PICTURE OF THE DAY – UNUSUAL COMPANY

While having a glass of wine on the terrace of my hotel in Cairo, I had unexpected company!

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More from Egypt soon

tile bird-3                                  Brigitte

Posted in Cairo, Egypt, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

CAIRO’S TESTIMONY TO THE RECENT PAST

At the time of Egypt’s revolution on the 25th of January 2011 President          Hosni Mubarak’s Political Headquarters were torched, leaving to this day an empty, black ghost-like structure.

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It towers over the Nile and the Egyptian Museum close by – so close that when tourists enjoy a cup of coffee in the restaurant of the Museum the blackened, dark holes look down on them.IMG_1006

During my visit in February of this year, four years after the turmoil,  I was surprised to see it still standing telling  its sad and tragic story.IMG_5719-2

But a few days ago I read that the new government of Abdel Fattah el Sisi is thinking of tearing it down. But there is opposition by those who think it should stay as symbol of the revolution. No time of an eventual demolition was given. We just have to wait and see – for Cairo’s skyline and the visitors to the Museum I hope that it will not become a symbol of the past –  a past that Egyptians might like to forget!

More from Egypt soon

tile bird-3

 

Brigitte

 

Posted in Cairo, Egypt, Government | Tagged , , , , ,

EGYPT’S DAILY LIFE – SNEAKERS

SNEAKERS LIKE JEANS HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD  —— BUT NOT THE MOSQUES. THEY HAVE TO BE LEFT OUTSIDE LIKE ANY FOOTWEAR DID BEFORE THEM.

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….AND THESE SNEAKERS ARE WAITING FOR THEIR OWNERS  IN FRONT OF THE SULTAN HASSAN’S MOSQUE IN CAIRO.

ELECTRIC WIRES? NO THEY DON’T DISTURB THE SNEAKERS OR THEIR OWNERS!

More from Egypt soon

tile bird-3                             Brigitte

Posted in Cairo, Egypt, Islam, Muslims | Tagged , , , , ,

IRANIAN – EGYPTIAN CONNECTION

Our headlines are dominated these days by IRAN and other countries in the MIDDLE EAST – most of the news is about war, how to avoid it or accelerate it. But in one of Cairo’s Mosques, the Al-Rifa’i Mosque, built between 1869 AND 1912,

Al-Rifa'i Mosque

Al-Rifa’i Mosque in Cairo

we find testimony of touching human story —— the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi is buried here, right next to King Farouk, the  last King of Egypt.

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi

When in 1979, after the revolution the Shah had to leave Iran,  already a sick man suffering from gallstones,  he traveled from country to country seeking temporary residence and medical help. In October of 1979 President Jimmy Carter reluctantly allowed the Shah into the United States to undergo surgical treatment.

He left the United States in December of 1979. In the Shah’s memoir “Answer to History” he claimed that he never received any kind of health care while in the United Sates, but was asked to leave the country. He went to Panama, where his presence caused riots, and fearing extradition to Tehran he accepted Anwar El-Sadat’s offer for permanent asylum. He died in Egypt on July 27, 1980 age 60.

As the former brother-in-law of Kind Farouk – the Shah’s first marriage was to Princess Fawzia, King Farouk’s sister – Anwar El-Sadat Sadat gave him a state funeral.

Shah of Iran’ Tomb

When we were  standing in front of his tomb in the Al Rifa’i Mosque, very close to King Farouk’s tomb, my guide said:

“In  Egypt we have always regarded the Shah of Iran as part of our history.”

More from Egypt soon

tile bird-3

Brigitte

Posted in Cairo, Egypt | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

EGYPTIAN SOUVENIRS MADE IN EGYPT???

MADE IN CHINA

One of the joys of travelling is bringing home souvenirs. And when I went to Egypt for the first time I was looking forward to buying little pieces of Egypt and bringing them home. But when I stopped to look at replica of Tutankhamen, or anything else,  my guide would pull me aside and say, “Don’t buy that, it is made in China.”

I understood their frustration, but what was I to do?

MADE IN CHINA

The following article was just published in an Egyptian Newspaper. If implemented the end of “Made in China” might be in sight!

Egypt’s Trade and Industry Ministry has issued a ban on the import of all Egyptian souvenirs made abroad, announced Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour on Saturday.

The Ministry’s decision bans the import of souvenirs and products of “artistic and folkloric nature, as well as archaeological models” reported Al-Masry Al-Youm. According to the Ministry, the move aims to preserve Egypt’s artistic heritage and promote the purchase of locally made souvenirs and products.

Among the types of gifts and souvenirs which have been banned from import are objects made of wood, mosaics, metals, jewels, carpets, paintings, sculptures, objects made of marble, fake alabaster and more.

Visitors to Egypt often encounter souvenirs made in China, which are often of a lesser quality than Egyptian produced souvenirs. The influx of Chinese-made souvenirs had also impacted local businesses and contributed to unemployment, said the Minister.

