I just wanted to tell you all I made it without a hitch to Luxor (though the whole trip took about 28 hours and I got to the Hilton at 11pm last night then was off for the valley of the kings, valley of the queens and valley of the artisans who built the tombs today. It was all amazing and I'm so glad I decided to do it now because my knees are not holding out well at all, in addition to my hips and hands.
But here's the kicker -- it is absolutely freezing in Luxor (I'm not joking) with a horrible wind chill. I have been wearing my Maine winter coat and gloves along with conservative Middle East clothing that covers a lot and I'm still cold -- and I am never cold! Glad I didn't bring my bathing suit!
Tomorrow I'm off to Abydos two and a half hours away on the West Bank of the Nile and the tomb of Seti I (over 4000 years old). If I freeze solid there I can become part of their temples...
I hope the situation in Paris resolves soon, for its own sake and because I'm supposed to be flying Air France home through Paris Tuesday.
Cheers from wintry Egypt. I heard that Syria actually got snow yesterday.
Great news!! (except for the freezing temps.) Please don't become a permanent part of their temples however. I'd much rather visit a warm-blooded ProfChiara in Maine than a stiff ProfC in Abydos! (Though the thought of being a permanent part of antiquity does sound a bit intriguing...)
Thanks, Pluto! Abydos was awesome. Turned out because of the roads (crazy like everywhere else in Egypt except more so -- our modern (fortunately small) tour car had to compete with old style small lorries, mule driven carts, people riding mules or horses, people just standing in the street, occasional trucks, etc. Oddly, my driver was so good that I wasn't scared at any point (besides that nothing can compare with traffic in Cairo). It actually took about 3-1/2 hours to get there and 3 back, and I had the temple of Seti I, Old Kingdom burial sites, the Osireion, and other places all to myself except for a couple of Germans. Abydos isn't near any 'largish' city so unless you know its history, people don't go. But it should be on everyone's itinerary who comes to Egypt. Yesterday I did Karnak Temple and the Luxor Museum, then flew to Cairo this morning. Why is it that regional small carriers (small versions of bigger ones) like Egyptair, Aegean, and Turkish Airways can always be perfectly on time and feed you when their American counterparts do none of the above?
Anyway, I am in Cairo, flying back tomorrow very early through Paris to Boston. I am now at a Renaissance (Mirage City) and sad to say it doesn't hold a candle to the Hilton in Luxor, and some things are just plain wrong. I had used Hilton's phone (actually it only cost about $1.50) to reserve my pickup at the airport but no one was there even though I had told me all the details of my flight, terminal, etc and they said the man would meet me with a sign (I saw the sign on the dashboard later). Fortunately, in Egypt, tour guides picking people up are super friendly and usually won't even take baksheesh but will call the person who's supposed to come get you on their phones. Someone offered again this time, and he talked to the driver, told me where to meet him and voila -- all was well.
Once at the hotel the room smelled and was hot when the manager let me in (I'm still gold for another few weeks). He had a man with pleasant spray come in to fumigate, and since the temp controls don''t work happily the window opened 10 cm. I had to pay to print my boarding passes (it feels a bit like the NH or Conn turnpikes). The price given when checking in was 35$ more than what my reservation said (AAA rate). Now that the smell is gone and the room is cool (it's cool in Cairo too), it's a pleasant room. The Club Lounge is very nice and since I got in from Luxor so early I was able to have breakfast there. I'll report back on tonight's fare.
The one thing great here (and at the Hilton too) is that the people are super nice. Actually, I have always found that both times Egyptians I encountered (not like in Turkey, where I have had problems) have been phenomenally nice. They also want tourists back badly and most seem very happy with El-Sisi. There are amazing deals to be had (the dollar gets you 7.16 Egyptian pounds) and travel writer Peter Greenberg and one of the major travel mags have also suggested that Egypt is the place to go in 2015. I second that one!
Alas, my problems came from my joints. In the western valleys, there were some tombs in the Kings, Queens and Artisans sections I could not do because of the steepness of some of the steps (it's going down that's my problem). Then, ironically, back at the Hilton in Luxor I was taking photos, missed a step up since it was dusk, and went sprawling. I landed on both knees (which are black and blue), but fortunately without twisting them. What I did twist was my right shoulder since the force of landing went from my right hand upwards.
