While there is no disputing that the wonders of Ancient Egypt are absolutely amazing and well worth the trip: Modern Egypt leaves a lot to be desired.
The Egyptians rely (or used to anyway) on tourism as one one of their primary sources of income. Their tourist industry is currently in ruins and the banks of the Nile are lined with hundreds of decommissioned, mothballed or abandoned cruise ships. Pollution is unregulated and appalling, and everywhere you look (or where we looked anyway) was a rubbish tip.
Following various “terrorist attacks” on tourist sites during the past few decades they have increased security for all sites, and anywhere that tourists might want to go, to absurdly paranoid and sometimes stifling proportions. Everywhere we went we were accompanied by a combination of police, military, special forces and swat teams. There was usually at least one police boat shadowing our progress down The Nile and we were shepherded around in a highly conspicuous and indiscreet “bubble”.
We were constantly assured that there was no problem or threat. Not very convincing when surrounded by a bunch of bickering heavily armed personnel in various levels of combat uniform with enough armaments (some in shambolic condition) to start a small war !!
All meals were served on board and not once during the 12 days “exploring” Egypt were we allowed out of the bubble and into a local restaurant. Even shopping was controlled and regulated and of course compulsory !!
Anyway rant over for now (may come back to it later !) and off on a 5 hr (each way) bus-ride across the Western Sahara to see the wonders of Abu Simbel. Well worth the ride and the umpteen check points that we had to negotiate on route.