Thursday, April 21, 2016
Why Not? More Importantly Why Go to Egypt?
When I was a kid, one of my dreams was to go to Egypt and see the pyramids. Millions of people have had that dream. Millions of people have lived that dream. But, times change, governments change, people change, and dreams follow suit. I changed my dreams about going to Egypt at one point, because of a lot of things. But, not because I was no longer interested. There are so many things to see and do in Egypt that I couldn't possibly talk about all of them here. So, instead of that, I've decided to hit a topic head on.
Tahrir Square is at the heart of Cairo. It's one of those dreaded traffic circle areas that I personally hate. It's been the center of so many things in history, that it's hard to list them all. At one point there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken joint not far from there.
Unfortunately, in 2011 this square became the center of attention for all media in the world as Egypt had a revolution. Now, anyone will tell you that a little revolution now and then is a good thing, but that attitude dries up fast when it really happens. It's over now, but people still remember. People drive through there every day again, but it sticks in people's minds. Then you have a Russian plane crash and it gets worse. Soon, nobody wants to come and see your pyramids because they are afraid that something will happen to them. It's the way these days. At the least little thing, people run away. They're wussies.
Egyptian people suffer from this. In a country that depends on tourism for so much of its income, this type of event can be catastrophic. In some parts of Egypt, tourism revenues have been down as much as %95. That's terrible. But this is why you should come and visit.
The pyramids are still at Giza. They've been there for thousands of years, and a little revolution won't get rid of them if WWII didn't. The great part about coming now is all the personal attention you get. You can get a great guide easy these days. The crowds aren't there either. You can roam around the place unannoyed. There won't be people clogging up your iconic pictures. It's time to take advantage of this.
Valley of the Kings, Saqqara, Luxor. They're all still there, and they are all virtually free of tourists. This is one of those times to strike while it's hot. It's almost summer, and the weather will soon be a little unfriendly itself. Now is the time to go. I know it sounds crazy to go to one of those middle eastern hot spots, but it's not. As long as you don't do anything stupid, you'll be fine. Just don't offend the Egyptians. Follow their customs and be polite. They love tourists. They make a lot of money off of tourism, and they have been hurting for a while. Bring your money to spend and you will be well taken care of.
Resort hotels are still there. Nile River Cruises are still there. The cruises are closing down all over the place which means that it's just another reason to go. What if no one came, and all the river cruises close down? What if no one could ever book a Nile River Cruise again? They need your business. Go and do. It's a beautiful country with beautiful people and exotic locations. It's Egypt. This place looks like another world. You don't want to miss out on that because of a little revolution and a plane crash.
Don't give up your dreams of seeing pyramids because of some bad luck on the part of the Egyptian people. Take the chance to see an amazing place and meet amazing people. Sure, check the State Department site for potential problems, but do that wherever you go. Be practical. Check your facts before you go. Check the Egyptian tourism site to make sure you know how to behave. Take your shoes off in a mosque. Don't dress outrageously. Don't expect everyone to speak English. Learn the rules, but still go and have a great time. Don't risk missing a once in a lifetime experience that you've dreamed of since you were a little kid. Just go. Go and have an amazing time in an amazing place full of amazing people. Forget the revolution. Go and see the pyramids. Go and help the economy of a great country. Go and see Egypt before the crowds come back. You'll be glad that you led the way. Enjoy!