Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Update - Current Life in Egypt and Side Projects

I wrote this blog in 2013 when I was traveling to Egypt and I thought it deserved an update.

First, I am now living in Egypt.  I live just outside of Cairo, and I teach at a boarding school there.  I am a teacher of English and I really enjoy living here. 

I don't know how long I will live here.  Probably a few months more.

I also have been working on some of my own side projects.

I fund much of my work through my Etsy store.  The link is www.bohobuttons.com

I also have been very busy with a website that is about social media addiction:  It's called www.fbdetox.com, or Facebook Detox.  Please check it out.  I am trying to spread the word.  It already has over half a million views and is growing rapidly.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed my stories of our travels to Egypt.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Follow Us Around the World

Follow our current travels at our new blog:  The Quiet Voyage

Follow us on Instagram:  The Quiet Voyage Instagram

*** Support Us ***

Our Etsy Store:  http://www.bohobuttons.com

On Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/bohemianinspirations

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

38 Days in Egypt - Travel Egypt - Egyptian Travel Blog - Visiting Egypt on a Budget - Egypt off the Beaten Path - Cairo Dahab Luxor Siwa Alexandria Red Sea Sinai Peninsula

A video of our experience in Egypt. 

Welcome to 38 Days in Egypt: A Travelogue

My wife and I created this blog to create a travelogue of our visit in Egypt.  We wanted to have a way to remember the journey and share it with others who were interested in what Egypt is like.

We also built this site to show that, although Egypt is seen to many as a dangerous place to visit, that tourists have little to worry about when visiting Egypt.  Overall, for tourists, the country is quite safe.  The military and police to go extraordinary lengths to make sure that tourists are out of harms way.  There are huge penalties in place for assaulting a tourist and locals are very warm and caring for those.  While there is a great amount of hassle to tourists in Egypt, salespeople will generally help you out in the end, even if you do not purchase items from them.  As far as countries that I have visited, both of us would say that the people of Egypt have been some of the most friendly in the world.

Lastly, I created this website to help others who are visiting Egypt.  While there are a lot of good guidebooks available.  We used the The Rough Guide to Egypt and found that it was very helpful.  With that being said, sometimes guides do not have enough space to tell everything, and I wanted to answer some of the questions and show some of the places that the guide books do not have room to go into in great detail.  I would recommend this book, however, if you are planning on visiting Egypt. 

As students, we did not go to Egypt with a large budget.  One reason we visited Egypt was due to the low cost of traveling at the current time.  Egypt is considered a bargain right now, and flight prices from the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world are at an all time low.  Also, the Egyptian Pound (LE or EGP) is at a very favorable exchange rate at the moment.  With that being said, Egypt can still be a very expensive country to visit.  There are touts and unforeseen expenses here, just as there is anywhere.  As this blog was geared towards the budget traveler, I have taken the time to review hotels and hostels in various cities that cost around $10 a night and under. 

This blog is still a work in progress, and I have a lot to add in the coming weeks.  Thank you for reading. 

Here are some recent updates to this blog.  This post will stay on top for the time being so that readers can see what has been updated.

1.  Video of The Catacombs in Alexandria: July 3, 2013
2.  Video of the Blue Hole: July 3, 2013
3.  Map of our Travels: July 3, 2013
4.  Review of Sindbad Camp in Dahab: July 7, 2013

Interested in seeing where we are traveling now? Check out "Travels with Sephie."

Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30th Protests in Cairo and Last Day in Egypt


Last night's protest was quite lively, to say the least.  We are on the side opposite of the building to the right of this picture, so as you can imagine, we can hear a lot of what is going on.  Throughout the evening, we could see at least one helicopter flying overhead, while below thousands marched along the streets.  We posted a video as well as some pictures of when we went out for dinner.

The video has gained quite a few views since being posted, and has gotten the attention of a news outfit in London, who has asked if they could use it.  I am not sure if they will, but we did grant them permission.

Later in the night, we heard fireworks and other loud banging sounds, which we suspect may have been gunfire.  Other noises included chanting and horns.  People rode scooters with the Egyptian flag on the streets below our 7th floor hostel room.  In alleyways, people gathered for tea and sheesha, in between protesting.  Then, around midnight, everything suddenly went quiet.  There were no sounds at all.  It was strange.

Upon awakening, there is little noise at all outside.  In fact, it sounds just the same as when we arrived in Cairo, over a month ago.  A big part of me is sad to leave -- as we leave tonight.  I have really enjoyed my time here, and at times I forgot I was just a traveler here.  I have gotten very used to Egypt, and that's one reason I enjoy taking such long trips -- I begin to feel as a local and feel at home in these places.  The longer I stay somewhere, the harder it is to leave.  I wonder when I will be back in Egypt.  It could be many years, or it could be never.  Perhaps that is what makes it hard to leave as well.

Tonight we will be going to the Cairo Airport and flying to Amsterdam before heading to New York.  It has been a great trip.  There will be more blog posts coming, including The Temple of Luxor, the Train from Luxor to Cairo, the Khan al-Khalili Market, more hotel and hostel reviews, and a few others.  This blog will also become an information source for those who are looking to travel to Egypt in the future.

Thank you for reading.

Egypt Revolution March to Tahrir Square, June 30, 2013



Pictures of the March



Anti-Obama banner


Revolution Day

We are currently three blocks away from Tahrir Square, but have only been by there via taxi last night.  We can hear what is going on from our room, which faces in that direction.

For those who are interested, there is a site here that is running live coverage of the protests:

http://newsblogged.com/live-streaming-video-protests-cairo-egypt-tahrir-square

I will post more on this in the future.

