What I’m doing on my summer vacation

I know it’s a little early for most people, but I’ve been thinking about my summer vacation for quite a while now. I mean, I get two months off, being a teacher and all (and just so you know, I do NOT get paid during that time, so there!). I can’t just sit around the house, eating bonbons and watching that horrible daytime TV. No, that would drive me insane. I must GO somewhere.

So I am. And DD is coming with me. And as of this week, the whole damn thing is finally paid for, except for spending money. This has taken some foresight and planning, believe me. This is because of where we are going. We are going to –
TA DAH!

EGYPT!

This has been a long-cherished dream of mine, and it is now actually going to happen. The only downside is that we’re going in July, so it might be a bit warm. However, we survived Greece and Istanbul last summer, so I’m sure we’ll handle Egypt fairly well. We know how to do it.

Oh, and the other downside is that we are going on a tour. I. Don’t. Like. Tours. I don’t like being forced to spend all my waking hours with the same people for however long (two weeks, in this case), being herded here and there, having to eat in “approved” tourist trap restaurants, being dragged into this or that shop because the tour guide gets a cut of whatever we spend there. I hate having to be a good sport – a “team player” – all the time, too.

No.

However (and this is a big one), Egypt’s tourist infrastructure is not exactly well-developed. It can be difficult to get from Point A to Point B, particularly if you’re a non-Muslim woman from the West who doesn’t speak Arabic or understand the whole tipping (baksheesh) thing. Or if you’re two of those women. After a fair bit of research, I came to the conclusion that for DD and I, a tour would be the best option. And I even found a tour company that caters to smaller groups (the maximum size is 15 people), doesn’t cost an arm and a leg because the accommodation is NOT North American style 5-star, and most importantly, allows a lot of free time.

Sounds like a win-win situation to me, so I booked us in. I’m so excited!

Do you have any summer plans yet? I do! Did I mention that I’m going to Egypt?!?

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14 responses to “What I’m doing on my summer vacation

  1. VioletSky – Everyone I know who has been to Egypt (admittedly, only about four people) has gone on a tour, so that must just be the way it is. I will suck it up and do the tour, but I do hate being a lemming-like follower!

  2. Having just seen the King Tut exhibit at the AGO last month, I’m all into Egypt. Yay for you!

    I have a teacher friend who went there last year on some kind of teacher tour group she travels with every year and was very glad to be part of a tour (for safety reason and ease of transport)

  3. That is awesome! I hate being forced into a bus full of tourists and dragged around a foreign place too! But since the company you picked uses smaller groups, it might not be so bad!

    Take lots of pics for us!! 🙂

    • XUP – Will do! Check your email …

      Pauline – We’ll see how the tour goes. I suppose there’s a chance that I may be so thrilled with the pyramids and tombs and other antiquities that the whole tour thing might be great. A chance. A very tiny chance. And yes, there will likely be WAY too many photos!

  4. Can you name your tour company? If you don’t want to do it here, maybe you could email it to me: urbanpedestrian@gmail.com? It does sound pretty comprehensive. Thanks

  5. Oh boy! Egypt is XUP Jr.’s number one place she wants to visit. Every vacation she asks if we can go to Egypt. I’ve looked at various ways of doing this trip and they’re all pretty pricey. Like you, I hate tours, but it just seems too sketchy to do on our own. I was even thinking of a cruise that stops in various ports in that general neck of the woods. HOWEVER, I will be following your adventures with this tour with great interest. And I’ll be asking you for details when you get back.

    • XUP – My original idea was a Nile cruise, but what we’re getting on this tour is a bit of everything. We do have a three-day Nile cruise, but we also travel by mini-bus, overnight train, and plane. And really, most people want to see the same things, so from my research, pretty much every tour covers virtually the same territory. It does seem to boil down to how much money and time you want to spend. That being said, I think we’re getting a lot of bang for our – well, my – buck with this particular tour. Except for airfare, which is separate. There are no deals on airfare from Vancouver. Ever.

  6. Katyboo – No, I don’t think Egypt would be a lot of fun as a family destination. There are certainly better choices, for sure. And here’s hoping I don’t murder any of the people on the tour with me. They have some pretty exacting standards to live up to – and they don’t even know it!

  7. That’s fantastic news.
    I’d love to go one day. Not ideal with children I fear. Our summer plans are all to do with economising, but saving for some excitement which hopefully might happen in the Winter.
    I think you’re wise to go on the tour, really, and I feel the same way about tours as you.

  8. Sounds like a lot of fun. I’m sure you’ll have a great time. Seeing several pyramids would be wonderful. Of course, you’ll have to get on a camel. Be brave!

    • Nora – Ooooh, I don’t know about a camel. I don’t have a friendly history with llamas (much as I like them), and camels seem quite similar. Still, you never know what opportunity will present itself!

  9. Wow! Egypt. How cool… One day I’ll go there.

    • Wenderina – If I wasn’t a teacher, I would most certainly be doing this trip in April or May or even September. I would do all my trips then, actually. Still, if it’s a choice between travelling in the summer or not travelling, it’s pretty clear for me: go in the summer and damn the heat! And I’m sure I’ll have tons of stories – the culture is so different there that I’m bound to embarrass myself frequently!

      Jazz – I still can’t wrap my mind around the prospect of seeing the Pyramids and the Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings at Luxor and all that really, really ancient stuff for real! In the past, I have seen a couple of amazing Egyptian exhibits at the Louvre in Paris and at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, but to actually be in Egypt will definitely be cool.

  10. That is so exciting. Now I have something to look forward to as well…the stories you’ll bring back! We have been planning to go to Venice in July (but may be delaying until Sept). We are not on the teacher/kids schedule so considering the post prime tourist season as a better option for us.