Egypt: some random hints and tips

Posted on March 12, 2010

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Cairo has a good feeling to it and it is easy to walk around feeling safe (even for women). The only real problem is the hassle factor in tourist spots as people are trying to rip you off left right and centre. I found Luxor and Aswan incredibly difficult for this.

I did get scammed once which was frustrating – not so much because of the money, but from having someone get one over on me (yes, I am proud). If someone asks you to change euro coins into Egyptian money beware, the money you give is often switched and when you get impatient, you end up with a small note rather than the E£50 or E£100 you initially gave them.  I am sure there are similar scams out there so just be wary.

Take metered cabs rather than negotiate with people – it is often much, much cheaper and saves some headaches arguing over fares before even beginning a journey. If a can doesn’t have a meter, there will always be one around the corner that does!

Many people wanted to practice their English, from children to teenagers and adults. We heard ‘Welcome in Egypt/Cairo’ and ‘Have a good trip’ countless times every day. Men were often intrigued but rather than leering catcalls we were told ‘you are beautiful’ and, the funniest ‘do you need an Egyptian husband?’. It is all harmless fun and neither my blonde friend or I felt threatened at any time.

If you are female dress conservatively, as with all Muslim countries, keeping shoulders and knees covered (with no flesh showing in between). Trousers are better than shorts and considered more respectful. Headscarves aren’t required unless entering mosques.

A little Arabic goes a long way, here are some of the words that will get you a long way:

Marhaban – hello

Shukran – thank you

Baksheesh – tip/money for beggars/bribe

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Posted in: Destinations, Egypt