Q: Is it safe to Travel in Egypt?

A: Many U.S. travelers think negatively when it comes to safety issues about traveling to Egypt due to concerns for traveling in other Middle Eastern Countries. Air travel has probably never been safer than it is now. Once you are in Egypt, the Egyptian people are warm, hospitable, and for the most part, genuinely delighted to interact with us. Beyond that, tourism is the mainstay of the Egyptian economy, and the security precautions the Egyptian government has put in place to protect tourists for the last five years are impressive. There have been no problems in many years in any of the regions where we travel. If seeing Egypt has always been your dream, this is a good time to turn the dream into reality.

Q: Can cameras and video equipment be used at all sites?

A: A new policy has recently been put into effect by the SCA. This policy allows for cameras to be used at most sites without charge. However, both regular and video cameras can not be used in the museum or at Valley of the Kings. Please do not bring them or they will need to be stored at the site, and can cause delays.

Q: How do I tip when asked for “Baksheesh”?

A: A big culture shock is the amount of tipping expected. Landing in Cairo airport, the toilet assistant may be the first to expect a tip. It is important for tourists to find ways of breaking down that LE100 as soon as possible, upon landing. Porters and drivers have to be tipped, but the rest is at one’s discretion. Toilet assistants and waiters tend to get LE1 (£0.10) or more, and porters and chambermaids from LE5 to 10 (£0.50 to £1). Visitors cruising on the Nile will have a tip suggested to them for the whole trip, such as £4 per night (LE40).

Q: Do we need a VISA to travel to Egypt?

A: Yes, you will need a visa. Depending on your nationality, costs and procedures can differ.  If you’re an American citizen, you can purchase your visa at the airport upon arrival at a cost of $20 (US) per person. However, different nationalities have different rules.

Q: How do I get to Cairo?

A: Our journey together begins in Giza and we are all responsible for our own trips to and from Cairo. There are several ways to plan your trip to Cairo and we recommend either using a trusted travel agent or using an airfare website, such as Kayak.com, Travelocity.com or Travelzoo.com. These websites will let you search for the cheapest possible flights and plan your trip according to your own personal schedule.

Q: How do I get from Cairo to Giza for the event?

A: When you arrive in Cairo you have several options to get to Giza for the event. The easiest option is to travel with our tour company, Quest Travel. They will be arranging rides from the airport to Giza for $35 per person/one way. To pre-register for one of these rides contact us at thegreatconvergence@gmail.com

Other options for travel from Cairo to Giza are via taxicab or by bus. There are a number of buses that you can take from Cairo. The No 355/357 bus route provides service from locations in Cairo to Giza. The No 355/357 buses are large, comfortable, and have air conditioning, a welcome luxury during the hot days of summer. Bus fare costs around E£2.

There is also microbus service to Giza. These buses are often very crowded and much less comfortable that the normal bus service. Fares on the microbuses cost around 25 pt.

A final option is to take a taxicab. A fare from downtown Cairo to Giza should cost around E£15. To save some money (and beat traffic), you should consider taking the Cairo metro down to the Giza stop, where you can hail a taxi for the E£5 fare to the hotels.

Q: Can I stay in a hotel room by myself?

A: Yes, you can stay in a hotel room by yourself if you wish. All of the published hotel rates that we are offering are based on 2 persons sharing a room. If you are interested in finding out how you can reserve a hotel room by yourself please contact us to find out details and coordinate. thegreatconvergence@gmail.com

Q: Can we have a 3rd person stay in our hotel room to make the costs cheaper?

A: No, you cannot have a 3rd person stay in your hotel room to make the cost cheaper per the hotels request. But if a 3rd person were to crash on your floor we doubt anyone would notice.

Q: Can we have a 3rd person stay in our Nile Cruise room to make the costs cheaper?

A: No, you cannot add a 3rd person to the rooms on either of our cruise ships.

Q: Are meals included with the hotels?

A: Breakfast is included with your stay at both the Mena House and the Mercure Hotels in Giza. You will be responsible for lunch and dinner on your own. If you stay with us on the Nile Cruise breakfast is included at the Sonesta St George Hotel as well.

Q: What should I know about drugs and alcohol in Egypt?

A: Drinking alcohol is not illegal in Egypt and is available in many tourist places. Egypt even has its own beer, whiskey, gin and wine brands which are popular throughout the country. Alcohol is also available in hotels, nightclubs, and many restaurants and tourist boats.

Drugs are widely available throughout the country, particularly hashish. Egyptian drug penalties are very harsh, however, and you do not want to spend any amount of time in an Egyptian prison. Your country cannot help you other than to send an embassy employee to visit you occasionally. It is best if you leave your drugs at home.

Q: What should I know about smoking Shishah in Egypt?

A: Smoking Shishah is essentially smoking flavored tobacco from a hookah. Contrary to popular belief, nothing illicit or untoward is occurring here, and the pipes are primarily used for smoking perfectly legal tobacco. The tobacco is perfumed (in one of a number of flavours, usually apple) and pressed into a detachable pipe top which is subsequently wrapped in foil. The foil is pierced with tiny holes and fixed in place at the top of the pipe. Hot white coals are then balanced on the foil.

In a similar principle to any other pipe or smoking device, the smoker pulls on the mouth pieces drawing the heat into the tobacco. The perfumed smoke then commences its journey to the inhaler’s lungs, on route passing through the base of the pipe which is filled with water. This water cools the smoke, removing the harshness and giving the impression of being ‘smooth’ or ‘weak’ to the first time user.

Rest assured shisha smoke contains at least as much nicotine, tar and other nasties as cigarette tobacco.

Q: What should I do if I lose my passport in Egypt?

A: If you lose your passport in Egypt contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. Phone numbers for U.S. embassies and consulates are also available in our Country Specific Information and Key Officers handbook. You will need to speak to the American Citizens Services unit of the Consular Section. If you are scheduled to leave the foreign country shortly, please provide the Consular Section with details regarding your departure schedule. Every effort will be made to assist you quickly. You will also be directed to where you can obtain the required passport photos.

 

“Egypt is an image of heaven, or to speak more exactly, in Egypt all the operations of the powers which rule and are active in heaven have been transferred to a lower place. Even more than that, is the whole truth be told, our land is the temple of the entire cosmos.”

-Corpus Hermeticum