Egypt: Part I

In preparation for our eight days in Egypt, we watched (overly-cheesy)National Geographic videos, downloaded travel apps, read wiki-travel posts and searched Thorntree and Trip Advisor travel forums for all applicable information. It was hard to know what to expect for a country with less rigid societal requirements than Iran, but more than Germany. Not to mention, a country that recently achieved a political revolution, with former leader on trial and a new government not yet elected.

Still, Egypt has the pyramids. And mummies. And desert. And more sunshine than this pathetic German summer gave us.

Pre-trip Predictions:
-Overwhelming heat, even in September
-High police presence
-Continuous noise, whether from horns, call to prayer or street vendors
-Delicious food
-Sites full of tourists
-Jaw-dropping ruins

Post-trip Results:
-Relentless heat and sweating, except between the hours of 4:30 and 6:30am
-Very few police anywhere, yet we never felt unsafe
-Constant noise in Cairo (horns) and regular (very audible) competing calls to prayer all around Luxor
-Delicious fresh fruit (mangoes, grapes and bananas) with a disappointing lack of prepared food, due to never being hungry (thanks to the heat)
-Most sites to ourselves between 6 and 7am, with lesser visited sites empty nearly all day
-Indescribable ruins, more impressive than I ever would have imagined

Surprises:
-Frustration at our lack of Arabic skills. I’d gotten used to speaking at least at a little of the local language when traveling
-The popularity/dependency of Egyptian businesses on Trip Advisor to get customers and the many resulting fake reviews that populate the site
-The complete ignorance of some of our fellow tourists with regard to clothing. Save the tiny skirts and booby tank tops for Vegas. Most of the rest of the world dresses more modestly.
-The effect short hair on a woman would have. Turns out I had no chance of blending in.

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