--or we'd be "in transit" for over 26 hours.
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions for spending our free time in Cairo. I'll definitely talk to the guide about them.
I really appreciate all of the information everyone has shared. Planning the trip is so much easier and I think talking everyone certainly makes it more exciting!


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Apr 6th, 2005, 01:42 PM
  #27
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Maureenm,

I was a little ill the last day of our trip.Nothing much, but it lasted almost a week.Kathy said she didn't feel to good the day after we got home. Interesting that you were ill also.
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Apr 7th, 2005, 05:11 PM
  #28
 
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Dottie,
I definitely got it on the plane. Remember all those Grand Circle people that got a respiratory virus on the cruise. Well one of them sat behind me and coughed the entire 12 hour flight home. I didn't get symptomatic until Monday. Then one thing led to another and I got a sinus infection. I'm much better now and Joe didn't get sick.
Did you hear about the bomb in the market in cairo? What a shame! I hope that doesn't stop people from going. M
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Apr 7th, 2005, 06:26 PM
  #29
 
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The first thing I saw today on the MSNBC website when I got back from shopping was about the bomb. I really didn't need that, but it won't stop me from going.
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Apr 7th, 2005, 06:31 PM
  #30
 
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Horrible about the bomb, but it certainly won't stop us. Likely they will increase the security 10 fold... of course, I live in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the most dangerous cities on earth.. If I can avoid a car jacking.. then.... hello Egypt. **knock on wood.
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Apr 8th, 2005, 07:03 AM
  #31
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I was shocked to see that a place I had visited just a couple of weeks before had been bombed. It makes me very sad. But it wouldn't stop me from going either. There are dangers everywhere, even in our own home towns.
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Apr 8th, 2005, 04:08 PM
  #32
 
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I leave April 16 and was most displeased to hear of the bombing. But they say lightning never strikes twice in the same place, so I'm not worried.

Is JFK to Cairo really a 12-hour flight? I didn't need to know that!
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Apr 8th, 2005, 04:38 PM
  #33
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Just looked at my air itinerary it indicates flying time from JFK to Cairo is 10 hours 20 minutes. (wish I could insert a smily face but don't know how).
Would love to see a trip report when you return.
Katie
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Apr 8th, 2005, 07:11 PM
  #34
 
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Great report, Dottie. We're planning a trip for next February or March, so this is good timing for me.

Regarding the excursion to Abu Simbel, all I've read is that the flights from Cairo leave about 4 or 5 am, so you have to leave the hotel at 2 or 3 am to get to the airport. True?
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Apr 9th, 2005, 03:15 AM
  #35
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We did have an early morning flight to Abu Sinbel, but not that early.I am tring to remember what time our flight was, and I am not sure, right now.But it was light outside. Maureen do you remember the time? I am thinking they served breakfast at about 6 a.m and we left for the airport about 7 something. One thing when you don't do the planning your self,you tend to set back and not think about details.

The earliet morning we had was that balloon ride. I got up at 4 a.m. for that.
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Apr 9th, 2005, 11:39 AM
  #36
 
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Great information, Dottie and Maureen! Thanks so much for sharing your OAT experiences. My sister and I are considering this trip for 2006 (undecided at this point - and always changing our minds!), so I really appreciated your comments.
Karen
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Apr 9th, 2005, 12:08 PM
  #37
 
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We returned yesterday from an OAT trip to Egypt/Jordan. I agree with most of the comments from previous posters except about free time. We enjoyed getting away from the group to experience Egypt on our own. So, we skipped the optional Spiritual Tour and took the train that day to visit Alexandria with Debbie Senters of Casual Cairo Detours(casualcairodetours.pyramids.net),which we enjoyed very much. Then, on the day we returned to Cairo from Luxor, we hired a driver for the afternoon (through the hotel concierge) to visit the Citadel, 3 mosques, an Islamic home and Coptic Cairo. The following day when we flew to Jordan, we hired a driver to take us to the Khan Al Khalili for the morning for shopping and and tea at Fishawis. The experiences on our own in Cairo were very special and we were not hassled as much by touts as when we were with the group. The Cairo traffic experience was soooo different from the level of a car than from the bus--a bit hair-raising, but not-to-be-missed with a skillful driver. We also used free hours to walk about on our own in the various towns in Upper Egypt because things are very different when you are on your own. Never once did we feel a moment of unease about our personal safety. People were so friendly, coming up to us to ask where we were from (we stuck out like a sore thumb) and welcome us. School children followed us and wanted to practice their English.
We enjoyed the short balloon trip because we love being up there seeing things from a bird's eye view. Our balloon had the usual 16 passengers. The carriage ride through the souk to the Karnak S&L show was magical and a highlight; we enjoyed the S&L because it gave us another opportunity to see the spectacular Karnak temple, not because of the show itself, which was not all that great.
At Petra in Jordan, we had our guide purchase a 2 day pass for us (only about 8 dollars more than for one day), and we went back the next morning at dawn to visit again. We were there when the site opened and walked the Siq all alone and then had about 1/2 hour by ourselves (Well, there were 2 donkeys and a dog too.) at the Treasury before another couple joined us. It was so worth the early wake-up to see it in tranquillity!
You will have a great trip! We certainly did.

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Apr 9th, 2005, 03:49 PM
  #38
kp
 
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Thanks so much MariaL. It sounds like the trip was wonderful. I can hardly wait until we leave next month.
I'm going to add your info. with that Dottie, Maureen and others have provided to create a nice tour guide.

Did your guide suggest the 2 day pass for Petra? Did you take a cab from the hotel to Petra for your extra day or is there other transportation? We're also talking an OAT trip. Jordan is our pre-trip.
I'm also reconsidering the Karnak S&L show after reading your comments!
Thanks--Katie
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Apr 9th, 2005, 05:29 PM
  #39
 
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We asked our guide to buy the 2-day ticket and reimbursed him for the additional day. Because we also opted for an excursion to the Wadi Rum on the free day in Petra, we only had 2 hours at Petra in the morning, but it was enough to walk the Siq and enjoy the fabulous Treasury in solitude. It opened at 6AM and we were there before the gatekeeper came to open up. We had a taxi take us to the site and pick us up for return to the hotel at a pre-arranged time; the hotel desk called the taxi for us.

We had an excellent dinner at the Moghul, the Indian restaurant at the Mena House, reputed to be the best Indian food in Cairo--not surprising since the Mena House is Indian-owned. Don't miss the ice cream in the lobby of the Movenpick--the Mango sorbet is to die for. We also enjoyed the hibiscus tea at Fishawi's in the Khan al-Khalili Bazaar that we went back twice. I wouldn't let the recent incident there discourage me from going to the Khan al Khalili--I really love the energy of souks, bazaars, etc. I bought gold jewelry at a store there: Nile Treasures,which has an annex in the Nile Hilton Hotel, had much better prices than the shop OAT took us to and the gold had the official 18K govt. stamp. We had our best meal of the trip at The Fish Market in Alexandria which has a branch in Cairo; fabulous seafood: you choose your fish and they cook it perfectly for you.


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Apr 9th, 2005, 06:06 PM
  #40
kp
 
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Thanks Maria. I appreciate your help.
If you think of anything else ----please don't hesitate to add it to this post.

Katie
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