A few weeks ago I booked a ticket to Africa, as I've always wanted to see Cairo and the surrounding sites, I took the opportunity to book a long layover into it. I wrote to Walid about setting something up. He responded quickly with lots of ideas and options, and worked with me to put together everything I wanted to do In the time alloted. When we landed and met up with our tour guide, Walid called to make sure we were ok, and noted that everything was flexible to meet our requests. He met up with us at one point to say hello and bring us waters, and checked up again at the end of the trip. Truly great and personal customer service from him.
Now for the tours itself. We ended up with Laila as the guide and Mr. Mohammed as the driver. Laila guided us through the museum, pyramids, coptic and Islamic areas. She was very knowledgeable about the history of the materials and the city itself. She took us to taste some falafals, and a local spot for some incredible lunch. Laila took the time to answer any questions I had, any requests, and of course snapped away tons of photos for me. She was really a great guide, and would highly recommend her (them both)!
Now, for the safety part. Coming from the states, all I knew of the situation here is what is on the news, which can very widely in its accuracy on reflecting the true scenario. Before I booked, I was very careful in reading through lots of recent reviews of travelers who said they had no issues. (To try to get a perspective of people who had recently been.) I have to concur; not once did I feel unsafe, nor did my companion (a tall, blonde female who I'm sure sticks out in the crowd.) If there was any issues, I would have never known as we were never In those areas, and I'm sure our guide would have never even brought us close. As a matter of fact, I was surprised that multiple people just said, "Thanks for coming to Cairo", without any alterior motives, people said hello and waived from their cars, and kids asked to kick a soccer ball around with me.
I have no doubt that Cairo, and Egypt will one day be back to its former huge tourist destination, but for now, there's a unique opportunity to experience it almost alone; I walked through the museum and stared at King Tuts mask, climbed into a pyramid and stood In a burial chamber, etc... all with no one else in the room.
As with anywhere In the world, including home, be smart about yourself and pay attention/listen to your guide and you should have a wonderful time.
A big thanks to everyone, and I hope to come back again soon to see more of the country!
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