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travelling in egypt

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Joined: 13 Oct 2007
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:06 am    Post subject: travelling in egypt Reply with quote

do you think egypt is a safe place to travel to? What do you think about a young women (20's) travelling there alone?
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Joined: 11 Jan 2008
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah - it's the wrong forum - but to answer your q - I was there in 2006 for a few days in Cairo - also hired a taxi to go visit the oldest pyramid (called the grandfather of all of them, forgot the name tho) - Egypt is incredibly safe - I had the same qs you do - I'd heard single women weren't even allowed off the plane!!

I met lots of foreigners there also - even in the short time I was there - they were all raving about living there or traveling - I think mostly the western media gives Egypt a bad rap - it's incredibly poor due to this manaical despot who's in control of the govt and the results are very bad economically for the people - and yes, there's been some extremist acts against foreigners but overall I think it's a pretty safe place to be. I've traveled in the ME and find it to be a lot safer than many would have you believe.

so go and have a great time - the pyramids are suffering terribly from the acidic air pollution in Cairo and the deterioration is visible - even the smog reaches out to Giza where the most famous ones are (with the Sphinx) - what with the world the way it is now who knows if they really will be around forever.

not only that - but there are still thousands of tourists coming there constantly - again - western media downplays the ME in general - but it's still a wonderful, not to be missed place to visit.
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Joined: 06 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is just my personal take: The OP asked about YOUNG WOMEN'S safety, and that is probably not totally assured.

I was in Egypt a long time ago but I doubt it has gotten that much better than it was then; young women are possibly prey for many Egyptian males desperate to get their pre-marriage initiation.

In Aswan a sex maniac asked me point-blank for my hotel room number - upon hearing that my 'wife' was staying there alone. It wasn't the only display of macho bravado on my trip through Egypt; apparently tourist places have spoilt Egyptian men with an unending supply of willing, available foreign women.

Of course, Egypt is not any less 'safe' for western females than most other Arab or Muslim states are - but then again, these countries in general are less than perfectly safe for everyone, especially for women.

Nevertheless, I would praise Arab hospitality above any other people's.
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Joined: 23 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:21 am    Post subject: Except Reply with quote

Except if they want to do something that is against the norm. I am an over 50 years old female, a smoker, and last year I visited my sister in Cairo got Christmas.

I had shopped at several of the local markets/corner stores with the family - but one night I went out alone (around 9ish) to buy some cigarettes) at the corner store. I asked for a pack of cigarettes. The helpful clerk, asked me if I wanted local or foreign - I said, I did not care.

No problem, right. Except he asked the owner/manager (a super friendly guy on other occasions) about the selection. Owner/manager looks at me, an unaccompanied female, and states that there are no cigarettes available. Even though I am looking at rows of packages of cigarettes and ask them if they are not for sale. Yup, no sale!

I walk down to another store - they do not sell cigarettes - but the young male clerks look at me and suggest I go back to where I was refused. I explain that they do not seem to sell to single females (no matter their age; it is very dark out by the way).

After a bit of discussion with the 8 male co-workers, a young male clerk (late teens, early 20s) walks me 5 blocks to a corner kiosk and asks for the cigarettes for me - no charge for this service - just sorry it happened.

Yeah, I was thankful and sorry too that this prejudice came up. Women, in Egypt, don't smoke - just like in Korea - they just hide and lie. And I didn't I have the age factor going for me, just the gender factor). Made me re-think about applying for a job there next year.

Sorry, just a rant as you struck a cord. If this can happen over selling cigarettes to a foreigner, women over 50, then yes I have to say, that travelling alone as a female can be more difficult than a man, and can be problematic in Egypt.

I met a lot of wonderful people in Egypt but I am not sure about freedom 24/7 for women like at home.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 654
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've met young women (in their 20s) who came here to travel and taught to earn money during their stay. It's possible and it does happen.

However, I cannot say this without adding that it won't be EASY. Egypt is hard on women, and it's particularly hard on western women. Not to be offensive, but critical thinking skills aren't taught in the State's education system and, because of that, we "western women" are viewed just one step above the stereotypical Russian women who come just for S*X in Sharm and Hurgada because, well, that's what they've either seen on television or that's what someone told them. Walking down the street alone, not accompanied by a male, preferably an Egyptian male, increases one's chances (at ANY age) of unending, offensive comments from the locals.

Also, overcharging foreigners is an art form in Egypt. They assume we're all tourists and will charge whatever they believe they can get, even though there's public service announcements on television telling people not to do it. As a result, I never have a problem getting a taxi to pull over for me. The problem is the fight we have at the end of the ride where they invariably point to me and shout, nodding their heads to justify their hijacked price, "American!" The Pyramids? I'm married to an Egyptian, which entitles me to "Egyptian prices," including the 2 pounds to get into the Pyramids. The POLICE MAN took one look at me and refused to let "the American" in for anything less than 70 pounds.

No, it's not easy.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2004
Posts: 654
Location: Egypt, baby!

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Except Reply with quote

VictorVictoria wrote:

I met a lot of wonderful people in Egypt but I am not sure about freedom 24/7 for women like at home.

The freedom is definately here, you just have to take it because it won't hand itself over.

I wouldn't let that experience alone put you off. Do it, and do it knowing you, unlike Egyptian women, have the choice to leave if you choose.
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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17566
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the smoking story bizarre. I lived in Cairo for many years and have visited numerous times. I was offered cigarettes every day by taxi drivers and clerks in stores - all men, of course... and I don't smoke. Most of the other Western female teachers smoked and in all my years, I have never heard of such a story as yours. This was obviously one individual and certainly not any kind of representative - the world has never been short of bigots and sexists. Laughing

To the OP... as a young woman - actually just a Western female - you have to use your common sense. Just as in any new culture, be very wary of male attention. They will assume that you are sexually available - because they have seen the movies and TV shows and heard all the rumors. On the other hand, they know what "no" means and if any male pushes the envelope, MAKE A SCENE. You will find that a damsel in distress is quickly rescued. And they will often beat the crap out of the fellow that makes improper advances. If any male employee of the hotel must enter your room, make sure that the door stays open. Don't head off into the desert with some fellow that has been charming thus far.

Walking down a street can be reminiscent of passing a large construction site in the US (more in the past than nowadays) when you got all the catcalls and whistles and kissy noises. Just ignore them... soon it fades into the horns and traffic noises. Dealing with the constant overcharging is also a learned skill. The key is to always know the prices - and just accept that tourists pay more... try to keep it from being highway robbery.

Safety for female travelers is never assured. But the reality is that as far as being attacked, raped or murdered, our danger is much higher in our own countries. But, there we usually know where not to go. Young travelers just need to be cautious in Egypt and not do something stupid to put yourself at risk. There is a lot more hassle and aggravation than there is danger. Cool

(As to attacks by extremists... nowhere is safe anymore...)
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