"Egypt- "Welcome to Egypt, Where's my tip? "" Top 5 Page for this destination Egypt by matt10gonzalez
Egypt Travel Guide: 16,224 reviews and 41,644 photos
Who can’t forget that memorable journey from Jerusalem back to Cairo via the strict, volatile GAZA border? Wow! What a journey alright… (See Israel page for more info.)
Just arriving by air (during the day) in Cairo from Bahrain, Wow! So magical. You soar over the red sea, you see Israel, Jordan, and soon you see the famous Suez Canal and pretty soon, you’ll be flying over the pyramids! That’s right! I got a beautiful bird’s eye view of the unavoidable pyramids, Cairo and the mother place where Moses was abandoned and sent away to die (But was saved): The Nile River.
The looks of our faces the moment we arrived at the Cairo airport! Boy, we thought Manila’s airport was the pits. Well, it’s not anymore. Cairo was even worse!
It was MORE chaotic!
We were shocked on how noisy the people were and how easy the immigration was. (They were just chatting, playing and exchanging seats minute by minute! I’ve never seen that before yet!) It was like market place!
But that’s what I like about it anyway- it’s different! I’ve always dreamt to go to a more backward country than the Philippines. It’s like Egypt is still lost in the 50’s and it’s great! (For tourists, but I bet not for the locals!)
The looks of our faces when we first met the people: The Egyptian people. Wow! We thought they were the friendliest people on earth! I mean, where in Manila or even San Francisco you could find a total stranger who’ll just greet you “Hello my friend!” like he’s seen you for a long time and carry your luggage without you telling and then ask for a tip? ASK for a tip?!
Uh-oh! We got shocked!
We realized that there is a PRICE to pay for being the nicest people on earth!
You literally HAVE to pay them!
So that’s what “Baksheesh” meant! In the beginning, I thought baksheesh meant tip for the waiters in the restaurant, you know? Tip. Not here in Egypt!
Oh well… Anyway, most people in Egypt are friendly, but I noticed most (not all) want a tip. Oh well, I guess Egypt, like anywhere else in the world, you got to choose your friends who like you more than money!
Who can’t forget riding camels for 8 hours around the Giza plateau up to Saqarra from morning till sunset? And most especially, who can’t forget riding camels, (without much assistance) galloping horses, (on your own!) with the only surviving 7 ancient wonders of the world, the Pyramids- at sunset. Wow…it was truly magical! Even if it cost us 200$ for all, (which I believed they overcharged us, but they were charming and nice) it was still a dream come true for me!
-In Alexandria, where we felt like superstars! You see, we were in this fort (which used to be the Great Light House, one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world) and there was a school field trip, so what happens? They bombarded us like we were aliens! They were so amused of my Asian skin, Asian eyes, and even teenage cousin’s teeth braces! (They thought it was jewelry.) And then they surrounded me and asked for my photos, my autograph, and baksheesh! (Which their teacher spanked them!) Still, I like the people here – they’re cute.
-The first time we touched the Red Sea, my gosh! It was so cold! Like ice! We kept screaming and screaming and we didn’t care if all the foreigners heard it! But it was worth freezing- the marine life was just simply amazing.
-Who can’t forget Luxor? The temple ruins capital of Egypt (The Karnak, the Valley of the Kings and more) and also the SCAM capital of Egypt? (We got scammed here the most!) Either both, I still enjoyed Luxor!
-The train from Cairo to Aswan! It was the very first time I tried riding a train in a 3rd world country (You don’t need to use a train in the Philippines), it was fine but the bathroom was a real stink bomb!
-The Nubians of Aswan! I still can hear the pretty Nubian girls beautiful and shrilly, ululating song-like singing voices accompanied by mom’s and dad’s ugly voice trying to sing along with them! (That’s right! We all partied with the Nubians down the Nile river!)
-Finally, the tasty but dreadful Koshari! It looks like dog food, but it’s good.
Egypt- Who doesn’t like Egypt? (Serious parts! Kids, fun-loving people, just stroll all the way down!)
Who doesn’t like Egypt? One of the oldest and most exotic countries on earth?
“Me, I don’t like it. I don’t like how they hassle you, the baksheesh and I don’t like the non-aircon taxis!” Said my posh aunt who only loves traveling to 1st world countries.
