This is by far the most important word in the local vocabulary. It is expected for just everything. But of course it is your personal decision for what you give it and how much. The sad fact is that in general Egyptians doing normal jobs are extremely lousy paid but that is of course not your problem. And it is not your obligation to conserve this bad situation by giving baksheesh because that would mean that the employers are less motivated to pay their workforce more reasonably because they might argue that baksheesh compensates it.
But of course you can make your life noticeably more comfortable by distributing a limited amount of Baksheesh in a both fair and clever way. There are some people who are doing some more personal service for you and it is easy to optimize that. There is for example your room attendant. He will greet you right after you have got your room. Let him work the first two days for you. If you have the impression that he is doing it nicely (mostly they are doing it nicely) give him a reasonable Baksheesh which is of course for all his service for the whole length of your stay. You will notice an improvement of his service immediately. And if your expectations were much more than fulfilled you can give him an additional smaller Baksheesh at the end of your stay. But dont forget that any baksheesh given at the end of your stay does not improve anything for you!
Similar applies for the beach. It is written there that it is forbidden to occupy beach loungers but unfortunately the hotel has German guests and they get up at six in the morning and put their beach towels to the best placed loungers but dont show up then earlier than around ten. Be early enough at the beach the first day of your stay, look for the best situated not yet German occupied loungers and wait there with your towel untll the guy comes who distributes the paddings. Thank him for it and give him a small Baksheesh and tell him that you like this place. He will carefully watch out next morning that nobody else occupies your place. If that really works he has earned your small tip again.
If you make an excursion lets say to Luxor and your bus stops equally long or often even longer at a Papyrus and Alabaster shop as compared to the Temple of Karnak than is iirst the best to remain in the bus instead of looking at the Alabaster or Papyrus (the bus has air condition, the Papyrus shop maybe not) and second of course NO BAKSHEESH FOR ANYBODY!
In the Restaurant you have to pay for the drinks (for a 0,3 l beer approximately 2,50 EUR - did there anybody mention that Egypt is cheap??) but this gives you the chance to have always your favourite table. When you pay for the first beer give a tip of about 10 % (be ready to have always enough small bills (1 and 5) of Egyptian pounds for that). The next day you pay just by signing the bill which means no tips. The waiter gets slightly pale of disappointment. But on third day come again to the same waiter, he will - slightly unwillingly - go with you again to your favourite table, if it is free. But gve him this time again a tip when paying your drink in cash. He will be very friendly until to the end of your stay.
One more word to the importance of Baksheesh: Egyptians usually get married at the age of 18 for which the selection is made by the both families and both families expect the production of many sons (daughters dont count, so in case there are no sons coming the poor couple is forced to try it again and again and since there is Viagra available nowadays there is no excuse. So your Baksheesh is needed to support all these oversized families inorder to perpetuate Egypts demographic desaster).
Hurghada is one of few resorts of the world where Russian tourists prevail. About one million persons from Russia have visited Egypt last year. Overwhelming majority have visited Egypt through Hurghada.
Many tourists like to have a rest among the compatriots. I do not concern to them. Especially I do not like to lay on a beach and to hear Russian-speaking chatter. It suffices me at home! Therefore when the Russian tourist boom in Hurghada in the beginning of 1990th began I have told, that I possibly would be the last Russian tourist who visits Hurghada for the first time. Later 15 years I can tell that it has turned out almost true. The majority of my colleagues have already visited Hurghada. I was one of the last.
Hurghada became for me a prologue and an epilogue on the big excursion travel across Egypt. I am grateful to it for the warm sea and the hot sun!
Ladies, get used to men coming up you, seeking for fun... If you are not interested, ignore them. Otherwise, you won't be able to get ridd of them! And believe me, they can be very charming and good looking, not to mention persistant... It is acustomed with them to sweet-talk, and it isn't something you should hold against them. Some might even dare to pinch or slap you on the bottom! I didn't have any unpleasant experiance, but than again, I am not the "exposing" type. A few girls from the group had been approached in a nasty way with a line: "How much is a b..job?" This is why I always repeat: do not act like a dog that's been set free after a long time! Be polite, dress politely and there isn't going to be any troubles for you. That doesn't mean that you have to walk around covered.
Remember when I said "after survivng the shock of our tour guide's driving" ? Well, the guy is unbeliveable! During the ride he let go of the stearing weel many times, was turned behind and talking to us... And when we asked him how come none uses lights in the evening he simply replied : "Why should we if we can see everything this way?"
Last week Prasnjavi told me that he got much better explanation and more beliveable one, but you'll have to ask him about it. It wouldn't be fair if I missused his story!
Although Egypt is an Islamic state where alcohol is forbidden, you can consume and buy alcoholic drinks in most of the major hotels and bars in Hurghada.
You can drink as much as you want, but remember you're still a guest.
So don't provoke the local people by walking drunk around the city.
I really don't know if this tip is a common local custom.
But there where so many men asking us to change their Euro coins into banknotes.
Give them a helping hand, because most of the banks don't change coins.
Hybiscus flower in Egypt is not only used for decoration purposes but the local tradion uses one of the variations of this plant for making delicious tea! They drink it both hot and cold.
This resort pays special attention to irrigation so that these magnificent flowers can blossom even under the strong desert sun.
They earn almost nothing and we gave around $10 in tip for a week to the guy cleaning our bungalow. They are so friendly, and they give you extra towels and flowers if you are friendly too... We got flowers in a coca-cola bottle cut in half. And extra toilet-paper too....
So cute! :-)
Try to get used to being asked where you are from! You'll be asked that same question wherever you go. You can answer it, and prepare yourself for more personal ones, or ignore it, and be left alone! You choose!
It is very common that you will find Egyptians giving fives (your hand clapping on a friend's hand). They do this when you or them says something that sounds funny or looks funny.
So expect that through out your conversation with an Egyptian he will give you five and another five and another five.
So dont think he is crazy. and ladies, dont think he is trying to hit on you and hold your hand but rather he is showing appreciation to a funny thing you said.
A man kissing another man on the cheeks in the street is common cause this is the way Egyptian men greet each others. The strange thing is a man kissing a lady hi or goodbye. Some of my foreign friends asked me weather i am a gay and i was completly surprised cause i am not, they told me why do you keep kissing your men friends.
Dont fall into this trap.
This man sell tea. We met him on the market (souk). He have a big thermos with hot tea on his back. And by the green belt he have little glasses for tea. I like his dress very much.
If you whant make a foto for someone in Egypt you must ask about consent. And you must give money for it (bakshish)... but this tea seller.... he don`t whanted money for this photo :)
Courtesy of our hotel attendance was excellent. They were there every time where we expected and needed them. Our friend-of-the-days was Sherif, the hotel counter. He was everywhere. In the morning - in the breakfast lounge, during the day - lunch lounge, bars, swimming pool, in the evening - dinner lounge and around midnight - discotheque. "At your service" he use to says. Dule met him one day in the hall and told him: "Look Sherif, I'm going now to India and I don't want to see you there". He accepted a joke with a smile. Also, he was worry about me when I stayed one day in my room 'cause I had heat. He explained to Nina what I have to use to make me better.
"Shisha" is the "instrument" for smoking. It is usual thing in Arabian world. Somewhere they call it "Nargila". So, you can try different tastes such as cappuccino, apple, coconut... The smoke is cold because in the bottom part of shisha is water. On the top, there is piece of charcoal and the tobacco on it.
Smoking the waterpipe, we tried it with an apple flavour, but personally I did not like it very much.
We had most fun when my 7 years old son wanted to try this pipe. The look on his face was CRAZY !