Everybody (well, almost!) likes receiving letters - I certainly do, though there are other, more modern and efficient means of communication - e-mail, phone, and such like. However, if you simply like getting letters or if you need, say, the originals or paper copies of some documents sent to you while you are on the move, you can use the poste restante service. Your best bet is to use the American Express service, which is available for free to clients - you should hold either their card or travellers cheques. They are reliable and present in all major cities.
Many Asian and African countries, including Egypt, are predominantly Muslim, so the religious sites you are most likely to encounter, are, predictably, mosques. This is a brief tip of advice, written from the point of view of a non-Muslim, female traveler (yours truly!!!):
- Do dress modestly, covering arms, legs, shoulders and the like, no frivolous dressing will be allowed. Hire the modest dress if needed;
- Check whether you are allowed into the mosque at all, since most of them admit you only into the courtyard, and some do not admit non-Muslims at all. However, in several countries you may be able to visit the interiors of many mosques;
- Respect the boundaries laid and do not attempt to enter further (I saw such a thing once, and it did arouse ill-feeling);
- If possible try to avoid going even to the courtyard on Friday afternoon, since I remember this is the most important praying time of the week;
- If you are curious, feel free to ask questions (though not of people hurrying to pray) and most likely you will be answered: I’ve always found people proud of their culture and heritage and ready to explain it;
- Do not criticize things we in Europe and in the West might (such as separate praying space for men and women), for such are the customs of the land and mosques are the least appropriate places for such topics.
This advice is based only on common sense, but it allowed me to see something of the mosques and learn loads of interesting info on Muslim countries, their religion, and culture. Really helped me when we had a general education class on religions at University:))
Ain Al Sukhna , Red Sea
"Ain Al Sukhna , Red Sea Egypt"
When it's chilly and noisy you start to search for places that provide warmth and relaxation. Ain Al-Sukhna is one of those places. Its uniquely exquisite features have made it a top choice both for Egyptians and foreigners.
Besides a few fast food joints, there is also the sea-food restaurant of Abu Ali (facing the Amigo Resort) that serves up excellent dishes of fresh Red Sea fish, shrimp and calamari. Hotel restaurants are another option. Ponte Vicchio, in the Stella di Mare, serves Italian meals and Il Proverbio serves international cuisine. There's also the Beach restaurant offering Lebanese and fish plates, open Fridays and Saturdays. Gabiano serves snacks by the pool.
Other hotels have distinctive international cuisine restaurants like Palmera Restaurant in Palmera Beach Resort and the Zaafarana Restaurant in Sol Y Mar Hotel.
"Ain Al Sukhna , Red Sea Egypt"
There is no airport in Ain Al-Sukhna, but it can be reached in slightly over an hour by bus, train or private car. Unfortunately, there are no direct buses to Ain Al-Sukhna, so you have to take an East Delta bus (00+(202) 576 2293) from Cairo to Suez (LE7.25), then go by service taxi or bus from Suez (three buses daily, LE5) to Ain Al-Sukhna. Cairo- Suez buses leave from the Almaza terminal in Heliopolis every half-hour. Trains to Suez leave from Ain Shams station, next to the Metro stop in Ain Shams suburb, for LE4 at 9:20am, 1:20pm, 4:15pm, 6:45pm and 9:40pm, but they take more than two hours.
"Ain Al Sukhna , Red Sea Egypt"
Ain Al-Sukhna lies on the Gulf of Suez just 55 kilometres south of Suez. Administratively, Ain Al-Sukhna is part of the Suez governorate. It extends 60 kilometres on the Red Sea coast from Al- Adbia in the north and Zaafarana in the south. Romantic expeditionaries, desert safari lovers and mountain climbers in the 1940s put Ain Al-Sukhna on the holiday map.
A City that suffered injustice
"The Brave city"
Suez governorate and city is located eastern cairo, on the suez canal which is considered a vital international water channel used by big commercial vessels crossing from north to south the globe.
Till the early 1950s this channel was runned and occupied by the british. When the 1952 Revolution of Egypt happened, it was very normal that egyptians are to manage their own resourses which was a step taken with the suez canal.
This decision didnt please so much the rich western powers at that time (frensh and brits) cause they wanted more wealth that others have.
