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Cairo

Ultimate Invitation to Egypt

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Some trips start with a detailed travel plan, and some don’t. Most of my trips don’t have detailed trip plans because I want to leave them open for spontaneous decisions. Spontaneous activities are great because of the interesting people I meet while traveling. Sometimes being flexible delivers the Ultimate Invitation to Egypt. Meaning the amazing people help that create my memories make the Ultimate Invitation to Egypt. The people I meet take me to places I never dreamt I would see. Most people aren’t comfortable being spontaneous when traveling. Most travelers want to fill every minute with activities. However, I find it exciting to be spontaneous and to go with the flow. Because of this mindset, I received a safe invitation to visit Cairo, Egypt. This is my travel story about my Amazing Invitation to Cairo, Egypt.

All About My Safe Invitation to Egypt

Being safe is always top of my mind. I must feel safe when I travel. These days safety and security are paramount. I don’t recommend taking unnecessary risks while traveling. I prefer to take advantage of the opportunities in life worth pursuing. My story about how I received a safe invitation to Egypt from my friends, an exceptional Egyptian family is still one of the best travel experiences I have ever had.

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

Sometimes one trip can lead to another. When I am traveling, people invite me to visit their country. However, they don’t usually mean it. Individuals who invite me sometimes don’t mean “come and stay with me” but mean “you should see my country, someday”  A lovely woman and her mother offered to host me in Cairo. They extended an offer to be my tour guide, stay in their flat, and experience life in their country like a local. An invitation like this is unusual, to say the least. But the funny thing is, this is totally the truth.

How did my invitation to Egypt come to be?

I received this beautiful invite because I became friends with Rana and her mother.  They noticed that my friend Sandy and I were not being treated very well by our tour guide in Turkey. Rana was not happy about our treatment, at all! She told the tour guide straight up it wasn’t acceptable.

 My Story Starts

It all started when we joined a tour in Turkey. Sandy, a friend of mine from Florida, and I were seeing the sites in Istanbul.

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

In Istanbul, Sandy joined me for part of my trip. We had tried to travel together ever since we met in Spain at the America’s Cup. She was a photographer’s assistant, and I wrote for a local magazine. My articles were about the business of yacht racing at the America’s Cup which kept me there for six weeks. so Sandy and I got to know each other pretty well. Sandy came to Istanbul and used up all of her savings getting there. My memories of her on this trip are special memories full of fun, and we built a friendship of a lifetime.

Sandy came to Istanbul and used up most of her savings getting there. My memories of her on this trip are special. My memories are full of fun. We built a friendship of a lifetime. Travel does that – it either makes a friendship better or breaks it.

Traveling with Another Person

Since Sandy and I were traveling together, I did things a little differently to accommodate the type of trip she likes. She wanted to take local tours which I don’t usually do. I often hop on a ferry, or bus and go with a guidebook and wander around. However, Sandy wanted to take two tour packages. She wanted to do something more structured. We decided on the tours so we could see the most interesting places in Istanbul.

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

We bought an Istanbul bus tour through our hotel that included the Chora Church and a Bosphorus Boat Tour. Unfortunately, our tours did not go as planned.

Tour Through Istanbul

Bosphorus Boat Tour

We took the first tour on the second day of Sandy’s visit and met Rana and her mother. After a short time on the bus, we started hanging out and chatting throughout the morning.

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

When it was lunchtime, the ladies noticed that the guide wasn’t being helpful to us and was instead being nasty. Nasty to the point that we never got a meal! Rana’s mom said something to the tour guide, but things didn’t change or improve.  Eventually, as everyone was ready to leave, we got our meals. They asked if this happens regularly to us? The situation wasn’t typical for me and especially not for Sandy. This behavior was strange and obvious enough that the other ladies noticed it. While we were in Istanbul, no one was mean to Sandy. Sandy had people showering her with kindness and gifts.

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

Bosphorus Boat Tour

The next day we scheduled the boat tour. When we entered the little tour boat, we were surprised and delighted to see Rana and her mother sitting in the front. We sat near them and started catching up. For some reason, Sandy and I were again treated a little differently than the rest of the tour group. Rana and her mom noticed the slights directed at Sandy and me. Maybe, it was because we weren’t like the other guests. We were clearly American. It wasn’t the tour company’s fault but the tour guide – he ignored us and treated us like we were second rate citizens. For example, they “forgot” to serve us tea. This is a big slight, extremely unpolite and shows disrespect, especially on a tour in Turkey.

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

They became our advocates on all things that mattered such as our tea service, lunch service, and the time we were given to take photos. More importantly, we quickly became friends because of the second tour. They were our advocates.

Travel Tip: To avoid the hassle we experienced, book using my friend Filiz at Travel Planners Turkey or [email protected]

The Fresco’s on the Walls of Chora

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

New Opportunities

Because we took these two tours, a new opportunity came my way through the friendship created with Rana and her mother. I was invited to see Egypt, with them as my guide – including staying in Rana’s mother’s flat!

Safe and Secure Invitation to Egypt

Sandy had to go back to Florida. I stayed on in Istanbul. We set a date for my trip to Cairo, Egypt. As time got closer to my departure from Istanbul to Egypt, I heard from Rana that the flat was rented. Rana said don’t worry, I could stay at their family home.

My theory about staying with other people in their home is ‘it’s’ not a good idea. People are set in their ways and routines, staying with them is disruptive to their routines. I never want to burden my hostess.

Travel Tip: Guests are like fish, after three days they get stinky. It’s time to throw them out.

Would I Overstay My Welcome?

I decided not to worry – but had a backup plan. I booked a room at a hotel in case things didn’t go as planned. Again, Rana insisted I stay with her for the whole trip. It would be easier for them if I stay with them because the traffic in Cairo is terrible – insanity on four wheels!

I didn’t want to insult my hostess and her hospitality. So my invitation to Cairo now included my friends as my tour guide, a home to stay in, and meals with my host family.

Heading to Cairo during Byram and Feast of Eid, I knew virtually nothing about Islam and Muslim traditions. I was about to learn a lot. The experience to participate in Egyptian life first hand was an opportunity of a lifetime.

Think of this as couch surfing – this is the ultimate couch-surfing experience or better.

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

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