And for those who care (I do) wine and spirits are available in Egypt at much cheaper prices than Turkey (I can't speak for other Middle Eastern countries). And while it probably would not have been appropriate for me to order a glass of wine while having a delicious regional lunch with my tour guide, I had no problems (overt or even covert) in having glasses of wine at the Hilton whenever I wanted. Egypt apparently has (I hope it's not HAD) a thriving wine production, and Omar Khayyam red is very good. A good sized glass at the Hilton cost me about $7. If you order a second they usually put more in the second time .
Anyway, I thought some of you might enjoy my notes from Egypt. I haven't begun to tell you of the wonderful people I have encountered outside of hotel and tour personnel.
PS -- If you do stay at a Cairo airport hotel, the JW M is right next door and I imagine it's better.
Here's the funny part. I hope none of you told on me. I went to the lounge, and by the end of cocktail hour it was only me and separately two Brits with a German guy. All of a sudden while I was drinking red wine and eating appetizers, the manager (the big one) came up to me and addressed me by name (you have to give your room number) and asked if everything was all right with my stay and if there was anything he could do to make it better. I nearly gulped my wine, but only told him about the temp controls.
Anyway, I have felt completely safe the whole time I have been in Egypt (about the only qualification is the roads, but my tour driver was great -- he could have trained in NYC). I wish everyone would come to Egypt and see how glorious it is and what a wonderful time they can have here.
Hey you guys out there -- are you gonna let a nearly elderly, single woman with major joint problems do something you won't? (Sorry, this was an old medieval preachers' technique.) Anyway, as I truly told the manager, Egypt is the most hospitable country I have ever visited, and that is the absolute truth.
It is highly encouraging to read how hospitable Egypt is. I was just doing some planning for my upcoming trip to Paris. The thing about returning to a place over and over again (like Paris for me) is that it can serve to drain (steal) needed resources for future travels to other places. I found myself straining to list the things that I want to see this trip (and nothing that any typical tourist would likely care to visit, with the one exception of Sainte-Chapelle, it having thus far eluded me), and it caused me to realize (and I never thought I would say this) that after this trip, I think I may be ready to move on from "Pareee."
You talking about how hospitable Egypt is... Me uttering thoughts of moving on from Paris?
I think my world just suddenly got bigger. Thanks for having a part in that.
Thanks for your comments. I managed to get a terrible cold between the Saturday and Sunday (my last days in Luxor, but fortunately it still hadn't reached the point it is at now). A mummy's curse? I think not, as I was unfortunate enough to sit next to an American woman on my Egyptair flight to Luxor who clearly had a bad cold or something worse. Now I have now voice and feel like you know what. I will write much more when I feel less like roadkill. Speaking of which (though it escaped across the road miraculously) I saw my first mongoose on the trip from Luxor to Abydos.
So here's my list of faves:
Best place to live when I retire (pipe dream): Venice
Best country to spend a lot of time in: Greece
Best country to visit as much as I can: Egypt
I am devastated because I just spent about 25 minutes writing a detailed account of being in Egypt and what to do, and then it just disappeared. And since I am still sick, I was hoping to just start uploading photos tomorrow. If by chance some of you get my message from about 5:30pm EST, please let me know. Sigh
Great to hear from you Prof, so sorry to learn of your fall yet you still sound so very upbeat and having a great time. Safe travels home and love to see some pictures when you get a chance.
Keep those Brits at the bar honest and they should have been buying you the wine!!!
You know what they say about 'someday'... Egypt seems much more stable now and at no time did I feel at all unsafe. Especially at the Hilton Luxor, you feel like you're at a glamorous European hotel.
But I knew I simply had to go back and see more, especially of Luxor, before my joints are utterly gone.
Alas, my cold may actually be flu, so that is all I can write for now. When I can I will try to re-compose the missing email of last night but it will take longer to get through my photos (I took 312 and a quick glance suggests most turned out well).
Thanks for the new thread! I have made it as far as CDG. Happily, since I've gotten a nasty head cold (mummy's curse?) I am flying on a free business class ticket. On the flight from Cairo, I ended up sitting next to travel expert Peter Greenberg. I couldn't believe how super nice the AF FA's were (same with Alitalia coming over and Egyptair in Egypt). And the timeliness! Not a single late flight. Oh, if only it could be that way in the US.
