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Contact Solution, Tampons?

 
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vashdown2



Joined: 14 Feb 2007
Posts: 124
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 11:33 am    Post subject: Contact Solution, Tampons? Reply with quote

Sorry to be so blunt... but are there some things that are either very expensive, or hard to find in Al Minya (Minia), Egypt?
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to check a map to see where Al Minia is, so that should make answering this question easier. Even in Cairo, finding reasonably priced contact solution is not easy. I would take several bottles (or better yet: get Lasik before you go or in Cairo, because the air in Egypt plagues most contact lens wearers!) and then get some in Cairo when you make trips up there during the year. As for tampons, if you're picky about the type of applicator, then take a supply of your own. I recall finding platex cardboard applicators (not a fan, myself) and some Russian brands, that were ok, though not as good of quality. I don't know how remote Al Minya is, but 'insertable' items are not likely to be sold at your local pharmacy, and even harder to find outsite of the cities. Tampons tend to be preferred by foreigners over Egyptians (my own personal opinion here) so you'll find them in the parts of the large cities where foreigners live.

Aside from those items: if you have a pair of jeans or a shirt that you absolutely love? Take two or three of them w/ you. Good underwear and bras were hard to come by in Egypt, and they take a beating in the washing machine, w/ the harsh powders and hot sun to dry in. Hope that's useful!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would just add that, in general, you will have trouble finding many imported items in Minya. I am assuming that by Al Minia, you mean the Minya/Assuit area. There will be very few non-Egyptians around... not that long ago we were not allowed to travel there. I'm not sure how the situation is there nowadays. I heard that some tourist groups have been allowed in to nearby sites like Amarna. It has traditionally been the area of Egypt with the most problems.

VS
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vashdown2



Joined: 14 Feb 2007
Posts: 124
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you VS and Stoth for your comments.

VS- have you actually been to Minia before? If fo, what is it like? I have read that there were some problems up until the 1990's there- do you think it is safe for a Western woman?

Stoth- thanks for the tips on what to buy. Its good to plan essential things like this
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whole time I was in Egypt, we were not allowed to go there. A friend of mine worked in Assuit for some years in education related work, but he spoke fluent Arabic and was an old Middle East hand. Things have improved, but there are still regular flare-ups between the Muslim and Christian communities. I have never heard of expats being targeted, but then there are few... and one can be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

To be honest, I wouldn't head to that part of Egypt unless I knew people already there, and was sure of the situation that I was getting into.

VS
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vashdown2



Joined: 14 Feb 2007
Posts: 124
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I have read that Minia has the largest Christian community in Egypt, and high unemployment.

Thank you for your comments, and concern.
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of friends of mine decided to go down to stay in Assiut in the 90s.

On arriving at the station they were escorted to the police station where they were assured there was no problem, and they were given an escort of six armed policeman to show them around the various hotels.

Each time they arrived at an hotel they saw pure horror overcome the faces of the receptionist as they thought of the consequences to them and their families if they were foolish enough to take these infidels under their roofs. After being told in half-a-dozen establishments that there was no room, they ignored the statement of the police officer that everything was peaceful, and spent the night at the police station before picking up the train out of town the next day.
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vashdown2



Joined: 14 Feb 2007
Posts: 124
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really?


So does this mean that Cairo, Alex, and the resort towns are the only safe places in Egypt for Americans?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This story is from the 90's, and it was truly unsafe there at that time. Now, hopefully things are better, but you may not find the warm welcome that expats get in other parts of Egypt. The area traditionally known as Middle Egypt is probably the least desirable area of Egypt for expats. Upper and Lower Egypt are both fine.

As I said, know what you are getting into... you have not mentioned why you are heading there. It is not a place that I would suggest that a woman take a teaching job unless she knew other people there. A support group is more important in some places than others.

VS
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vashdown2



Joined: 14 Feb 2007
Posts: 124
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I hadn't mentioned it as it isn't really related to ESL. I would be working at a development NGO...going marketing/fundraising. Its a volunteer position...a way for me to get my feet wet in internaitonal development.. but not sure if this position in Minia is the best. That said, its not easy at all to find meaningful volunteer work that doesn't have a price tag on it these days!

My other option which I have been exploring posts, is finding a position in the int'l schools.
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After consulting my resident Egyptian, he seemed to think that you'd would be quite safe in the area. Though we disagree on this point: he says you should be able to find 'all that you want" in mainstream pharmacies in the area ("Sayf/Seif" and "Azabi" as opposed to your 'round the corner' pharmacies), though having worn contacts and sought out tampons in Egypt, finding what you want was not always easy. Your local pharmacy may carry a saline solution ($$), but the soaking solutions (like Alcon) were harder to come by and really expensive compared to other products and/or the prices in N. America. I stand by my statement: good tampons (by my definition) are hard to find in all of Egypt.
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vashdown2



Joined: 14 Feb 2007
Posts: 124
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks alot Sloth for asking your friend. I am headed to Al Minia next week... the bag is being packed already with lots of "extras"
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep us posted, Vashdown2!!! I'm excited for you!
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