Shopping and stores
As a rule, only souvenirs are brought from Egypt: buying something else there is practically meaningless. Typical local trinkets: basalt, granite or – most often – painted alabaster figurines of ancient Egyptian gods, hookah (“shisha”) and papyri. In resort areas, the vast majority of shops and shops do not have fixed prices. Therefore – advice to tourists: bargain, bargain and bargain again. The original price is drastically reduced.
It is worth paying attention to products made of high quality Egyptian cotton at ridiculous prices. It is worth asking the price of Egyptian carpets – even if they are not as famous as Indian or Persian ones, but among them there are very high-quality and beautiful specimens. See other countries beginning with E. Egyptian gold can also be a good investment if you buy it in specialized jewelry (not souvenir) stores.
When buying a hookah, you should keep in mind that you often come across “souvenir shisha”, which is almost impossible to use for its intended purpose. Care must be taken when purchasing papyri. Cheap banana stampings on low-quality and short-lived material will be given for 1-3 EGP. A quality papyrus (recognizable by its neat drawing technique and the fact that it can be folded and crumpled without the slightest harm) will cost about 10-20 EGP.
In Egypt, 4 types of hookahs are sold: iron (break easily), aluminum (poisonous), brass and the so-called “storms” – pipes with a glass vessel in the middle (which cannot be washed).
Accordingly, only brass ones are suitable for smoking, while it is better to buy tobacco from Nakhla tobacco – it is natural.
Important points when choosing a “shisha”: the hookah should be with a large valve, and its hose should be made of camel skin, as plastic ones break quickly.
Hookah needs to be taken care of. Two brushes will help with this: a thick one for a flask and a thin long one for a tube. The hookah should be cleaned at least once a month. The secret of a good hookah: lay out hot coals in a circle, place one in the center. When the “shisha” is smoked, remove a piece from the center – then the tobacco will not burn.
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Cuisine and restaurants
In Egyptian cuisine, everything goes for the future: traditional Middle Eastern lamb, spices and couscous rice, and everything that had the stupidity to swim in the net of local fishermen, from fish to cuttlefish. At the same time, the Egyptians focus on the aroma, and not on the spiciness of the dishes: aromatic herbs are generously used, but hot pepper is used only occasionally to slightly shade the taste. National meat dishes are a variety of couscous and stews, while vegetables are worth trying falafel, “koshari” (rice, chickpeas, pasta, tomato sauce) and the classic “ful medames” – stewed beans with olive oil, onion and garlic.
Be sure to try the fried pigeon stuffed with porridge. Pigeons in Egypt are specially bred for gastronomic purposes.
The choice of catering establishments in Egypt is the widest: from inexpensive eateries on city streets to gourmet restaurants.
Drinks should be ordered without ice, as it is often made from ordinary tap water – which is fraught.
The cost of dinner in a good Egyptian restaurant starts from 150 EGP, in a cafe – 60-90 EGP, you can have a cheap meal from 25 to 50 EGP. A glass of beer usually costs from 6 EGP (in a regular bar) to 30 EGP (in a trendy establishment at a five-star hotel). The best local wines – Grand Marquis, Cape Bay or Sheherezad in stores are sold at prices ranging from 65 to 80 EGP, and in restaurants at hotels it is already 100 EGP more expensive.
The country’s monetary unit is the Egyptian pound (EGP), in 1 Egyptian pound there are 100 piastres. Current exchange rate: 1 EGP = 3.08 RUB (1 USD = 18.71 EGP, 1 EUR = 19.68 EGP).
You can easily exchange currency at currency exchange offices, banks (usually on weekdays from 8:30 to 14:00, some are closed from Monday to Tuesday-Wednesday) or hotels, but the latter option is the worst, since the rate there is the most disadvantageous for tourists.
It is best to take to Egypt a “mix” of cash in the form of euros or dollars, as well as credit and debit cards.
Many large hotels indicate prices in dollars and euros and calmly accept this currency. MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club cards are also in use, and today they are accepted not only in hotels, but also in restaurants and some shops. There are also no problems with the exchange of traveler’s checks – they will be accepted at any bank, but they will be tinkering with them for a long time, plus they will add a commission of 1-4%. It is easier to use ATMs, which are found almost everywhere in large cities. Banks charge a commission for withdrawals, it is better to clarify before the trip how it is more profitable to use the card and withdraw money.
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