More when I am home and have recovered.
I will say that out west, Horizon Air (Alaska Airlines regional carrier) is superb. I do recall the one time I flew KLM's regional affiliate from (somewhere in) Germany to Schipol, and very early in the morning, COFFEE was NOT an in-flight offering. It was terrible(!), though everyone was nice. I also agree, the AF and AZ FA's are very polite.
I'm operating on 1/3 speed (plus there are big games today), but am slowly downloading my photos from Egypt. I am assuming Marriott won't mind my sharing photos of the grounds of the Hilton Luxor resort & spa since there isn't a Marriott in Luxor. But I wanted you all to get a glimpse of how spectacular the hotel and the views are. My balcony looked right over the Nile river and toward the Valley of the Kings and Queens on the west bank.
I love these!!! They are so inviting!
I hope the knees and right shoulder are improved. I was really sick the entire time I was in TN last week. It turns out I completely missed the only two NFL playoff games that mattered (to me) this year, the ones played on Jan. 18th. Nonetheless, the results will hopefully provide a spectacular superbowl this year (something not often guaranteed), and one that I will be highly vested in. Needless to say, you and I will be enemies that day. For now however (and then once again beyond), I am your forever friend.
Although most people don't bother to visit the Valley of the Queens/Nobles or Deir El-Medina (the village of the artisans who built and decorated the tombs) a visit to both is a must for anyone cares about history. I loved Deir El-Medina, partially because I've used a book in teaching that has gathered all the writings from the workers who lived there. The tombs of the most important artisans and workmen are gorgeous, painted on white limestone to give the interiors brilliant coloring.
Thanks! Unfortunately I'm still too sick with the worst cold of the past two decades to think in more than a few sentences at a time . I will have more photos, however, of Abydos and Karnak Museum, though I need another spurt of energy... Both of those places were full photography, so I have some very good photos.
It is such a shame that no one goes to Abydos, because it is one of the oldest places in history, before the dynastic period in Egypt. It's about 3-1/2 hours in unbelievable traffic (see below - you must have a professional driver) from Luxor and more from Cairo. The site is close to 5000 years old, and one of its treasures is the Osireion, the remains of the temple of Osiris, god of the netherworld. His myth is really, really good. His brother Seth (bad guy) was jealous and invited Osiris to a banquet. Seth had prepared an ornate coffin, but had tailored it to fit only Osiris. After the meal, he told the assembled guests that anyone who fit in the coffin would have it for their own. Of course, it fit no one but Osiris. When he got in, Seth clamped down the lid and cast the coffin into the Nile. It made its way up and landed in Lebanon where it grew into a tree. Meanwhile, Isis, wife and sister of Osiris and sister of Seth, went in search of her husband's body. In some versions, her sister Nepthys(and the sister of both Osiris and Seth) helped. Isis came upon the cedar of Lebanon that contained Osiris' body and persuaded the land's leaders to have her husband's body to take home. On the way, she fell asleep along a riverbed just in a place where Seth happened to be hunting (don't you just love how things work out?). He opened the coffin and broke the body of his brother Osiris into 14 parts and scattered them over the lands of Egypt (there are 14 nomarchs or governorates in Egypt). Isis was determined, however, and she went in search of all, since Osiris could not live again in the afterlife if he was not fully 'together.' She found 13 pieces, but his phallus was missing (I am not making this up). So Isis fashioned a new and better one, some sources say of gold, resurrected Osiris long enough to conceive their son, Horus. (The later story of the Contendings of Seth and Horus, equally lurid, can be read online, but have less to do with what you'll see at Abydos.)
From predynastic times in the 4th C BC to about 1300 BC and beyond Abydos was one of the most important Egyptian sites. The Temple of Seti I, father of Ramses II (the Great), is spectacular.
When I visited there were only a couple of other German tourists there. Getting there was something and I was so glad my driver was very skilled because he had to contend with cars all driving in front of each other, people riding horses, donkey-drawn carriages, and people in the middle of the road. But he was excellent.
The first photo is of the Osireion, the others of the Temple of Seti I. One of the photos has cartouches of all the pharaohs up to Seti, others show mythological and afterlife themes. Can anyone point to the slide that shows Isis 'doing it' (I don't want to get censored) with Osiris after she made a better version of his 14th part in order to conceive Horus?
