Have you been to Egypt?
We're taking a real family holiday in a few weeks - the first one that we have taken as an entire family in a very long time - and it is very special - Singapore then Cairo, then Frankfurt, then Zurich, then Paris, then Versailles, then Mont St Michel, then Neuschwanstein Castle.
Anyway, I'm hoping to prepare the kids for the experience that is Egypt - one is 16, one will be *just* 18. Cairo is going to be a place that is nothing like anything they have ever experienced before.
I have found some fantastic guides, the best of which seems to be the "Spiral Guide" to Egypt. The author obviously had an exquisite sense of honesty ... some quotes - and I swear, it really says this:
Taxis are much cheaper than in Europe, but rarely use their meters. Even if they do, the amount shown will probably bear little resemblance to the fare charged by the driver.
Beejous have been nicknamed "flying coffins" as they tend to be driven fast, and recklessly. Accidents are common, especially at night.
If you hit someone in the countryside, report it immediately at the nearest police station, and be aware that you may be attacked by angry villagers.
Egyptian car mechanics are often masters of invention and can usually fix a breakdown - if you run into trouble, people will often gladly help you push your car to the next garage or the side of the road.
Budget hotels are rarely air-conditioned, but some will have cooling fans. A few are real gems, old art-deco buildings with high ceilings, old-fashioned furniture and unreliable plumbing. The less said about others, the better.
So anyway, does anybody have advice for the trip to Egypt? What would *you* advise somebody who had never been to the country before? My most important concern is that the family as a whole respects the traditions and cultures of the country being visited, and that my (teenage) kids have a handle on what to expect when we get there, that they understand the 'what', the 'why' and the 'wherefore', and that they learn the traditional greetings and responses... and understand the importance of traditions such as baksheesh in a country where such 'tipping' is often the only source of income, but where it can also cause offence if offered inappropriately.
What do my gentle readers have to say, especially about baksheesh?