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Egypt - Facts for Tourists
Visa: A visa is required. Contact Egyptian Consulate or a visa service. Jewelry, electrical gadgets, cameras, must be listed with your cash/travel checks on your customs declaration form (given to you on the plane). Keep this form. It will be collected upon departure.

Currency: The Egyptian Pound (LE)... 100 Piasters (PT) to the Pound. Money can be confusing - some bills are identified only in Arabic. Pound bills are 20,10,5,1/2,1/4. Piaster coins are 10,5,1,1/2. There are also Piaster bills. You're not supposed to take Pounds out of Egypt. It's chaotic to try to re-exchange it. Spend it! Most shops accept US$.

Temperature: Cairo: Mar 75, Apr 83 °F. Luxor/Aswan: Mar-Apr 86-97 °F but, a dry heat. Spring is best time to visit (Mar and April). Hot in summer. Expect lots of flies and mosquitoes.

Clothing: Light colors (beiges) are best to reflect the sun. Arabs do not like to see shorts but they're OK on the Nile cruise. Sandals are not recommended in the desert. Sunglasses, a brimmed hat, sunscreen are essential. Carry a bottle of water.

Bank hours: 9-1, except Fri/Sat.

Shop hours: Hours vary. Check.

Food: Mashi is a delicious vegetable dish. Fool is the staple - a dish of Fava Beans in a thin sauce. Shakshouka is a fine chopped lamb mixed with tomato sauce. Kusheri is noodles,lentils,chickpeas,with a thin gravy. Do not buy from vendors. Do not eat anything that has not been cooked. Food is quite good and tasty!

Drink: Do not drink water anywhere except Cairo, where it is chlorinated. Beer and Coke are OK. Wine is very good. "Tut's revenge" or "mummy tummy" is quite prevalent. Better take along Lomitil or Imodium AD.

Tipping: Everyone expects a tip. Tip according to the service - 25-50 PT. Add 10% in restaurants to the included service charge. Agree on a price before getting into a taxi. That price includes the tip. OK to add more. Porters 25-50 PT bag. Plus everyone else...

Inoculations: None required but do check with your doctor for his recommendations.

Miscellaneious: Cairo has power failures. There will be candles in your room. Respect Muslim customs. Remove your shoes before entering a mosque. Bargain and be firm with street vendors. Be on guard for the overly friendly Egyptian who approaches you on the street. He will have something to sell. If you see a companion cornered, go over and take their arm, "We must get back to the group". Flying time from LAX-Cairo is 15 1/2 hrs... from JFK 10 1/2, from London 4 1/2, from Paris 3 1/2. Recommend arriving in late afternoon and going to bed.
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Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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