Lounging on the Nile

Trip Start Jul 02, 2008
Trip End Dec 27, 2009

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Sunday, September 14, 2008


The People:

How to describe the people of Egypt? Sometimes they are incredibly hospitable, especially during Ramadan, the Holy Month. Its what Christmas would be like if we fasted during the day and it lasted a month. Other times they are far more conniving than any insurance salesman and more insistent than Jehovah's Witnesses. Visiting Egypt is a very full-on and sometimes draining experience. The sales people have so many scams, the prices are many times inflated for tourists, unless you can haggle well. The Military Police (which actually do keep the tourist zones decently safe in all honesty) are always asking for bribes in tourist areas for the smallest of assistance.

More annoying than all that are the true "tourists" the ignorant people who think being American, British, Japanese or yes, even Australian, gives them a divine right while overseas. We met quite a few of them and its understandable why so many cultures around the world dislike westerners.

Having said that, its not all bad! There are many truly nice people in Egypt, people that will honestly help you out without scamming you. You just need your wits about you, as with anywhere. Egyptian backpackers, as per normal with backpackers, are also awesome people, leaving behind the Contiki tours and what have you to experience the real culture. Yes, even the Americans.

The Fun:

All the incredible monuments, it goes without saying. They are awe-inspiring in real life, as you could imagine. Cruising the Nile was also fun, chilling out on the boat, eating the numerous buffets! Its also the only place where I got sick, and yes I ate street food in Cairo, go figure. I wish I had a copy of "Death on the Nile" to read on the cruise, it would have been awesome. Alas my planning skills are lacking.

Delving into an Egyptian sheesha bar was quite a bizarre experience. Its what an Aussie pub would be if it had no alcohol and/or gambling. Yes, the Muslims are truly insane! They watch soccer, play board games like chess and dominoes, and smoke this flavored (and delicious!) tobacco through a massive water pipe. Egyptian dominoes gets very competitive. Our second stint in Cairo, while hanging out with some Germans, consisted mostly of us sleeping all day and spending all night hoping between sheesha bars playing UNO (American football UNO! The "Champs" card is deadly.) and various versions of dominoes. The locals accepted us as one of their own and never hassled us in the bars. Often stopping on the way past to check out our domino skills or figure out WTF UNO is.

The Not So Fun:

Read Above. Long haul night buses, like 14+ hour trips, where they stop the bus every 30 minutes at checkpoints so they can check your ID. Apparently done to protect our lives, definately not our sleep. The Aussie Dollar being a Yo-Yo during our time in Egypt, annoying (worse now in the EU though and Japan yet to come!). Back to eating at the golden arches.
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