The decision to ban the import of foreign made souvenirs comes as the tourism industry is slowly recovering. According to Egypt’s new Tourism Minister Khaled Ramy, the government hopes to raise $20 billion in revenue from tourism by 2020 by attracting 20 million visitors.

So in the future when souvenirs are “Made in Egypt” it might be a reason to go back and  get the real thing!

More from Egypt soon

tile bird-3

Brigitte

Posted in Egypt, HABIBTI YA MASR, Tourism | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

EGYPT’S DAILY LIFE – CROSSING THE NILE

 Staying on the East Bank in Luxor or the West Bank, there is always a reason to cross the river – the river Nile. If you are staying on the East Bank in Luxor and you want to visit the Valley of the Kings, or Medina Habu you have to cross the Nile, and if you are staying on the West Bank you must cross the river to visit Karnak, or Luxor Temple, or if you just have to go to the bank, or do some shopping in the Bazaar, or enjoy the sunset with a cocktail on the terrace of the Winter Palace Hotel, you have to cross the Nile.IMG_1832-2

And to do that there are several choices. The most interesting one,  putting you in contact with the daily life of Egyptians, is the public ferry (Baladi Ferry)  It cost one Egyptian Pound, about 20 cents, and takes 10 minutes to cross, leaving you close to Luxor Temple when coming from the West Bank. You won’t see too many tourists on this ferry, but you will see the locals coming and going about their life.IMG_6170-2

But if you are not interested in the local flavor, you can  go by motor launch. There is no specific dock where to catch one, but the owners of these boats pick  you up wherever they can find you. Price? This has to be agreed upon before you step into the boat, and varies from 20 – 60 Egyptian pounds depending where you want to be dropped off, or more if you want to go further up or down the river.IMG_6301-2

If there is no real dock, a blank is put down from the boat to the shore, and for safety the boat owner holds a long pole in one hand which he pushed against a stone or solid ground on the shoreline, and no worry, holding onto it you get on board safely.IMG_6357-2

….and if you ever want to come back to Egypt, as the saying goes, you must drink the water of the Nile. Now I don’t know about drinking? But submerging my hands in the cool, green water has always worked for me!

More from Egypt soon

  tile bird-3                                   Brigitte

 

PS: Click on picture to enlarge

 

Posted in Boats, Egypt, Luxor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

EGYPT POSTPONED VISA CHANGES

'VERY important to any one planning to come and visit Egypt.<br /><br /><br />
Please read</p><br /><br />
<p>With little noise, the visa requirements and regulations for tourists visiting Egypt from the US have changed. Starting May 15th, 2015, obtaining a tourist visa for Egypt will get harder for some nationalities, including Americans. The New York Egypt Mission has officially released a statement about what will change for US citizens to visit Egypt. Other nationalities may be affected. But fear not, Cairo<br /><br /><br />
Visitors from the US will have to apply for a tourist visa at an Egyptian consulate or mission abroad PRIOR to entering the country. For the application, some documents are required, such as a passport valid for at least six months after entry and two passport pictures. Starting May 15th 2015, there will be no visas issued to US Americans at the airport or borders without the Egyptian Diplomatic Mission’s full approval in advance.</p><br /><br />
<p>US tourist groups can still obtain visas at the airport, given they have been obtained through Egyptian Tourist Agencies prior to the group's arrival. These visas are only valid for the duration of the booked tour.</p><br /><br />
<p>Other nationalities will also be affected as visa regulations have changed. However, tourists visiting Nuweiba, Sharm El Sheikh and Taba resorts for touristic purposes are able to obtain a tourist visa for 15 days upon entering the country with no costs being applicable. Travel outside of these areas will require a full tourist visa.'

Agence France Presse

CAIRO: Egypt Thursday postponed a deadline to stop issuing on-arrival visas for lone travelers until the creation of an electronic visa system, after critics said the move could damage tourism.

Government officials said last month that starting from May 15 on-arrival visas would be granted only to groups traveling with tour operators.

Lone travelers would be required to apply for visas at Egyptian consulates, in a move aimed at bolstering border security.

But the deadline has been “postponed” until an electronic visa system is in place, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The purpose of this measure is to organize the process of foreigners entering the country within a framework that respects national sovereignty, considers national security, and at the same time does not affect tourism,” the ministry said.

It gave no timeline for when the electronic visa system might be in place.

Egypt is trying to woo back tourists after almost four years of unrest hit the once-thriving industry and as it battles militants who have killed scores of security personnel.

About 10 million tourists visited in 2014, down sharply from a 2010 figure of almost 15 million people drawn to the country’s archaeological sites and Red Sea resorts.

More from Egypt soon

tile bird-3

Brigitte

Posted in Cairo, Egypt, Tourism, Travel | Tagged , , | 1 Comment
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