“Egypt is so scary! The people look so scary!” My grandma said. (But she also liked it.)
“I want to go there, but I heard it’s dangerous- there’s Al-Qaeda there.” A middle-class Filipino woman told me.
“It’s only worth for a few days, weeks, but for 3 months? I’ll die.” An American girl told me.
Well, despite numerous complains about Egypt and despite being a 3rd world country with a lot of aggressive (But some are nice) touts and hassles, and despite the infamous baksheesh, (You’ll get used to it, and if you speak some Arabic, better! Less hassles!) Egypt is still truly an AMAZING COUNTRY.
Who can’t resist the aura & charm of the temples of Luxor, the charming African Nubian villages of Aswan, the romantic pyramids at sunset, the cold but beautiful Red Sea, which is also one of the world’s best diving spots (Providing you dive in the Egyptian part, not the Eliat, Israel, Aqaba, Jordan part, but prepare! It’s rough.) And who can’t resist Cairo? A chaotic city with teeming bazaars and a thousand minarets and a city that becomes a carnival at night EVERYDAY! Big plus:
It’s CHEAP. (Your money goes long here.)
“I can. I don’t really like Egypt- it’s all about temples and ruins only. There’s no forests like the Himalayas.” A German female trekker said.
Oh well! You can’t please everyone. Egypt might not be perfect (Like as modern as America or Europe) but what country is perfect? (America lacks ruins & pyramids, and the Mediterranean sea is virtually dead compared to the red sea!)
Anyway, Egypt is still an amazing country to discover!
And as for safety? Though terrorist bombs occur time to time anywhere else in Egypt, believe it or not, Egypt is very safe! In my opinion, it’s safer than Manila or New York or Paris. (The streets here at night are so illuminated with plenty of people hanging around and you’re more likely to get killed here in crossing the streets of Cairo! They drive so crazy like drivers from hell!)
And doesn’t terrorist bombing also happen in 1st world countries like Europe? (The Madrid bombings, the London bombings, etc.) Anywhere In the world is no exception to terrorist bombings. (Even Manila had terrorist bombings too.) But whatever happens, Egypt is safe and worth it.
Like what my other crazy, classy aunt, who’s also a foxy lady said:
“I love Egypt- I love it when the people here stare at me and the hassles, I feel like a superstar!”
Compared to Philippines- It’s like comparing Mars (Being Egypt) and Earth! (Philippines). The only thing they have in common is that both countries are just as cheap or expensive as each other! (You can indulge yourself for a nice meal in Egypt for 2$. (It’s already a tasty international dish, chicken Parmigian) In the Philippines, you could also eat well with 2$.)
Compared to Europe- Though Egypt may have been conquered and ruled by the French and the British, and though it’s only 3-5 hrs from Europe, they’re still world’s apart!
A unique exception to this is Sharm-el-Sheikh, A European tourist hub and also a favorite vacation spot for the Egyptians who can afford! (Like what the Gulf Air stewardess asked me: “Have you been to Sharm? It’s my favorite.” She didn’t ask “Have you been to the Pyramids?”)
Yes! In Sharm, European tourists dominate the locals (Just walk around the town, you’ll find more Westerners than Egyptians) and the architecture is very Mediterranean. (Ultra- White with blue doors, windows, low flat buildings. It’s similar to the resorts of Greece like Mykonos, Kos, Santorini. (Except there’s no cliff and windmills!)
Compared to America- The only thing they have in common is the American University in Cairo. That’s it! Otherwise, prepare! They’re world’s apart!
Mother: “I love Egypt- I wanna go back.”
Dad: “Of course I love Egypt! Next time I’ll go back with a digital camera, s***, I should have bought that when we were there! I really regret that!”
Brother: “I like Egypt because the bookstores are in English and they have plenty of Goosebumps, old classic novels that I can’t even find in the Philippines here!”
Teenage Cousin: “I like Egypt…but what did we do there again?” (Didn’t really appreciate it- she was still too young!)
- Pros:It never fails to disappoint me- I don't mind coming back again!
- Cons:It's chaotic, the hassles, the scams, no forests but what country is perfect?
- In a nutshell:Egypt- "Welcome to Egypt, Where's my tip?"
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