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  1. #1
    I could get used to this! Fushia's Avatar
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    Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    So..anyone attending this? It's going to be my first time in Cairo and I've been hearing mixed opinions about the city. Any tips? I'll be staying over there for 3 weeks. Firstly staying at a hostel and then moving into the pyramisa. I'm excited and very nervous about this trip since I do not know anyone in Cairo...and I'll be traveling without a guide!


  2. #2
    Official BHUZzer azhaar's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    Apart from the dusty streets, I really like Cairo. :) I found it really easy to get around by metro and taxi. I walked a fair bit too, and just wandered around the streets. (The area around the Pyramisa and Zamalek are particularly lovely. Downtown Cairo is also nice if you're interested in clothes/shoes shopping.) Apart from some guys in Mohammed Ali street who tried to cop a handful, I didn't have any problems (I was dressed conservatively).

    Even if you travel there alone you'll probably meet people at the festival and be able to do some travelling around Cairo with them. :)

    I was thinking of going to that festival but I'm not sure if it will fit with my schedule ...


  3. #3
    I could get used to this! ssille's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    Hi,

    I will not attending the festival, but I already visited Cairo a few times.

    It's a great city!! But very dusty and you need to be prepared for a small culture shock when you arrive. People there are very poor.

    When you go to the pirmaid, or other touristic places, locals will try to sell a lot of stuff, and will walk a lot behind you. But they don't harm, only say no to them on a gentle way.

    Cairo isn't a dangerous city, I am wandering around in the streets and I never got problems, people are actualy really friendly and helpfull!
    I also travel by metro, taxi, ...

    If you have any more questions don't worry to contact me.

    I just love the country, and looking forward to my next trip in March.

    Have a great festival time, and a lovely travel!!!

    sille


  4. #4
    I could get used to this! Fushia's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by azhaar View Post
    Apart from the dusty streets, I really like Cairo. :) I found it really easy to get around by metro and taxi. I walked a fair bit too, and just wandered around the streets. (The area around the Pyramisa and Zamalek are particularly lovely. Downtown Cairo is also nice if you're interested in clothes/shoes shopping.) Apart from some guys in Mohammed Ali street who tried to cop a handful, I didn't have any problems (I was dressed conservatively).

    Even if you travel there alone you'll probably meet people at the festival and be able to do some travelling around Cairo with them. :)

    I was thinking of going to that festival but I'm not sure if it will fit with my schedule ...
    Hm...dusty.. So does that means contact lenses is a bad idea? Were you able to get a hold of an english/arabic map of the city? Is the metro all in arabic? I can't read anything in arabic. And yeah, I'm definitely going to do some shopping especially hoping to meet with some designers (was thinking Amira from Pharaonics of egypt or Eman zaki). I've heard many female foreigners get hissed at or even laughed at by the muslim women there..mostly due to baring too much.


  5. #5
    I could get used to this! Fushia's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    Quote Originally Posted by ssille View Post
    Hi,

    I will not attending the festival, but I already visited Cairo a few times.

    It's a great city!! But very dusty and you need to be prepared for a small culture shock when you arrive. People there are very poor.

    When you go to the pirmaid, or other touristic places, locals will try to sell a lot of stuff, and will walk a lot behind you. But they don't harm, only say no to them on a gentle way.

    Cairo isn't a dangerous city, I am wandering around in the streets and I never got problems, people are actualy really friendly and helpfull!
    I also travel by metro, taxi, ...

    If you have any more questions don't worry to contact me.

    I just love the country, and looking forward to my next trip in March.

    Have a great festival time, and a lovely travel!!!

    sille
    Thanks for the info! thanks also for warning me about the culture shock...I saw some videos of khan el khelili and I think I have an ok idea of what to expect. Did you visit any designers in cairo? I hope to get a custom designed costume but have not decided which designer to go to. Do you know which designer is most expensive?

    Thanks!


  6. #6
    Administrator Hannan's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    I just got back from my fourth trip, it was great. Here are some tips for you:

    Try to only ride in the new looking white taxis - they have working meters! It will save you a lot of headache of arguing over cab prices. Some of them even have the luxury of seatbelts.

    The metro is easy and surprisingly nice. Signs are in English. Take the womens' car - usually in the middle with a sign over the doors.

    Get out of the city a bit! Take a trip to Saqqarah - just about a half hour away. Decide on your fare with your driver beforehand and how long you will stay. I still regret that I haven't made it to Alexandria. It is not far away and people really like it. There is also the Fayoum Oasis nearby. If you have time or the budget, Luxor is amazing - especially on the bank of the river not full of the touristy stuff. beautiful. Karnak is truly unbelivable.