Live Streaming of Tahrir Square Protests in Cairo Egypt
Watch live streaming video from ontveglive at livestream.com

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Luxor Bazaar - Egypt Shopping - Egyptian Bazaars - Prices in Luxor - Luxor Guide - What to do in Luxor Egypt

While in Luxor, we went to the market at least a couple of times. I thought therefore, that it was appropriate to have an entire post devoted to the market itself.

The Luxor Bazaar is located near the Luxor Temple in the central area of the city.  The market is much smaller than the market in Cairo, but it is still a decent size, with many shops inside.  However, I found that the vendors here are more ruthless about getting you into their shops than in Khan al-Khalili market in Cairo.  Also, I should note that the prices here are also much higher.

Outside of the market is a small falafel stand where you can buy cheap sandwiches for 2 LE each.  This is a good idea if you are hungry.  They sell falafel, fuul (sometimes spelled "foul" but pronounced as fool), mashed potatoes, and eggplant.  All of these are vegetarian.

Vendors in the Luxor Bazaar

Shawl and Scarf Vendor:  While in the market we stopped at a scarf and shawl vendor, who sold us a couple of shawls.  An intricate and very pretty shawl cost us 25 LE, originally quoted at 35 LE.  Some were quoted at 45 LE.  This all depends on the quality, and there are many to choose from.  We went back later on and purchased 3 more for 60 LE total.  One was quoted at 15, and the others were similar to the first one we purchased at 25 LE the day before.




Spice Vendor:  Why we stopped at a spice vendor inside of the tourist market instead of stopping at one where the locals shop is a question that I later asked myself.  This guy was quite a character though, and was very pushy with selling us spices.  He really wanted us to buy coriander and cumin, both of which we have ample supply of home.  He also wanted us to buy Saffron, which is really Safflower in Egypt.  He said that the ground saffron (which looked and smelled like Tumeric) was from Iran (implying that it was better than wherever we get ours).  We told him over and over we didn't want it, but he packaged it up and began to weigh it for us.  We were firm and did not purchase it.  We did, however, purchase some mango tea, for 10 LE for about an ounce.

The spice man said that all spices were sold by the gram, and that the mango tea was 50 Piastres per gram.  We doubted this, and he filled a small bag and tried to sell it to us for 35 LE.  We said no and he said "fine, 20."  We said "no" and he filled it with more tea.  We said "10" and he said, "fine, 10" but started emptying the tea back into the container.  We acted like we were going to walk away due to this tactic, but he stopped emptying it really quickly and we purchased the small bag for 10 LE.  We were probably ripped off here.  Lesson: don't buy spices in a tourist market when the locals buy them for much cheaper outside in non-tourist markets.

Egyptian textile pattern
Textile Thief:  This was where we were ripped off the worst.  We wanted to purchase an Egyptian/Arabian style textile fabric.  It has colorful designs on it.  Anyway, we were immediately quoted 380 LE for four meters.  This comes out to be around $50.  We told him "no" and that we were thinking closer to 20 LE per meter.  He said "are you JOKING?" in a tone which made him seem offended.  We said "no, in the US, we buy thicker and more intricate fabric than this for around the same price."  As we drank the tea he gave us, we haggled further.  He went down to 280 and then to 200, but we still did not budge.  Eventually, we said 30 LE a meter, which was still too high (we should have never went near that number).  As we finished our tea and were about to leave, he went down to 30 for 3 meters.  At this point, Beverly did not want to buy it and said "let's just go."  But, I had agreed on 30 and was compelled to stick with the offer I made, as is the custom here.  We purchased this fabric for 90 LE total (close to $14) and left.  We later found similar fabric in Cairo for 8.5 LE a meter without haggling.


Egyptian-style Shirt (Kurti) Salesman:  Beverly was interested in buying a shirt with silk designs on the outside, and the shopkeeper quoted us, before entering the shop, 10 pounds (not sure if he meant Egyptian or British).  This got Beverly into the store.  She found a burgundy shirt that she liked with silk embroidery near the neck and she asked if it was 10 LE.  He said, "no, this one is 690 LE."  That's over $100 for a shirt that was, honestly, worth only a few dollars.  We were stunned.  After haggling for a while, we got the price down to $4 US dollars and 10 LE.  We still think we were overcharged.  The idea of paying $100 for such a thing was more than ludicrous.

Conclusion:  The Luxor market is a fun place to visit, but be prepared to haggle hardcore.  You will probably be overcharged and you will literally be pulled into shops.  I found that prices here are originally quoted much higher than in Cairo, and you will still probably pay more after haggling.  In a future post, I will talk about the Khan al-Khalili market in Cairo and the prices for goods that we paid there.

Also, there are many characters in the market.  One man yelled "buy one get one freeeeee!!!" as we were leaving.  Others will say "everyone inside 1 pound."  This is clearly not true, and I try to stay away from places that make such claims.  In fact, I found myself often going into the stores where we were not pulled into.  I know better than to go into a store where one tries to physically get you to go in.  Sometimes you are blocked from leaving stores until you buy or say "no" a few hundred times.  When shopping you can not take it too seriously, as it can really bother some people after a while.  I have heard stories of people crying because it is all too much.  The best advice is to be prepared and realize that these people make a living off of what they do, and many probably don't make that much money as some do not own the shops themselves, but merely help run them.

As of the time of this writing, the exchange rate is between 6.5 to 7 LE to the dollar, although vendors will quote you 7.5 LE to the dollar.