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Rough Guide

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A Rough Guide To Egyptian Holidays

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Usefull Phrases

EnglishEgyptian Arabic (Phonetic)
Peace be with you
(a common greeting)
Salam alekum
And upon you be peace
(a reply to the above)
Wa alekum es salam
alekum salam
Yes Ayawa
No La
Out of my Face! (Allegedly highly impolite) Imshee
Thankyou Shokran
OK / I Understand mesh
0 sifr
1 wahid
2 itnayn
3 telaeta
4 arb'a
5 khamsa
6 setta
7 sab'a
8 tamanya
9 tesa

Avoiding Bad Guts

Yoghurt. Everyone (and I have yet to meet an exception to this rule) gets bad guts (or severe diohreahha if you prefer) shortly after they first arrive in Egypt. It never seems to happen again on subsequent visits mind you :-). You can prepare yourself in advance by making sure you eat some live yoghurt every day for a couple of weeks before visiting. Apparently this helps improve your stomach’s fauna count which helps prevent upset stomachs.

Whilst you are there the best advise I was ever given was to carry some of that gel based antiseptic hand wash (smells like Gin) and be very careful to wash your hands after every time you handle the money. Egyptian 1 pound (LE) notes are brown, I suspect they are white when new. Once you see one you will know what I mean!

Surviving The Airport

Do not expect an organised airport, you and the other 330 odd people from your flight will be dropped by the bus at the arrivals hall along with all the other plane loads of English, Italian and Russian holiday-makers that have arrived (and this always seems to happen) at exactly the same time. The arrivals hall is very big but is not organised, its just a huge square hall (about 50m by 50m) relative to the doors you enter by the opposite wall (which you cannot see due to the 2000 other confused tourists) houses the place where you need to be in order to by your visa. Once you have negotiated the press of bodies and got the visa stamps then you can pick a random "queue" and prepare for the hours long wait to get past immigration (which was the row of 6 or so booths that formed the right hand side of the (which you could not see due to the people) This will be a long wait; there have been times when you can hear the sound of the immigration stamp being used (thunk-thunk) followed by a long pause then (thunk-thunk) it resumes in the next booth - I swear that day all the immigration officers were sharing the same stamp!

Eating Out

I can only speak for Sharm and Dahab with any authority here, but in both these towns every restaurant seems fine to eat in. If you are at all unsure use the simple metric of go somewhere popular; they may not have better food hygiene but they will have a faster turnover, so what’s there has less time to go off! The real pearl of wisdom is to to with Egyptian waiters. These fellows seem to universally scorn the use of a order book, and remember your order rather than writing it down. In practice this seem to mean that if you eat in a party of more than 6 people at least one persons meal will fail to arrive and have to be re-ordered.