    If you don't speak some Arabic, learn some now. Even a limited vocabulary of polite phrases will show that you tried - that goes a long way with Egyptians.

    Both Outi and Keti Sharif have really good guides on their websites. memorize them! ..l;,

    You certainly don't have to dress like a nun to feel comfortable in Cairo. I just wear what I usually wear at home (but no plunging necklines), and I always have a scarf to cover décolletage and mid-thigh trench or cardigan when I'm traveling in the city.

    Contact Astryd Farah for personalized bellydance tours while in Cairo. She is excellent. Outi is also a wonderful contact, although sadly I didn't get to meet up with her.

    yes, Cairo is somewhat insane. It is very crowded, very busy, very loud, and very dirty. It is also addictive. ..g.:

    have fun!

    -Hannan

    Quote Originally Posted by Fushia View Post
    So..anyone attending this? It's going to be my first time in Cairo and I've been hearing mixed opinions about the city. Any tips? I'll be staying over there for 3 weeks. Firstly staying at a hostel and then moving into the pyramisa. I'm excited and very nervous about this trip since I do not know anyone in Cairo...and I'll be traveling without a guide!


  7. #7
    Advanced BHUZzer phillyraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    I'm going on my fourth trip next month and echo Hannan and everyone else!

    You can get around by yourself in Cairo, but it can be a struggle - no one will ever admit that they don't know where you are going, so you can get a lot of confusing directions. Good maps are hard to find, the best is probably this one - [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Cairo-Practical-American-University-Press/dp/9774162048/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b]Amazon.com: Cairo: The Practical Guide Maps (9789774162046): The American University in Cairo Press: Books[/ame]

    Sahar Okasha costumes are definitely the most expensive, and Hallah Mostafa costumes would be second, IMO.

    I wear my contacts in Cairo, but I keep lubricating drops with me because of the dust, pollution, and all the smoking. I take extra inhalers for my asthma as well.

    I don't think Egyptian women bother female tourists much - it is more the men. Catcalls, an occasional grope, or very forward talk (you are so sexy, let's go on a date, I love you) are more common.

    Also, Nile Group does offer arranged tourist trips that you can sign up for during the festival - I haven't taken them, but it might be a nice option if you get tired of traveling alone or arranging tours yourself.

    Cairo can be dirty, dusty, and rude or magical, charming and gracious depending on your outlook. Be patient, be firm (if you don't want something), and be smart about traveling alone, and I think you'll have a wonderful time! Please post your stories and experiences when you get back!


  8. #8
    Advanced BHUZzer leylalanty's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    What everyone has said so far, especially the bits about Cairo being dusty, dirty, noisy, crowded, insane, addictive, magical, wonderful - gotta go back real soon! My recommendation to you as a first time visitor is to sign up at the festival for the local tours - it is MUCH MUCH MUCH easier than doing it on your own! AND you will see more, understand more of what you're seeing than if you go on your own.


  9. #9
    Official BHUZzer azhaar's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    I see the others have answered your questions ... :)

    Just wanted to add that the hissing might simply mean "I'm coming through! Please move." ... especially if you're in the market.


  10. #10
    I could get used to this! Fushia's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    Alright thanks guys, I'm still planning out my trip. Think I will be heading to Aswan and Luxor by train and maybe joining a tour there and back to cairo for the festival.

    Hannan - Thanks for the info, am glad I don't have to dress like a nun..I will keep those contacts handy thanks err shukran :)
    Bassmah- I am going to order that map..better to learn about those roads before getting there. I usually don't use lubricating drops but looks like I should definitely get a bottle. thanks!
    Leyla - I plan to visit aswan and luxor first and touring cairo during the festival..sounds tiring but hopefully it's doable.

    BTW, has anyone tempted to take a photo in front of the pyramids (in costume)? Will the tourism police put handcuffs on me?


  11. #11
    Established BHUZzer outi's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    Fushia: You can get the map here in Cairo. Should be much cheaper that way. It's very good map, best there is. They sell in in AUC (American University Cairo) bookstore just down town. It's very easy to find. Any taxi will know the place or if you take the metro to Tahrir (Metro station: Sadat), the place is just there. The book store has fabulous books about the Egyptian culture etc.

    You might be able to get photo of yourself in a costume with a pyramid, but it has to be arranged. It's not legal. I have my photos on my website. If you want some you should contact Yasmina of Cairo.


  12. #12
    I could get used to this! Fushia's Avatar
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    Re: Nile Group Fest. Feb 2010

    Hi Outi, I visited your site and your photos are very nicely photographed, Yasmina definitely captured a very beautiful side of you! I hardly have enough costumes for 1 photoshoot but if I decide to take photos I will contact her. Thanks for all the info.


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