Yep, those certain days we are enemies but never the rest of the time. I've been with the Pats since I moved to NE IN 1976, through thick and thin and incredibly bad QBs and coaching. Should be interesting to see old coach Carroll (completely ineffective Mr. Nice Guy with the old Pats) against BB. Don't get me started on ball inflation (for anyone who doesn't know what we're talking about, trust me it is not dirty ).
Yes, I did arrange for Memphis Tours (which turned out to be a whole team) before I left. It was just one of those fill in the blank google enquiries. But the woman I dealt with was superb and very knowledgeable and offered me a price of $425 for airport transfers, all day Friday in the West Valley of the Kings, Queens, Nobles and Deir El-Medina with lunch, all day Saturday to Abydos (wow -- the best! but you must have a knowledgeable Egyptian driver with a good car, which I did). You may have experienced this but it was similar to Cairo. No one followed what few highway rules or signs that existed, and cars competed with donkeys, people wandering around in the street, donkey-drawn carriages, trucks, and constant speed bumps. I think the last may be new, and if so it is a very good thing, While my driver had to drive to one or the other side of he road and go over them slowly it stopped Cairo-like situations from developing. The tourist police are also back and your driver has to show credentials (also for the hotel). For Abydos, off the beaten bath in Sohag Governorate, this seemed especially true as you're getting near El-Minya and Assyut, which have been problems in the past. But I had no problems whatsoever, with a great tour guide (we ended up with more of a discussion than mini lectures), great driver, organizers, etc. Two of the days we also had wonderful lunches at an Egyptian/Indian restaurant in Luxor that made me feel guilty especially since I could really only eat fish, bread and a few vegetables, but they put out a whole spread (very delicious, but guilt inducing). The poverty in Egypt is horrendous when you get away from the main cities or tourist areas. The last day I paid extra to go to Luxor Museum, which was fantastic, and then the day at Karnak Temple.
It was all wonderful (except for catching this horrible cold). Since Memphis tours also does Morocco, and my initial contact organizer wrote to ask how Egypt was and to suggest future ventures, I have asked her some ideas about maybe going to Morocco at spring break.
PS -- Have you figured out the slide of Isis conceiving Horus? (The full version of that myth, beyond what I told, captivates my students.) Here's a hint with a nearby depiction in Seti's tomb. The gods were putting in place Isis's new and improved version of the missing 14th part so Osiris could be whole and die, then be reborn to conceive Horus, then die and live again. You can easily match this with Isis getting it on, so to speak from the other photos. She doesn't look like a woman in it.
Ha ha, ya I think I pretty much figured it out, but I wasn't going to post anything. But so, 8th photo from the top of the series of Abydos photos that you posted. Isis looks like some sort of bird creature.
Gotta love Egyptian God mythology! (It truly is fascinating.)
Do you have a website for the tour company? (Would it be www.memphistours.com?) I am also curious... Do you think you'll return to Egypt? What about Turkey? Have you been to Petra? Karnak really looks quite amazing.
The fact that you went to Egypt by yourself is quite amazing.
Yes that's the site for Memphis Tours, and I dealt entirely with Mrs. Marwa Samir before I left the US (and have since contacted her about a possible trip to Morocco). You figured out the right slide! Just like the later Greek gods and goddesses, the Egyptian ones could also take on other forms. I'm not so sure why Isis decided to be a bird, unless it was to deceive nasty Seth before he could try to do in Osiris once again. Interestingly, since Egypt was always described as Red Land (desert, west side of Nile) and black land (silted east side of the Nile), after Seth eventually lost his battle with Horus he was made the god of chaos, the desert, etc. So Osiris and his son Horus won out in the end. All pharaohs had many names, including a Horus-name.
I've been to Turkey three times (Istanbul twice, Ephesus/Selçuk and Kusadasi once), so I have to plans to go back. I'll be honest, Egypt is so much more appealing to me than Turkey was. I was glad I went and saw so many amazing historic and cultural sites, but I got so tired of being hassled by carpet salesmen, all the time.
