Egypt plus SQ Suites/First photo TR

123gogirl

Newbie
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Mar 10, 2020
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I have a system that works every time:
Walk strait ahead, don’t look right or left, no eye contact and most importantly NEVER get into conversation with them. Once they see you are not responsive they will quickly give up and move on to another target, like my dad who was too polite and got constantly harassed 🤦‍♂️
I agree boomy, though sometimes I play along with them. Once they realise you are playing with them, their tactics cease and they talk to you normally and leave you go on your way. It's their only means of support for most of them so sometimes we have to just have a bit of fun. Surprisingly, one tout I met years ago is now a good friend who does everything for me each visit without a dollar changing hands. But for the "uninitiated", on a first visit, it can definitely be overwhelming and I would suggest doing what you have said.
 

boomy

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Posts
9,143
Cairo Tour Day 2

Today we did a combination of two itineraries, first half of the day was dedicated to the Egyptian Museum and the second half to Coptic & Islamic Cairo. Later in the evening we booked sound and light show in the pyramids.

The Egyptian Museum

As some of you might know there a new museum in Cairo, The Grand Egyptian, which is finished and was supposed to open last year in a big ceremony with leaders from all over the world but Covid kinda ruin that plan. Currently there is no official opening date but the aim is towards the end of the year when, hopefully, Covid restrictions will loosen up enough to allow such a big gathering of world leaders.

Meanwhile the current museum still hold the majority of important exhibits but they are slowly being relocated into their new home.

I don’t usually take many photos inside museums as I find it distracting, particularly when I’m on guided tour packed with information. The most popular exhibition of Tutankhamen had strict no photo policy. I did try to sneak one and was told off by security 😬

Short summary (from Wikipedia):

The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or the Cairo Museum is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display and the remainder in storerooms. Built in 1901 by the Italian construction company, Garozzo-Zaffarani, to a design by the French architect Marcel Dourgnon, the edifice is one of the largest museums in the region. As of March 2019, the museum was open to the public. In 2022, the museum is due to be superseded by the newer and larger Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza.

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Thanks for a great trip report and wonderful photos. Brought back some good memories. I loved Egypt and the history is mind blowing.
 

boomy

Senior Member
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May 10, 2013
Posts
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Coptic and Islamic Cairo

Second half of the day was dedicated to churches, mosques and synagogues. Well, we had to skip the latter because the Jewish synagogue is under renovation and currently closed to the public.

The Hanging Church

Our visit was during Easter ceremonies and we couldn’t enter the church during service.

Short summary (from Wikipedia):

Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church, also known as the Hanging Church, is one of the oldest churches in Egypt which dates to the third century. It belongs to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

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Church of St. George

Short summary (from Wikipedia):

The Church of St. George is a Greek Orthodox church within the Babylon Fortress in Coptic Cairo. It is part of the Holy Patriarchal Monastery of St George under the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa. The church dates back to the 10th century.

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The Citadel

Short summary (from Wikipedia):

The Citadel of Cairo or Citadel of Saladin is a medieval Islamic-era fortification in Cairo, Egypt, built by Salah ad-Din and further developed by subsequent Egyptian rulers. It was the seat of government in Egypt and the residence of its rulers for nearly 700 years from the 13th to the 19th centuries.

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Mosque of Muhammad Ali

Short summary (from Wikipedia):

The Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque is a mosque situated in the Citadel of Cairo in Egypt and was commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848.

Situated on the summit of the citadel, this Ottoman Mosque, the largest to be built in the first half of the 19th century, is, with its animated silhouette and twin minarets, the most visible mosque in Cairo.

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The mosque courtyard offers panoramic views of Cairo.

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boomy

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Pyramids Sound and light show

After we finished the day tours we returned to our hotel, had dinner in the lounge and took Uber to Giza for the sound and light show. We purchased the VIP tickets which were marginally more expensive. They got us front row seats with more comfortable padded chairs.


Unlike in Luxor where we got to walk through Karnak Temple before sitting up high on a platform, in Giza we sat the whole time watching the show and listening to cometary which frankly was a bit outdated. For example, the narrator said the Sphinx’s nose was shot off with a cannon by Napoleon’s troops. This myth was proven wrong a while ago by drawings showing the Sphinx nose missing long before Napoleon came to Egypt.

Commentary aside, the light show was impressive.

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LadyC

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Joined
Feb 21, 2012
Posts
2,600
Loving this TR - can't wait to do a trip like this, just need MasterC to be old enough to appreciate it.
 

boomy

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We spent the last day in Cairo going to a fancy shopping centre so my mom could get some retail therapy, followed by lunch in nice local restaurant.

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The reason we can see only westerners in the photo is because most locals don’t eat lunch, at least not in public, during Ramadan.

After lunch we took returned to Conrad, checked out and took Uber to the airport. I should mention that Uber in Cairo doesn’t have the brand standards we are used to in the Western world. Cars are not always clean or in good condition but they still look better than taxis.

