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Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Looks like I'll be spending quite a bit of time in Egypt next year, for better or for worse. Obviously, will avoid Sinai. Has anyone toured around Egypt recently, like post-Morsi? If so, quite a few small organizational questions:

How is it for getting around on the spot, versus the need for planning stuff in advance? Are touts and assholes still a huge problem like pre-revolution, or are things more chill now that there are fewer tourists? (Or are things more stressful because more people are competing for fewer of those tourists?) Has anyone done any DIY tours, e.g. just rent a car and drive around, or any specifically recommended tour operators? (Generally we're not big fans of tours, and definitely would not do any tour with more than 5 people on them except for something super specific like Abu Simbel). Would it make any sense to rent a car and drive around, e.g. taking a week and driving from Cairo to Edfu stopping here and there, or would it make more sense to just take minibuses? I should have no problem driving in Egypt from previous similar experience. We both read Arabic script so reading road signs / direction markers would be fine.

On a related note: how is it getting around with English and/or French? Wikipedia says a surprising number of people (Ī6-8 million) speak French although who knows what "speak" really means. My wife speaks standard Arabic well enough to ask for directions or talk to a cop or whatever if needed.

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Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Wow, the lonely planet forum for Egypt is super dead too, like one post per week dead.

Also the flights to Cairo are at comically awful times. Like the direct flight from where I live to Cairo lands at 2:15 am, and the return departs at 3:30 am? It's only a 4 hour flight too. The alternative flight back through Rome departs at 4:30am? Like who even designed their airport schedule. I guess I won't have to worry about traffic.

Geriatric Pirate
Apr 25, 2008

by Nyc_Tattoo


I went just before Morsi was deposed (the week before poo poo went down, there were lines for gas and everything already). Fewer touts in Cairo. Pretty easy to do things on the spot relative to the rest of Africa. Transport infrastructure fairly reliable and very easy between the main tourist cities (Alexandria, Luxor, Cairo are all connected with trains, so no need for minibuses between them unless you want to travel faster than the schedlues allow). Transport within Cairo needs some preparation or a guide book (minibuses are difficult) if you go outside the metro's coverage area, but not impossible. Everything was super cheap with the EGP devaluation. In general the big cities in Egypt have a fairly good mix of being "local" while still having western amenities like supermarkets, transport and clean toilets in restaurants.

Don't know about French, English knowledge wasn't great but not terrible either (in cities).

People I met didn't all avoid Sinai. Dahab got great reviews.

Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Geriatric Pirate posted:

I went just before Morsi was deposed (the week before poo poo went down, there were lines for gas and everything already). Fewer touts in Cairo. Pretty easy to do things on the spot relative to the rest of Africa. Transport infrastructure fairly reliable and very easy between the main tourist cities (Alexandria, Luxor, Cairo are all connected with trains, so no need for minibuses between them unless you want to travel faster than the schedlues allow). Transport within Cairo needs some preparation or a guide book (minibuses are difficult) if you go outside the metro's coverage area, but not impossible. Everything was super cheap with the EGP devaluation. In general the big cities in Egypt have a fairly good mix of being "local" while still having western amenities like supermarkets, transport and clean toilets in restaurants.

Don't know about French, English knowledge wasn't great but not terrible either (in cities).

People I met didn't all avoid Sinai. Dahab got great reviews.

Some of that has been even more true recently; while you were there the EGP had just dropped from 6 to the dollar to 7, while a few months ago it just dropped from 9 to the dollar to 17 to the dollar overnight. Nice to know the harassment has decreased with the lack of tourists. Sinai has also become a war zone in the last 4 years, I don't think tourists are even legally allowed to go to the North Sinai governorate anymore... not that there was really ever any reason to go there. Still, it's so hosed there that I think I'd get jitters about visiting St Catherine's, kind of like how I wouldn't visit Latakia right now even though it's theoretically safe.

Based on the zero activity I see on any Egypt forum these days, looks like it's probably pretty nice for a roadtrip. I've done that around Tunisia and Jordan and really enjoyed it, barely ever saw anyone else except in Petra.

Owlofcreamcheese
May 22, 2005
Probation
Can't post for 23 days!


Buglord

I went to cairo like two days after the church bombing. There was one point when military police pointed a gun at me because I walked somewhere I wasn't supposed to walk but it was cool and fun and all the tourist spots were super empty and sitting alone with the pyramids and stuff is pretty great.

Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Owlofcreamcheese posted:

I went to cairo like two days after the church bombing. There was one point when military police pointed a gun at me because I walked somewhere I wasn't supposed to walk but it was cool and fun and all the tourist spots were super empty and sitting alone with the pyramids and stuff is pretty great.

It's kind of interesting because supposedly tourist numbers are only down by around half (7 million, vs 15 million) but everyone always says every major site is devoid of tourists, not just "less". I wonder if the majority of the remainder are just people who transit through the airport or who are visiting family or whatever.

Turns out TripAdvisor's Egypt forum is full of discussion, in case anyone else is interested.

Owlofcreamcheese
May 22, 2005
Probation
Can't post for 23 days!


Buglord

Saladman posted:

It's kind of interesting because supposedly tourist numbers are only down by around half (7 million, vs 15 million) but everyone always says every major site is devoid of tourists, not just "less". I wonder if the majority of the remainder are just people who transit through the airport or who are visiting family or whatever.

I think congestion works like that a lot. If you have a line that can handle 10 people an hour and it's getting 10 people an hour then you can just walk right up no wait through the line. If it changes to 20 people an hour the line doesn't just get twice as long, it spirals since every hour the line gains another ten uncleared people. Till ten hours later the line is 100 people long, but you only doubled the rate.

Like a dripping faucet will never fill your sink even if it drips for a thousand years, but past a certain point of turning the knob your drain will never drain your sink and will just fill till it overflows. And it's not a singular linear relation. flow rate stuff is stepwise like that, Two dripping faucets won't fill a sink any more than one will and a faucet on full blast will still continue to overflow the sink if turned down by half. Congestion can be flow problems. Sometimes you just hit points of always clear or never clear.

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In The Bushes
Mar 4, 2012


I spent October in Egypt. It was safe enough, people really wanted to talk about the economy and politics, but were gunshy. Didnít feel in danger, personally, even when walking through the homeless hubs in Cairo.

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