Warnings about Egypt from Rock in Cairo

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Winston
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Warnings about Egypt from Rock in Cairo

Post by Winston »

Hi everyone,
Rock is in Cairo now and has some warnings for you all about Egypt if you plan to go there. Wow i didnt know a major hotspot like that was so rough and crazy like that.

Rock:

Don't go to Egypt unprepared!

Egypt and especially the Giza area and museum were on my bucket list. The New Grand Egyptian Museum opening has been delayed until next year due to COVID-19 but the museum at Tahrir Square in Cairo was great as was the small paper museum in Giza. Pyramids were amazing and the second and third nights, I had great view of them from my hotel rooftop.
Most of the women I saw there were not very attractive, certainly worse looking than the Berber women in Morocco. But I've been told that if you get to know them, they are more down to earth than what you experience in Casablanca or Marrakech. Don't dare to take photos of women unless you wanna face an angry mob.

The problem with Egypt is that it is extremely dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. They are hyper-paranoid about photos, opinions, and what you might post on social media. One of my guides warned me never to talk in public about politics including the US election, religion, or even sports. I was stopped twice and searched by police on 2 different days, once by military type guys and the other plainclothes men who at first I thought were trying to rob me. My passport and phone photos were examined thoroughly for about 30 minutes.

Fortunately, I didn't have any sensitive shots even though I love to take all kinds of photos in cities I travel to. If I had had even taken one photo of a police vehicle or sensitive government building, they would have hauled me straight away to jail. September 20 is a very sensitive date which only made things worse. Also, I sometimes take pain medications. Tramadol is over the counter in much of Asia but a couple of years ago, a British woman got 3 years just for bringing in 200 tablets of that med into Egypt for her boyfriend. Compared to Egypt, mainland China, even around Tiananmen Square, feel positively open and free. Egypt felt like one of the most restrictive places I've ever been to.

Also, the roads are dangerous with lots of potholes and unfinished areas yet people drive recklessly at high speeds in the evenings. Imagine cars and trucks barreling down EDSA at 150 km per hour weaving unpredictably between lanes. From Cairo down to Giza, you see endless blocks of crumbling apartment towers, some of which were only half built. Yet people live in them. The roads going that way look as if they've been bombed. It's really a mess.

The first night at my hotel on Tahrir Square, a car smashed right through police barricades and almost hit my building right under my second-floor window. At first, I thought it was a car bomb. But later, it appeared to just be a common auto accident.

When I moved down to Giza on the second day, my Uber took a wrong turn and ended up stopped in an area where people hire horse and camel rides. A bunch of teenage kids came to our car and banged aggressively on the window trying to get in. I could see that my driver was as scared as I was. Fortunately, he was able to turn around and speed out of there up to the nearest checkpoint.

At my Giza hotel, I met a cool young Egyptian doctor who spoke decent English on the rooftop and he walked me into town to look around. He had to fight off the various touts by speaking rapidly but politely in Arabic and is seemed each tout would persist for 2-5 minutes so it's really a hassle. So glad I wasn't alone.

So more specifically, if you go to Egypt, only take photos in obvious tourist areas (pyramids, inside museums, etc.), don't stay near Tahrir Sq. (not only are police there hypersensitive but it's very noisy there day and night), and don't dare bring in any narcotic pain meds including tramadol even if you have a prescription. If you get into any trouble, you may not be given the benefit of the doubt.

Surprisingly, many of the travel warnings and safety reports paint Egypt as a fairly safe country while demonizing much of Sub-Saharan Africa. They also demonize countries like the Philippines which feels pretty safe these days. Frankly, their advice, based on my on-the-ground travel experience, is largely inaccurate and even misleading. The best way to know what to expect is to talk to expats and people who travelled there recently.


https://cairoscene.com/Listicles/9-Unex ... d-in-Egypt


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... %20country.
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Winston
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Re: Warnings about Egypt from Rock in Cairo

Post by Winston »

Earlier update from Rock:

"later I had an Uber take a wrong turn and about 10 young people were banging hard on the windows and my driver was trying to get out as quickly as possible. I got stopped by plain clothes police officer who went through my phone and bag today. 5 surrounded me and grabbed my bag and I thought they were trying to mug me and pushed the guy who touched my bag away But then my my friend came over and translated and I found out they are police. Last night, a car crashed through a barracade in front of my hotel in Tahrir square and I though he might have a bomb but it was just an accident. My guide told me not to mention USA, poltics, religion, or sports. If you take a photo of a girl and they see you, you get mobbed."

I dont get something. Why dont cops in Egypt wear uniforms?

If they are plain clothes then anyone can impersonate a cop and try to scam u or pickpocket you right? Whats to prevent that from happening?

Can u demand to see their badge or papers? Wouldn't scammers carry fake papers and badges?

What if they ask for bribe? Can u say no? Can u threaten to call the police chief if they get out of line? Like u can in Russia?

What if u threaten the plain clothes intrusive cops with a Chuck Norris sidekick in their ass? Lol
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