Subject: Re: Egypt travel this year
Hi Georgia,

I just returned from 10 days in Egypt & had an absolutely fabulous time. I got sick in Paris a week after I left Egypt & am still recuperating a bit. So I've been very slow to write to the Zine. I'm also trying to be fair to the Egyptian travel company we traveled with. There was a bit of a problem which I need to have resolved before I recommend them. But, yes, definitely, use a travel agency. My niece & I were on a hosted rather than an escorted tour. I found that fitted our needs really well. We arranged ahead of time to be met at the airport, transferred to our hotel which was included in the package, we had sightseeing with a private guide, transfers to Hurghada, Luxor, Nile cruise, sleeper train back to Cairo, more individual sightseeing, & transfers to the airport for our return. All went according to plan except a problem with the sleeper train which caused concern. That's what I'm waiting to hear about. But the two guides were fantastic, professional, knowledgeable, speak excellent English: one in Cairo & one who met us in Luxor, accompanied us on the cruise & conducted all our sightseeing, & also guided us through Aswan, & put us on the train back to Cairo. I can recommend them with no reservations! I will give you their names & email addresses. Guides in Egypt go thro the universities & must pass rigorous exams. They work independently & also with travel agencies on, I assume, a commission basis, because they are not salaried by the travel agencies. Either or both of these guides could recommend a travel agency to work with. Both were aware of the problem we had with our booking agency, Milano Travel. The Cairo guide is Dalia Abd El Aziz, email: dalia_admo@yahoo.com, mobile phone# 010-1850917. The guide based in Luxor who did all of Upper Egypt is Ayman Bakry & is a Nubian, very proud & knowledgeable about his heritage, email: abazed_1974@hotmail.com mobile phone: 20101055917.

Please ask any questions & I'll try to answer. I'm working on a travelogue & will send it to the list as soon as I'm done.

Carrie, I saw your question about ATM & yes, there are numerous ATMs. We never had a problem finding them. Also most places will take US $$ In fact, we were to pay our travel company in US$$ on arrival. I gathered they really want American $$ & are hurting for hard cash. The exchange rate is definitely in our favor. 6 Egyptian pounds to $1.00. Everything was exceedingly cheap.

Security was tight but not oppressive. And we felt safe everywhere, even on the overnight bus ride to Hurghada on which we were the only Americans & 2 women alone. I am 63 & my niece a bit younger so we were treated with respect & never, ever hassled.

Enough for now.

Carol Bailey back in snowy N. Idaho