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Now that the Egypt part of my journey is over I’ve been thinking about how good it was and what I learnt. This is the biggest culture shock place I’ve visited, which even though I knew this in advance it still opened my eyes a little to the wider world (which is great). Egypt is definitely worth the visit.
My personal highlights included:
– Giza Pyramids
– Sleeping under the stars on the Nile
– Swimming in the Nile (yes lucky I didn’t get sick)
– Going wild on an all-terrain vehicle in the middle of the desert
– Visiting the Luxor Temple at night (magnificent with the lights on)
– Camel and donkey riding (yes there are pictures – I might share them)
– The Citadel Mosque (Mohamed Ali Mosque)
– Swimming – snorkelling in the Red Sea
– Hiking Mt Sinai (in Moses steps) at 1 am in the morning to see a sunrise – difficult but well worth it.
While I enjoyed the experience, there were definitely parts that are hard to take, for example the consistent pushy attention from touts – vendors who saw me as the ’Aussie Teller Machine (ATM). I got caught out at the start but I eventually found that by doing things that would get you in a fight in Australia (ie. being rude) would get me safely away from vendors most of the time.
Luckily I had a fantastic group and we looked after each other most of the time. It was hard however to get used to the consistent police-military checks in what is effectively a dictatorship. Also surprising is how these officials openly request money so you could break the rules i.e. touch displays in museums, photograph in banned places etc. When armed officials ask you for money it’s difficult to say no. On my second last day in Egypt I was looking out at Cairo from the Citadel and because of the smog I could barely see the city, it was so bad my eyes were starting to burn. At that point I knew my great adventure had come to an end and it was time to leave.
In summary I really loved Egypt despite the downsides. I’d recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been to go, it ´s a real eye opener and there is heaps of fun to be had, but you really need a guide to get around the military restrictions. Plus I didn’t get sick so very happy!!!