I was also alone last time I went to Egypt, right before the revolution. One of the things that I think makes Egypt safer than even countries like Turkey is that except if you're just going out to the pyramids, you'll almost certainly have a guide or guides and driver. In some places the government requires it, and that has promoted stability. You are faced with regular requests for baksheesh (tips, often for nothing), but a guide minimizes that as well. Still, I often gave it because I wanted to because of the poverty I mentioned. There are about 7.15 Egyptian pounds to every dollar, so if you give someone a 5 or 10 EP note, it's just cents. But Nabil, my tour guide for the specific sites, told me not to tip people in the tombs because they're paid by the Department of Antiquities. And as you wend your way to a site, there will be constant people trying to sell you guidebooks (at least if you give in they're a whole lot cheaper than carpets ). Nabil highly approved my dark sunglasses, and said to completely ignore everyone and keep walking.
I would love to go to Petra some day, but right now because of Jordan's proximity to Syria and Iraq I'm going to put that off. So I am looking into a spring break in Morocco that includes Fez and Marrakech.
And yes, I definitely want to go back to Egypt, though I prefer Upper (southern) Egypt to Cairo and the north. I still have to visit Abu Simbel and would love to take a Nile cruise.
I don't know if a word attachment will work, but I will try. I am writing my next book on the History of Fear (thematically) from Antiquity to 1888. I'll try to attach the syllabus. Ok, that didn't work, so I'm just going to paste it:
Larissa Taylor Spring 2015
X5330, 249 Miller Ofc Hrs. T9:30-12:45;
THE HISTORY OF FEAR IN EUROPE, 1300-1900
"Fear is the emotional response to the perception of an alternating loss of control and regaining of control. By 'control' I mean any conscious act of mind and body. The alternation between control and lack of it must occur in varying degrees of intensity and inconsistent periods of time. This alternation insures an element of surprise and keeps the perceiver off balance emotionally so that he cannot construct a set of mental expectations and thereby reimpose control." David R. Saliba, A Psychology of Fear: The Nightmare Formula of Edgar Allan Poe (Lantham, MD: University Press of America, 1980).
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes ...” (Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933)
President Roosevelt issued that statement to reassure a frightened nation. The premise of the statement is both accurate and inaccurate. Throughout history, fear has been a personal and collective response to internal and external stimuli that are often all too real. The recent Ebola scare in the United States exemplifies both rational and irrational fear as well as its propagation by modern media.
Fear of death, disease, heresy, religious differences, and random killings have all kindled responses based on actual events. At the same time, Roosevelt understood that uncontrollable fear could influence and even create history. While personal fears and phobia exist on a daily basis for many people, why do some events in history provoke large-scale fear that not only paralyzes but also causes irrational and (usually) destructive responses? In such events, why are specific people or groups of people blamed and targeted? How are they identified?
This seminar will explore how the psychology of fear combined with different forms of communication, rumor and media influenced and even changed the course of European history in the medieval and early modern period. Case studies from 1321 to 1888 begin with the monsters of antiquity and continue with responses to pandemic disease; persecution of homosexuality; religious fear and hatred; misogyny and demonology; xenophobia; fear of the supernatural; misogyny; and serial killings. We will look at the actual ‘events’ as well and analyze how changing communications from oral to semiliterate to journalistic culture predisposed women and men to marginalize those outside the religious, sexual, ethnic, medical, national, and socioeconomic 'norms' of society at a given time and place. In those times, the ‘other’ becomes the focus of fear.
BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
John Aberth, The Black Death
Stephen Asma, On Monsters
Paul Barber, Vampires, Burial and Death: Folklore and Reality
Brothers Grimm, Fairy Tales 1st Edition
Ronnie Po-chia Hsia, The Myth of Ritual Murder: Jews and Magic in Reformation
Richard Jones, Uncovering Jack the Ripper’s London
Joseph Klaits, Servants of Satan
Guido Ruggiero, The Boundaries of Eros: Sex Crime and Sexuality in
Four response papers (600-900 w0rds, 40%)
Final 25-40 page paper (40%) due electronically May 16
Presentations and class participation (20%)
Attendance is mandatory
Grading Policies for Response Papers and Research Paper
Your grades will be based on the following:
A = all of the above
B = most of the above
C = lacks significant elements of the above
D = lacks most of the above
F = no evidence of effort or understanding of the material
My students are expected to follow a personal honor code. Unfortunately, there have been cases of plagiarism in the History Department in the past few years. To clarify what is and is not plagiarism, please refer to the following:
To plagiarize is 1) to steal and use the writings and ideas of another as one’s own; 2) to appropriate passages or ideas from another and use them as one’s own (American Heritage Dictionary). It includes:
*Mark Hellstern, et al, The History Student Writer’s Manual(Saddle River, NJ, 1988), p. 121. You should consult style manuals for details on how to cite material.
