Seeing the Pyramids has been on my bucket list for over a decade, as I was fascinated by how the pyramid was built 4600 years ago. After being here and hearing the many different theories on how it was built over a period of 85 years, I am still fascinated! So glad to be able to check this off my bucket list now!
The minimum wage here is $100 a month, so perhaps that’s why in most public places, the locals try very aggressively to sell memorabilia; even after we told them repeatedly that we are not interested, they would still follow us and continue pushing their goods or “help”. I thought my experience in China over a decade ago was bad when it comes to street shopping but it’s nothing compared to what I experienced here! Glad Andrew was with me to deal with the many dishonest sellers and horse carriage drivers! In 3 days we bumped into 3 hustlers who attempted to switch our bills and pretend that we still owed them more money.
When visiting tourist sites, the most popular line we hear from the locals is “Are you happy?” If we say yes then they will say “then you make me happy please” which means giving them money. It feels like they all got training from the same place!
Before the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, Egypt had 15M tourists a year but for the next 7 years that fell to only 1 to 1.5 million a year, which obviously hurt the tourism industry very much. I asked my tour guide how he survived those 7 years since he went from doing 15-20 tours a year to only 1 or 2 tour(s) a year. He says his family was forced to sell his wife’s jewelry and any other assets the family owns. Luckily tourism has started to pick up again since Fall 2018.
We quite enjoyed visiting Hurghada, a beach resort town stretching some 40 km along Egypt’s Red Sea coast. It’s renowned for scuba diving, with numerous dive shops and schools in its modern Sekalla district. There also are many restaurants, bars and nightclubs, while the old town, El Dahar, is home to traditional Egyptian coffee shops and souks. Hurghada’s long stretch of sandy beach is lined with resort hotels.
After 9 days, we are leaving Egypt to Israel, after seeing the pyramids, 6 temples in 4 cities, local traditional villages, snorkelling to explore the coral reef in the Red Sea and much more! But the highlight of Egypt was a hot air balloon flight over Luxor — what an amazing experience!
However, it was very sad to see the temples robbed or destroyed and paintings or sculptures defaced by adherents of different religions over the years.
Another item off my bucket list now!