The Suez canal nationalization was a decision that cost this city so much. It was destroyed completly by Great britian, Frensh and ISraeli armies as one pact against this weak city and its helpless people who were seeking nothing but their right to live.
The city was evacuated from millions of its inhabitants who were transported like pigs in big cars.
Now, after some decades, this city is full of life and laughter due to its dependency on this channel. They manage it and work their ars off to make it better.
Dont miss remembering that behind this city is a great story and great struggle of people trying to stand up for their right to survuve against greedness and evil.
Crossing the Suez Canal
"Fortune sellers of the Suez Canal"
I have crossed the Suez Canal several times on tanker ships. It connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.
When a ship reaches either Port Said on the Medi, or to the town of Suez on the other side, she has to report to the Suez authorties and has to be in queue to cross the Suez. There are 2 convoys of ships that cross the canal - the North bound and the South bound.
The crossing takes about 14 hours.
It is mandatory for the ship crossing to have extra tug boats and boatmen on the ship. In case of emergency, they can launch their boats, and tug the ship out of the convoy, should the engine stop, or whatever problem occurs. Now these boatmen double up as shopkeepers, and they set up their wares in every nook and alley space provided to them on the ship!
It is a treat then, to go and visit them, check out their wares, bargain, squabble and come up with great deals! At the beginning of the journey, a "papyrus" painting that was quoted at 25 USD can be bought at 5 USD! (Önly for you, madam, special , special!!!) They sell anything and everything, from postcards and stationery, to original "papyrus"paintings, to egyptian "antiques" to fish hooks, DVDs, lingerie, socks, manicure sets, shaving kits, and some things I did not even recognize!
When the ship reaches the other side, they morph into boatmen again, and disappear with their boats!
"A little bit of History"
The idea of a canal linking the Mediterranean to the Red Sea dates back to ancient times. Unlike the modern Canal, earlier ones linked the Red Sea to the Nile, therefore forcing the ships to sail along the River on their journey from Europe to India. The Red Sea Canal, consisted of two parts: the first linking the Gulf of Suez to the Great Bitter Lake, and the second connecting the Lake to one of the Nile branches in the Delta. The canal remained in good condition during the Ptolemaic era, but fell into disrepair afterwards. It was re-dug during the rule of the Roman Emperor Trajan, and later the Arab ruler Amr Ibn-Al-Aas. Over the years, it fell again into disrepair, and was completely abandoned upon the discovery of the trade route around Africa.
It was Napoleon's engineers who, around 1800 AD, revived the idea of a shorter trade route to India via a Suez Canal. However, the calculation carried out by the French engineers showed a difference in level of 10 meters between both seas. If constructed under such circumstances, a large land area would be flooded. Later, the calculations showed to be wrong, and the final attempt to dig the Canal was undertaken by former French Consul in Cairo and famous Canal digger Ferdinand de Lesseps. He was granted a "firman" or decree by the khedive Said of Egypt to run the Canal for 99 years after completion.
In 1859, Egyptian workers started working on the construction of the Canal in conditions described by historians as slave labor, and the project was completed around 1867. On November 17, 1869, the Canal was officially inaugurated by Khedive Ismail in an extravagant and lavish ceremony. French, British, Russian, and other Royalty were invited for the inauguration which coincided with the re-planning of Cairo.
The Suez Canal emerged on the political scene in 1956, during the Suez crisis. It was in July of that years the Egyptian president Nasser, at age 38, announced the nationalization of the Canal at Mansheya Square in Alexandria in front of a cheering crowd. His decision was in response to the British, French, and American refusal for a loan aimed at building the Aswan High Dam. The revenue from the Canal, he argued, would help finance the High Dam project. The announcement triggered a swift reaction by Great Britain, France, and Israel, who all invaded Egypt less than two months later. Their action would be condemned by the International community, and Nasser would eventually claim victorious.
In 1967, the Canal was closed at the wake of the Six-Day War, when Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula, causing the Canal to act as a buffer zone between the fighting forces. The Egyptians reclaimed the Canal upon the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, and the re-opening ceremony took place in 1975. Since then, the Canal, which stretches 167 kms across the Egyptian desert, has been widened twice. Today, approximately 50 ships cross the canal daily, and, with the threat of war long gone, the cities and beaches along the Bitter Lakes and the Canal serve as a summer resort for tourists.