|Without a license to drill|
|Re: It is illegal to export anything over 100 years old without a license -- Rosanna||Post Reply||Edit||Forum||Where am I?|
Cruising by car on your own allows you to see all the hidden gems tour-operators do not care for - the Valley of Queens (actually everything in the Luxor area), the Red pyramid, the Knick pyramid, Siwa (Alexander), the Southern oasises Dakhla and Kharga, Abu Simbel, Kitchener's Island, Alexandria's library, al-Fustat, Khalili-market and the many smaller ones on other towns, the secret Red Sea diving spots, the Fayoum, the Nile Delta and last but not least the incredible nightlife of Cairo can only be explored on your own - not organized in a group!!
Four weeks is a decent time to get around - six weeks is close to perfect, if time allows.
The security situation, as I was told by those who recently returned, is rather stabil and widely exaggarated, especially in the US media (what to expect?). The artificial fear that was and still is spread has a "good side", though. Since tourism decreased dramatically the past years, prices followed likewise. Those interested in an organized tour might pay ~50% less than they had to during the heyday of Egyptian tourism.
A one-week trip on a Felluke (incl. "boarding" and lodging) on the Nilke must be an extraordinairy side-step from rolling on four wheels. Same for a trip over Giza in a balloon - both high on my list!
Leave alone the dusty and run-down museum in Cairo (some 15+ years ago), leave alone the impressive Alexandria library and not to mention the colorful graves, Abu Simbel, Giza and Siwa - my personal highlight was the natural beauty of KITCHERNER'S ISLAND, something not be missed on anybody's schedule. Since we left the last ferry back to Assuan that evening, we were stranded and completely alone for 12 hours in one of the world's smallest (ca. 700x200 meters), but most diverse, impressive and beautiful natural habitats. A true little "adventure" of the third magical kind (without going into further details)!
Beads and pieces...?
Yes, exactly as you say: A lot of tourist crap. But also some exellent handicraft - the wooden-inlay boxes, for example. Not the cheap version for 10-15 bucks, though!
The one advantage of an organized tour - the only one I can see, at least - might be the better chance of taking home (alive) some of the ancient beads, that fall under the embargo.
We true collectors won't even consider the breech of such Islamic laws of Egypt. Would still be nice to get some beads in exchange for the democracy "we" brought them. It's an unjust world!
I promise, Rosanna: I will be very careful, will never "Walk on the Wild Side" of street of Cairo. Especially not at night!
Shukraan - for your tips and advice!