We had an interesting incident with the Uber who came to take us to the airport. Both the car and driver looked dodgy but we got in anyway. Once the driver saw the destination he tried to tell us something in Arabic but we couldn’t understand him so went to speak to the concierge. Apparently our driver is not allowed to enter the airport zone with his car so he booked another Uber for us which arrived quickly and this time it was a nicer car.
 

boomy

Senior Member
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May 10, 2013
Posts
9,143
Some last thoughts about Egypt.

Cost to enter Egypt

Visa on arrival $25 USD

Tipping

It’s a poor country and tourists are basically seen as walking dollar bills. People are nice but tipping is expected everywhere for everything. Want to take photo with a camel? Tip the owner. Want to access certain parts of the temple? Tip the guards etc.

Security

The most common reaction from my friends when they heard I went to Egypt was: Is it safe there? Egypt is dependent on tourism and invest a lot in security which is visible everywhere in tourist sites, hotels, shopping centres and off course airports where is quite exaggerated… At no point did we had any issues or felt unsafe.

Covid-19 restrictions

None.
 

RooFlyer

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Agree. In " poor" countries, As long as the service provided was OK or above, there's should be a good tip - especially if there is a question of whether the operator was the owner. In Burma, the operator obviously often wasn't the owner, so the operator was well rewarded for good service ( still not a lot in A$).

When I last visited Egypt in 1994, it was just after some bomb or something or other. We always avoided the street where the American Express office was and I remember very many cruise boats parked up unused along the shore.

I wasn’t deterred in visiting then and I’m certainly not deterred in visiting now.
 

lovetravellingoz

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The reason we can see only westerners in the photo is because most locals don’t eat lunch, at least not in public, during Ramadan.

We were also fortunate to be in Cairo during Ramadan, and enjoyed it very much.

Only a few locals at lunch as you say. But as soon as the evening prayers started everything changed.

The streets near our hotel would be filled with tables and chairs to deal with the huge demand from locals. Though the locals tended to eat really quickly, with the chairs and tables then being packed away to leave us and the few other leisurely diners alone.

Many families with the children all dressed up and walking about visiting, smiling and laughing. They were often carrying little special wrapped gift boxes of biscuits that you bought from the cake shops. And which we (wife and 3 daughters) also indulged in.

I can still see my six olds face beaming in delight and wonder as the store attendant wrapped her chosen biscuit selection and presented it to her.
 

boomy

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Now to the fun part of the TR 😃

Since Covid restrictions eased and travel slowly recovers some of us got to fly again. For me flying Y (mostly domestic) is value for money. Flying J is for comfort and sleep. Then there is flying F… now that is exciting! And it doesn’t get much more exciting than SQ Suites 🤩

After leaving Cairo I’ve flown with my parents on Egyptair B777 to Tel Aviv, spent few days there then flew Iberia A330 to Madrid where I spend few days with a mate watching sports, eating, drinking and clubbing. Madrid is one of my favourite cities in the world and worth its own TR, maybe next time…

From Madrid I took Lufthansa A320 flight to Frankfurt.

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This itinerary was booked via KrisFlyer in the cheapest Saver bucket:

MAD-FRA LH A320 J (Business)

FRA-SIN SQ A380 R (Suites)

SIN-MEL SQ B777 F (First)

Total 163,000 points plus $AU159 taxes.
 

boomy

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May 10, 2013
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Pre-departure drinks are back :)

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Lunch menu

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Starter
Warm cashews and candid walnuts

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Canapé
Chicken Satay

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First Appetiser
Chilled Malossol Caviar

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Second Appetiser
Poached Lobster with Shellfish Oil Vinaigrette

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Matched with a glass (or three 😉) of Comtes.

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Main Course
Braised Beef Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce

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Matched with a glass of red Bordeaux.

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Dessert
Tartelette Au Citron Meringuee

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boomy

Senior Member
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May 10, 2013
Posts
9,143
Meanwhile the crew extended the bed.

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I spent the next few hours watching TV.

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With a bottle of burgundy 😊

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Here in snack menu

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Didn’t feel like anything from the menu, instead I’ve politely asked for another serve or caviar 🙂

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I was having so much fun but time went by too quickly…

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Next meal was breakfast.

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Selection of fruit.

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Blackberry yogurt bowl.

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Didn’t feel too hungry so tried to keep it light.

The amenity kit (that candle just makes no sense 😂).

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The cabin was full 6/6 and apparently it was the same in J. Travel seems to recover at a rapid pace and it’s already extremely difficult to score saver award seats in suites.

Hard to describe how refined was the service on this flight so I’ll give few random examples that will hopefully paint the picture: When crew member notice pax going towards the toilets they will rush to open the door for them. They offer to hang up clothes after changing to PJ and when changing back at the end of the flight they’ll offer a new set of PJ to take home. All these are small random gestures not very important on their own but they show a different level of service, something only the Japanese airlines can match.

Overall looking at the hard and soft products it’s going to be difficult to find an airline that does F better than SQ 🙂
 
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