Published: January 13th 2012January 13th 2012
People: I suppose I should talk about the locals I've met in Egypt. Mostly...nobody. There _is_ a reason for that. Let me explain. I've realized that before I came to Egypt I didn't have any pre-conceived notions about the people that I'd find here. It was probably because my last few weeks were pretty hectic and also because I just didn't think to give it much thought. Well when I got here I found that about 90% of the people I've met are trying to coerce me into buying something, 10% are storekeepers overcharging me and 9% are tour guides of some kind. There are just so, so many people trying to sell some kind of good or service here that it becomes overwhelming at times. Everyone in the tour group has had to learn some way of dealing with these people that hassle you as you walk down the souk(market)/around the sites/along the nile. So far our favourites are: 'laa' (means no) and my favourite, just ignoring people completely. We've also experimented with yelling ridiculous prices back at people. As a stereotypically polite Canadian I'm finding it refreshing to be able to just completely ignore someone without any reprocussions. To
a point, of course. Eventually everyone gets sick of it. So, yes, because there are just so many people trying to take advantage of you in some way it makes it a lot of work to go out and find locals to talk to. Some people on the tour are more keen than others but in general none of us have met any of the locals who weren't otherwise associated with the tour.
Activities: I'll try to summarize...
Abu Simbel - Very impressive temple. This one was saved and moved before the Aswan Dam flooded its previous location. Relatively large number of tourists compared to Philae temple but not overwhelming. I'm really sorry about pictures, I'll try to get some posted somewhere tomorrow. I know I'm behind on that. After that we got on a....
Felucca - A traditional sailing ship used to go down the Nile. We were on ours for 2 days, stopped to eat/bathroom breaks on shore. We all thought 2 days would be too long but were all pleasently surprised when we found the trip was the most relaxing part of our entire tour. All of us wanted to stay for longer. But,
unfortunately, we couldn't and instead headed to....
Luxor - Saw 3 temples: Luxor, Edfu, Karnak. Went to the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. There are some beautiful colours still present in the tombs of both valleys. Colours are yellow, red, black, white, blue and occasionally aqua. There were more tourists here that anywhere else we'd been. In the Valleys the tour group was actually feeling hot for the very first time! No photos allowed, so no pictures. The next day I took a hot air balloon ride! It was supposed to go over the valleys but the wind was blowing in the opposite direction so we got to go over the city and the Nile and then land in a sugar cane field. Apparently goig in the direction we did is only possible once or twice a year. Lucky us!
Hurghada - We've just arrived today. It's a very touristy town on the Red Sea. Probably the closest to a 1st world city that I've seen yet.
Food: Mostly the same fare. We're provided with western-y breakfasts and then most lunches and dinners. We've been eating a lot of local bread but otherwise
the food is similar to at home. The exception to this rule is the falafels. Everyone on the tour likes them, they're cheap and relatvely easy to find. It's just about the only local food I've eaten and, naturally, it really didn't agree with me. Too bad because they taste pretty good.
Weather: Still sunny, still cold, but we're in the resort town of Hurgada on the Red Sea where snorkelling and diving are options....sooo, hopefully it'll be warm when we do that tomorrow.
Observations: Bring your own toilet paper. This is also true of some European countires, I'm told. Anyway, it's a necessity around here. Also, water. Don't drink it. We've been advised by EVERYONE (even locals) not to drink the tap water but to buy bottled water instead. So often you'll see meembers of the group making water runs at the nearest shop. There aren't really supermarkets per say but some markets and little cubby shops like corner stores. The water itself is cheap, only 2-5 Egyptian pounds which works out to be $.2-1 CAD. Still, if you're charged 5LE then you've been ripped off.
There are more photos below