women traveling alone


Jul 15th, 2001, 12:20 AM
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women traveling alone

I would like to spend a week in Cairo, exploring all of the places of interest. The Cairo walks suggested in the Fodor's Egypt guide sound very appealing. From my experience of guided tours, one sees the famous sights and is pushed to shop. But I know no one else who wishes to travel in such a way. My questions are two---can a foreign woman walk around comfortably in Cairo? (I am over 50 and dress conservatively) Or, do you know of a source where I might meet another woman who would share my ideas about travel?
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Jul 15th, 2001, 04:34 AM
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We went on a packaged tour to Egypt this spring. I am mid-40s, dressed very conservatively and was with my husband and kids. While I was equally put-off by the enforced shopping, I personally would not have felt all that comfortable in Cairo alone. But, I emphasize, comfortable, not unsafe. Cairo is a big, somewhat smelly city (and my perspective is living in Boston and NY). It is difficult to navigate the transportation system. However, I always felt safe. Getting hassled was more an issue of being s3et-up for a scam, rather than in fear for personal safety. We were walking with 2 other people and a man offered us directions which turned out to be to his perfume shop (not where we wanted to go!) He became verbally hostile when we started to leave. But this is part of the experience of being there. I would go, but go with your eyes open and have a great time.
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Jul 15th, 2001, 05:33 AM
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Show no interest at all when your guide takes you to shops and you'll be left alone. In Cairo, the shops are carpet factory which is interesting unless you've seen one already , perfume "factory", papyrus, and jewelry. I eventually learned not to buy from the places the guides take you because the share of the guide increases the price. Be wary of Egyptians being friendly or helpful without your asking because this leads to a brother's/relative's shop,like Gail's experience. It would most likely take many "no thank you"s, to shake them off, but keep walking. Look at this as part of the experience no matter how annoying it can be. Also at some tourist sites, children may approach you and give you things like a piece of stone; this is not free. You will be expected to pay. So better not to take anything you did not ask for.
At the Frommer's web site, I came across an article about a group that can put single travellers in contact so that they can travel together. I can't remember the name of that web site, but perhaps you can do a search.
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