Transportation & Authority
There’s a lot to see and do around Cairo if you’re prepared to take the plunge, but always follow your guides advice. A good guide will give you safety advice on the day depending on the activity occurring in the area.
Here’s a list to take into consideration when travelling.
Check the Bottled Water hasn’t been tampered with or re-filled (no different to when travelling in India). Look for carbonated over still water as this is harder to fake on the refill.
Look for sealed cans of carbonated drinks, and have an antiseptic wipe handy to wipe the cans and bottles.
Look for cooked food, and careful with the salad as this may be washed in local water, which if you’re not climatised to it you will be ill!
I didn’t follow the advice, made a mistake and returned home with a five week souvenir… I don’t want to hear Johnny Cash’s “Burning Ring of Fire ever again!”.
Giza security and Police are corrupt, do no handover camera’s or goods, it will cost you more to get them back.
If someone walks up to you with a T-Shirt or souvenir and tries to put it in your hand, your natural reaction is to take it. There’s no such thing as a free gift, so simply let the item fall to the floor, or be prepared to pay cash for the item.
Haggle! Barter! and talk money and cost, but never take the first price! You may feel awkward and if you’ve seen “The Life of Brian” you know how it works 🙂
Don’t let yourself get separated from the crowd, go with your instincts, if something seems too good to be true (then it is), if it doesn’t feel safe, head back to your guide, follow their advice, they know what is happening on the ground.
Beggars. You will be inundated with them, looking for cash or sell you papyrus paper of various quality. Learn to say no very quickly otherwise you will be inundated with them. It is common for beggars to use small children from the age of 2. Whilst there is poverty in the region, it is also very highly organised.
Taxi’s and Coaches, no matter how you try, your driver will always make a “Pit Stop” at his “Cousins Place” This is an opportunity to bring to drive customers to a selected shop for souvenirs and keep sakes. It will happen, however you can usually find a good bargain, so think about your purchases but don’t be press ganged into buying their “Gold”.
Within the shop everyone has a “Personal Shopper” it’s very frustrating as you are unable to view the goods without your assigned shadow performing the hard sell, the slightest interest in an item they will be there with the patter. Don’t be afraid to haggle and barter your way if you do decide to buy!