My wife and I have recently returned from Egypt. Tourism is down in Egypt because of their recent revolution. So if you want a bargain with few crowds, now is the time to go. First you must get accustomed to the security. Your tour will have a guard along on each side trip. Your hotel will have security and our Nile boat had a machine gun on top. This is not a recent change. My daughter toured Egypt in 2001, and a friend visited Egypt in 2006. They said that their security was the same. We always felt safe, but not just because of the security. The people are honest and the only place you will lose money is at the tourist site. For example, if you get on a camel without first negotiating price, you may not get off the camel without paying to much. At each major tourist attraction, their are tourist police to help you with disagreements. At the major sites, vendors surround you like flies to honey. But I have been to China and Machu Picchu and the vendors are no worse in Egypt than in these places. Always negotiate a price first. It will be honored. Tipping is everywhere. At most it is one dollar, but if you have Egyptian money, many places you can give from one to five Egyptian pounds. (20 cents = one pound (approximate). If you go, read up on the do’s and don’ts and you will not have a problem.
We went to the Egyptian Museum which is next to Tahrir Square, the site of all major demonstrations. To be honest, it looked just like occupy Wall Street. Tents pitched. Speeches from young people.
Our trip was through Abercrombie and Kent. We liked the fact that they were with you from the moment you stepped off the plane until you were back on the plane. Our plane arrived at midnight, they were there to pick us up and take us to our hotel. When leaving the country, we were escorted to our gate. Excellent service. All along the way, our group of seasoned travelers were guided by pleasant guides making we sure we enjoyed ourselves and saw the best of Egypt. For example, our guide at the Valley of the Kings timed it so we were the last group out. The sun was starting to set, the place was empty, we were free to visit the tombs undisturbed. It was magical.
The three things that impressed my wife, the soul of LuckySammy, and I were the people, the line between green and the desert and the enormous size of everything.
The people were friendly and helpful. At some times people even wanted us to be in their pictures. At first, I thought they wanted money for taking pictures of each other. No, they were just acting like tourists everywhere. The young teenagers at one site wanted their picture taken with their cell phones. The teenagers wanted to know our names and ages. They practiced their English.
Within one foot, the vegetation changes from lush foliage to desert. It is like someone drew a line. We live in a desert, but our desert has many things growing. The Egyptian desert is different. There is nothing growing, not one bush.
The pyramids are nice, but they are not the most impressive thing. Karnak, Luxor, etc. You cannot get over the immense size of the tombs and temples. They are huge. Not only are the individual buildings big, but the size of the temple compound is huge. There is not just one building, but many. Some sites have manmade lakes. You also cannot get over the colors, still vibrant after thousands of years. Many of the items are as smooth as your kitchen countertop.
We are glad we took this opportunity to visit Egypt. My wife, who is the artisan made many items during the trip and picked up some great items to make jewelry with in the future.