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Wake up before Egypt gets crowded

Aside from the unnerving price differential and the warm feeling of social responsibility, the major advantage of going local is that you will have a friendly Egyptian contact in Cairo, who is answerable to you and you only. If you have picked up some last minute tips from fellow travellers the night before in a rooftop bar over some apple flavoured sheesha, then all you need do is have a word with your driver and off you go. Or if you would rather not have the dubious wisdom of an Egyptologist guide (and I can tell you they vary from the charming to the downright charlatan), then just say, and prepare to encounter Egypt away from the tours and touts.

Sunset over the Nile

Not only that, but when you go back to Egypt (and go back you will), you will have to catch up with your mates over games of backgammon and cups of hibiscus tea in side street cafes, or go out for drink or two with them in the newest hip jazz bar, or even visit them at home, meet their family and dine Egyptian-style for an evening with stuffed pigeon, molukhiyya stew and sticky basbousa pastries. Which reminds me, I wonder what Mostafa’s up to this Christmas…

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