Plagiarism will not be tolerated in this course - any student who plagiarizes material from any source will receive an automatic F.
Encyclopedias (including Wikipedia) may not be used as sources for papers.
Citation style must be based on footnotes and bibliography in the Chicago Manual of Style.
Readings must be done before each class meeting.
Asma, On Monsters, Parts I & II
Aberth, The Black Death (all)
M. Barber, “Lepers, Jews and Moslems: The Plot to
Overthrow Christendom in 1321,” History (1981) [Moodle]
March 3 SEXUAL ‘CRIME’ IN RENAISSANCE ITALY
Ruggiero, The Boundaries of Eros (all)
March 10 ANTI-JUDAISM AND ITS RESULTS
Po-Chia Hsia, The Myth of Ritual Murder (all)
March 17 THE UNDEAD
Barber, Vampires, Burial and Death (all)
March 24 SPRING BREAK
March 31 THE WITCH CRAZES
Klaits, Servants of Satan (all)
April 7 ?SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
April 14 ‘FEARY’ TALES
Grimm, Fairy Tales (selections divided up)
April 21 WHITECHAPEL 1888
Jones, Uncovering Jack the Ripper’s London (all)
April 28 EPILOGUE: FEAR IN THE MODERN WORLD
Asma, On Monsters, Part III & IV
May 5 PRESENTATIONS
PAPERS DUE ELECTRONICALLY MAY 16
Plagiarism is becoming an even worse problem than in the past. Students don't get it that they just can't copy what someone else wrote -- or even worse, wikipedia or encyclopedia articles. You sound like an excellent parent!
Well, even if you can't get to central Maine, you can read the books and send me your thoughts .
Hey, I'm trying. Like most parents, we only have so much time to instill values and kindness in them! He's a good kid though -- he won the school spelling bee last week so now we're prepping for the state final in Concord in February. Well, right this minute we're watching Sons of Liberty, that 3 part series. I'm loving it and so is he. That's where they are in social studies class at the moment.
I do want to read at least a few of those books! Thanks for the syllabus. Have a great night!!!
You sound like the kind of parent all professors love, Sledchick! (And I too won the PA spelling bee long long ago...)
Unfortunately, too many kids come in from very privileged backgrounds and simply expect A's without having to do anything to get them. That's been my biggest problem. Any student who wants to improve writing, analysis, or interpretation I will work with endlessly, but one who comes in with a graded paper and says "Why did I get a B+?" without ever having read my comments soon becomes persona non grata. Your son does not sound at all like that kind of student.
The winds are starting to die down a little, though they've said the snow won't stop before at least 4am. I happily have a carport and my car is small compared to the SUVs in the carports around me, so it looks barely affected. By the same token, there are a few cars in the apt complex general parking lot that I can no longer see at all -- they are just white lumps.
Here are some slides of Karnak Temple, which along with Luxor Temple comprises much of the east bank of Luxor (the side of the living). Much of the building at Karnak happened during the reign of 'king' Hatshepsut (there was no separate name for a female ruling pharaoh). She ruled Egypt for 21-22 years of prosperity and expansion, launched a huge building program, expeditions to faraway places, etc. Other pharaohs who added to the temple were her stepson Thutmose III, Amenhotep III and Ramses 'the Great.' The temple complex is spectacular. It includes the avenue of the ram-headed sphinks, the hypostyle hall, the sacred lake, the great scarab, two obelisks of Hatshepsut, one of which was broken in half by her stepson and still lies on its side.
WOW! Outstanding pictures of your trip to Egypt. I have to admit that I have been mesmerized by these photos and have viewed them a number of times. The trip report that you have produced is amazing. Thank you for taking the time while battling through your illness to enlighten and inform us.
Thanks, gm1! I'm glad you enjoyed them! I wish more people would go to Egypt -- it is quite stable now (except for the Sinai) and at no point did I ever feel unsafe. Quite the opposite -- the Egyptians I met all went out of their way to do anything they could to make my trip the best possible. And I want to reiterate that the sites, some more than 4000 years old, are beyond anything I have ever seen elsewhere.