Cairo To hold back the...
To hold back the great flood of people which ruches into on Cairo, the government undertook since 1978 the construction of 7 new cities in edge of the desert, equipped with running water and sewers, of schools and dispensaries. The demographic growth accelerates: 4 million inhabitants in 1967, 16 million today. In some popular districts, the density reaches more than 150 000 inhabitants per km2. The expressways multiply while the pyramids of Giza disappear little by little behind a hedge of buildings.
Copt churches:Remember that...
Remember that if you visit them, you must be properly (modestly) dressed. And, though nobody will usually take any money from you if you visit a church, it is regarded as a sign of good education and gratitude if you make a small donation (1/2 will do) to the church in question.
The old and the new:Cairo,...
The old and the new:
Cairo, like many Egyptian cities, it a place where the old mixes up with the new and creates a unique ensemble. Ancient statues and the pyramids that can be viewed from some points of Cairo, mosques that were built in the Middle Ages, modern hotels and the Cairo Tower. Luxurious cruise ships of the XXth century and traditional feluccas. Inhabitants are just like that, as well: they are modern, some of them have all the technological gadgets people in Europe do have as well, but they still look like and (what is most inportant) feel like the heirs of those who inhabited this land some 4-5 thousand years ago. May be the most important cultural lesson it can teach us is tollerance: many religions, old and new life styles -- they all make up this wonderful megapolis.
The actual unit of currency in...
The actual unit of currency in Egypt is not the Egyptian pound....nor is it even the US dollar. It's really the Marlboro cigarette. No joke. In a country where the average income is US$150 /month, a carton of Marlboro Reds will go for $50. (Yes Reds, you can leave your Ultra Lights at home)
Yet when westerners visit...
Yet when westerners visit Egypt they are often apprehensive. Their views of Egyptians and Arabs, fomented by unkind and untrue media stories, often bear no relation to reality. Travelers are often surprised by their friendly, hospitable reception and take home with them good feelings about Egypt and its population.
Egyptians have been raised in a social environment steeped in Islam, a background that can color their decision-making in a way difficult for foreigners to understand. Yet it is precisely this training that makes Egyptians some of the most charming and helpful of hosts. By understanding the culture and with consideration for your hosts, you can be a welcome guest in Egypt.
The perfect souvenir!! You can find many designs with a wide range of prices. But avoid the ones they offer you at the streets, they won't last more than a month or 2.
The best places to buy papyrus are at the many Papyrus Institutes around the city. Prices vary widely. (Be careful that the painting isn't on banana leaves passed off as papyrus! A good test is to fold the papyrus as many times as you can and then open it. If you find cracks, it isn't genuine.)
The normal Cairo taxis are...
The normal Cairo taxis are usually very old and very battered. You can see why as soon as you get on the road. All rules are ignored and anarchy rules. Having said that I have come to respect the average Cairo taxi driver's ability to avoid collision if not danger of collision.
An alternative is to use the 'limousine' service at the hotel. These are decent cars, providing more comfort and a guarantee of seat belts. But remember, that doesn't make the roads any better.
Learn some of their language. ...
Learn some of their language. Politeness and patience goes a long ways. Negotiating with the merchants is an art which must be experienced to be appreciated. There is a book out called 'cultural shock' which provides excellent information for anyone who plans on visiting Egypt.
Unfinished buildings in Cairo are common
Apparently the reason is, untill a building is completly finished, it escapes being taxed.
These buildings are actually lived in.
Beer in Egypt
Beer is not easy to find in Egypt but noticed at least three beers that are locally brewed: Stella, Sakara and Heineken.
3 pics on this tip.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
Egyptian men love to sit outside on the street (open air) to have a sheesha and/or drink. This kind of coffee shop open 24 hours a day.
Smile. Everybody are smiling. And everything is "Moment" or "Second". So, it will happen to wait waiter 20 minutes even if he said "Second". But, you're on the holiday, don't you? Enjoy Egypt.
It is tradition here to give baksheesh for everything. It hasn't be too much . One Pound is just fair enough.
Working with wood
When we walked in the backstreets and alleyways of Cairo, we saw some craftsmen at work. This man did very concentrated his job. He worked very precisely on the wooden beam, using his toes.
On our way back from Saqqara to Cairo we visited this traditional bakery. The woman shows us how it works. We bought a lot of fresh traditional bread. It tasted delicious.
If you are seeking a luxurious trip to Egypt, then the Four Seasons Hotel is the only place to stay....more
This is the best hotel I have been. It was Sultans Palace and it was renovated and started to be...more
We stayed 3 nights in a two bedroom suite and I must say I could not find a complaint (a rare event...more
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