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SOCIAL CONVENTIONS

The Egyptians are generally courteous and hospitable thus expects similar respect from visitors. The form of handshaking will suffice as a greeting. Woman should dress conservatively and not wear revealing clothes, particularly when in religious buildings and in towns. The Western style of dress is accepted in the modern nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and bars of bigger towns.

LANGUAGES

Most of Egyptians, espacially those leaving in big cities or working with foreigners speak English, French and nowadays more often Spanish, Italian, Russian...But it is always well-seen to know few words in Arabic and sometimes useful in cases of reading numbers in shops, restaurant or makret areas. Whole story looks different if you are planning to off the popular routes, away from touristic resorts – there knowing some Arabic will be life-saving.

VISITING MOSQUES AND CHURCHES

In general non-Muslim tourists are allowed to visit mosques, but if you happen to be in a non-touristic area it is proper to ask for a permission. A strict condition to be let in is a modest dress. Women can be requested to cover their hair (you will find scarves for use on the place). Anybody entering a mosque must take his footwear off. It is also not proper to enter a mosqueduring a congragational prayer.

Similar modest dess code is a requirenment for visiting Coptic churches and monasteries; only shoes do not have to be removed.

TRAVELLERS WITH DISABILITIES

Although disability is common in Egypt, you will not be lucky to see often a wheelchair or a disabled toilet. On contrary you will find streets, tamples, malls etc. with obstacles not ot pass if somebody else does not help. The good news is that Egyptian are friendly and eager to assist one in need.

Taxis are easily affordable and adaptable. If you rent one for a day, your driver will definitely help you in and out.

STUDENTS

Students holding the International Student Card (ISIC) are subjected to discounts on visitng museums, some of the Monuments as well as on train and bus tickets.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Taking photos in Egypt should be done with care. If you intend to take a photo of someone , ask for permission first, especially if she is a woman. It is completely forbidden to take shots of army camps, airports, governmental buildings, bridges and dams.

SAFETY

Although over-crowded Egypt is still one of the safest places on earth. The heaviest crime you may be exposed to is theft and even this happens very rarely and more likely away from touristic resorts. Of course this does not mean to stay careless – like everywhere have eye on your money, camera and suitcase.

HEALTH

Check with your own country's health guidelines for travelers to Egypt. For general health information we advise to look at WHO, UN's World Health Organization's travel and health information for Egypt. Also keep in mind that the most frequent health problems travellers meet in Egypt are the stomach troubles, diarrhoea and sun-burns. Always have with you: sunglasses, hat or head cover, sun-cream with factor not less than 15.

PHARMACIES

The reputation of Egyptian pharmacies is very good one. Chemists there do not just sell medicine, but can help and advice with many health problems. They always speak English and are trustworthy. They will also recommend a specialist if needed. Egytpain pharmacies are provided with huge range of drugs including all international names and less expensive than in the West.

WATER

Ensure that you drink plenty of water: Egypt has an extremely dry climate most of the year - a fact aggravated by high temperatures in the summer end of the year - and countless travelers each year experience the discomforts and dangers of dehydration. A sense of thirst is not enough to indicate danger - carry a water bottle and keep drinking! Not needing to urinate for a long period or passing very small amounts of dark yellow urine are signs of incipient dehydration.

Egyptian tap water is generally safe, although it does sometimes have an odd taste due to the high chlorine content added to make it so. It is not recommended for regular drinking, especially to very local differences in quality. Bottled mineral waters are widely available. Beware of the old scam, however, whereby vendors re-sell bottled water bottles, having refilled with another (perhaps dubious) source.... Always check the seal is unbroken before parting with your money or drinking from it.

LAUNDRY

There are a number of options for washing clothes whilst travelling in Egypt:

By far the easiest, most practical - and not at all expensive - is to arrange for your hotel to have your washing done for you. By prior arrangement, clothes left on the bed or handed in at reception will be returned to you by evening freshly laundered and pressed.

Determined self-helpers can persist with hand-washing or finding one of the many "hole-in-the-wall" laundries where the staff will wash and press your clothes manually.

Cairo possesses a few basic Western-style laundromats in areas where foreigners and tourists reside - they are virtually nonexistent elsewhere in the country. Some hotels in tourist towns like Luxor and Dahab offer a washing machine service in a back room.

INTERNET

In the last few years Internet services has reached much higher level than before. You will easily find Internet cafe anywhere you will be and in many hotels and restaurants wi-fi connections are available.

DRIVING

Visitors owning an International Driving Permit are required to drive any motor vehicle. All vehicles including motorcycles are required by law to carry a fire extinguisher and a red hazard triangle.

PROHIBITED ITEMS:

The items are: narcotics, firearms and cotton; for a full list, contact the Egyptian State Tourist Office.

TIPPING

Tipping worth 10-12% is added to hotel and restaurant bills but an extra tip of 5% is normal. Taxi drivers generally expect 10%. Keep in mind that most Egyptian workers expect tips after performing a service, known as Baksheesh. This can be expected for something as little as pressing the button in the elevator. The typical tip for minor services is 50pt to 1 LE. Due to the general shortage of small change, you may be forced to give 5 LE to do simple things like use the bathroom. Just understand that this is part of the culture; the value of the baksheesh is very small to most westerners (USD$0.10 to $0.25) but makes up the a good portion of monthly income for many Egyptians.

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