Here's a handful of information, which you should read before going to Egypt. Thanks to this, we will prevent various unpleasant situations and misunderstandings, we will save time, nerves and money, and we will also be sure, that the luggage we take with us is complete and properly packed.
The national currency of Egypt is the Egyptian Pound, i.e. LE (Egyptian book, in Egyptian ginéh), which is divided into 100 hubs (PT, in Egyptian qirch). In hotels, however, and in duty-free shops at airports, we will not pay other than the so-called. “hard” currency, so it's better not to exchange all the money we have for Egyptian pounds. Except that, unnecessary pounds that will be left to us at the end of our stay in Egypt, we will only be able to exchange it back to another currency then, when we have all the exchange receipts and have exchanged at least 30 USD per day per person.
The exchange can be made, for example. in one of the exchange offices, located in virtually every hotel. Another way to make payments is to use Travelers' Checks, which are accepted everywhere, or Euroczeków, with which it is a bit worse and recognized only by a few banks (mainly at the airport and in hotels). You can also pay with virtually any international card, and if for some reason our card is not recognized in a given place, you can easily withdraw cash at an ATM.
Language and script
The official language of Egypt is Arabic, but the population usually speaks colloquial Egyptian-Arabic. It is worth mastering the knowledge of Arabic numerals, which are not at all like these, which we use and which we call Arabic. They are spelled the opposite of letters, that is, from left to right, and it is good to learn them if only for that, in order to be able to read the prices in stores independently.
The difference between Egypt and CET GMT is +2 hours and lasts all year round.
The voltage in the network is 220 V, but for earthed sockets you must have special plugs (it is also worth taking a small voltage stabilizer with you). Because power outages are not uncommon, both in hotels and in temples and tombs, it is worth taking a flashlight with you.
A public telephone is hard to find, but you can always call without problems from the hotel or sometimes even a cafe or a kiosk. In hotels, prices for international calls are not the lowest, but it is worth using phones in these places, in order not to waste valuable time on difficult and often ineffective searching for them in the city.
Egypt is a safe country, in which both seizures and thefts occur sporadically. One of the places, where the chances are slightly higher, to say goodbye to money, there is the cairo metro, but if we hide our wallet well, we shouldn't have any problems.
There is still the threat of terrorism, but places frequented by tourists are well protected by soldiers and generally we have nothing to fear.
Women, on the other hand, may come across too intrusive verbal harassment and more, because (especially solo travelers) Europeans are considered fairly easy-going women, ready to experience a short-term yet intense love adventure with Egyptian men. Therefore, tourists should behave and dress modestly, not to reveal more than necessary, and it is best to move in male company.
Better in public transport, to sit among other women, and if they are accompanied by a man, they'd better portray him as their husband, even if in reality it is just a colleague or friend. Apart from indiscriminate harassment, however, women are safe, and assault or physical violence are rare in Egypt.
After arriving in Egypt, let's not be surprised, if we can't get some errands done on Friday, because most offices on that day, banks and offices are closed. It is different with shops, but mostly they are open that day, although sometimes only for an hour 14. Some are being closed, just like with us, on Sunday, and there is no point in going to the bazaar on this day, for they are empty on the last day of the week. Standard working hours are hours 9-19 in winter and 9-13 i 17-20 in the summer, although grocery stores may stay open until late at night, and tourist attractions and museums usually close already 16-17 hours.
In addition, completely different opening hours are valid during Ramadan, and some places close for a few hours on Friday for prayer. So you have to remember, that different places are open at all different times, e.g.. the post office in Cairo only works from 18 do 20 and banks (except for e.g.. at the airport) only a few hours around noon, and it is worth getting detailed information about the place to which we are going first, lest we reach him in vain and find the door closed.
We can buy postcards and stamps for them without any problems in many places, and we can send them directly at the post office or by throwing them into one of the many, blue mailboxes. They are in many hotels and it is most convenient to drop our correspondence there, we just have to remember, to use only the blue ones, not red boxes, to which national lists are thrown.
There are pharmacies in almost every major street, and with most pharmacists you can communicate in English without any problems. The vast majority of drugs can be purchased over the counter,however, if we cannot find any specificity, it is good to give the pharmacist at least the name of its ingredients, because some drugs are sold in different countries under different names.
Filming and photographing
Military objects are not allowed to be photographed in Egypt, bridges and ports, and if we want to photograph people, we should ask them for permission in advance. As with everything else, they may ask us for a tip from time to time, which we should give. Though usually people are eager to pose, then we should never photograph the slums and the poor, because it is very badly received by the local population and shows a lack of good tact. In the interiors of temples and other monuments, you can take photos only after paying the appropriate fee at the entrance (most often at the box office) and obtaining a permit – however, never use the flash inside.
Television and radio
There are three TV channels in Egypt. On the canal 2 news are broadcast twice a day: in English, Fr. 20.00 and in French, Fr. 19.00. European Radio Cairo broadcasts in English about 7.30, 14.30 i 20.00; in French, Fr. 8.00 morning, 14.00 and 21.00; in German, Fr. 6.00.
The Egyptian dailies Al-Ahram and Akhbar al-yaum are published only in Arabic, while foreign press can be bought in all large hotels. In Cairo, you can find the Egyptian Gazette in English and Le Progrds Egyptien in French, in the monthly Cairo Today, published in English, you can find interesting articles about art and culture, calendar of events and a list of addresses useful for tourists.