Trip Report Western Desert

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Mar 11th, 2005, 01:54 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Trip Report Western Desert

In January Sandi asked me to write a trip report about my solo trip through Egypt and particularly the Western Desert portion. I went all over the country -- Cairo, the Western Desert, Alexandria, a cruise down the Nile with the usual stops, Abu Simbel and Sharm al-Sheikh. I really had a fabulous time. In fact, I liked it so much I stayed an extra 9 days (for a total of 30 days) and am thinking about moving to Cairo for a few years.

I used Wildlife Adventures, an eco-tourism company (Wildlifeadventures.com) located in the USA. They, in turn, contracted with Emeco, a very large Cairo travel agency, to handle my trip. Yes, there are other less expensive ways to tour Egypt, but I felt comfortable with this arrangement. Being so big, Emeco gets deep discounts on hotel rooms at 5-Star hotels.

Solo is somewhat a misnomer in that I had Emeco people meet me at the aiport, take me to my hotels and check me in, etc. They provided wonderful guides to take me around during the day in Cairo, Alexandria and the Western Desert. I did spend my evening alone. The guides were educated and knowledgeable and are a lot of fun. They spoke 4 or 5 languages each. The guides prefer small groups since they get to know their clients better. They told me that larger groups are more like being an administrator. Consequently, you have a better chance of getting the better guides in a smaller group.

As repeatedly stated throughout this Board, the Egyptians are friendly, open people who will go out of their way to be nice. I used the typical solo traveler's tricks I never felt lonely or isolated. For example, on Valentine's Day the housekeeper for my room decorated the bed with hibiscus.

The country's economic problems benefit tourists, too. For example, most of the staff who have contact with the guests at the Ritz Carlton in Sharm have degrees -- in law, linguistics, accounting, etc. You can have very interesting discussions about their lives and this part of the world. For example, the man who sold last-minute gifts in the duty-free store at the Cairo airport and I had a discussion about Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld.

Part II of this will get to the Western Desert, I promise.






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Mar 11th, 2005, 02:18 PM
  #2
sandi
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sunshine - Thanks for remembering. Will look forward to the balance of your report.
 
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