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Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

England, United...
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Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

Please could we try to keep this thread as on topic as possible.

KAZL2000, other recent returnees and local residents..

Would you mind answering some questions please that may help those still planning on visitng Luxor now or in the near future. These are not just my questions but a grouping together of questions that are appearing publicly on the forums or privately through pm's, emails etc. They are asked also in the hope that they would help remove some of the speculation and rumours that have been circulating over the last week.

- Sites and Monuments etc - There have been conflicting reports of the sites being open/closed, although it would seem pretty clear that the VofK's and area is open to tourisits.

Are you aware of any changes in the sites opening times?

Are you aware of any sites, museums etc that are not open?

Are the Sound and Light shows still functioning?

- Restaurants

Are they closing early due to curfew or defying it & staying open?

Are they becoming more menu restricted?

Are prices being affected?

- Shops

Are there any noticable differences to local shops/supermarkets or tourist shops being open or closed?

Are there any noticable differences to local shops/supermarkets (or tourist shops) stock levels?

Are there any noticable differences to local shops/supermarkets or tourist shops pricing levels.

- Banks/ATM's/Currency - We are aware that the Banks have been closed for some days, although believed opened again yesterday.

Are there any changes to opening times?

Are ATM's still working?

Are there any restrictions on amount of currency exchanged/withdrawn?

Has the exchange rate changed at all or noticably?

- Curfew - we are aware that there is an official curfew but that it has not really been enforced. It does, naturally, appear to have affected Ballooning and StarGazing.

Are there any other 'Tourist' things that it has affected?

Are there any definate 'No Go' areas in Luxor East or West?

- Nile Cruises

Are they still functioning as normal?

What about the Excursions from them - Kom Ombo, Edfu etc?

- Out of Luxor excursions.

Can you still travel by road/train to Aswan?

Can you still travel by road to Hurghada?

What about any safety implications of this?

- Airport - we understand that many flights have been rescheduled and that must put extra pressure on a relatively small airport and staff.

Are there any specific problems/new security measures going into or out of the Airport?

Do you need to allow extra time to travel to the Airport?

Do you need to allow extra time to go through the check in proceedures?

On arrival, are there any problems with connecting up with Reps/Transfers etc?

Are the Food/Drink outlets functioning?

Have the Food/Drink outlet prices gone up (already expensive!)?

- Destruction of Buildings and Property. It has been reported about the destruction of certain buildings - Local Government Offices etc.

Has any of this had any effect on tourists and tourism in the Luxor and surrounding area?

- Policing of Luxor

Who is Policing Luxor, especially the tourist areas?

Has there been an increase of Police in the area?

Are the army taking an active or passive role in Luxor?

What can tourists expect to see in this regard?

-Local poeple

What is the general mood, from your perception, of the local people?

What is the general attitude of the local people towards tourists?

If you have other questions, information, suggestions, thoughts that may helpful please add them.

Gloucester, United...
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1. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

Blimey boring, come up for breath, you don't want to know much ROFL.

I just want to be sure everything is as good as it can be under the circumstances.

merseyside
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2. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

Lots of things were changing on an hour by hour basis and what I encountered even on tuesday could be different by today.

Will try my best to answer some things.

Sites and Monuments - Luxor temple I believe was closed a few days ago but on wed morning it was open as my cousin went. West Bank was open but there were very few visitors. Not aware of any time changes.

There were restaurants closed in 'Little Britain' area but I don't know if this was to do with what's happening. Friend went to Murphy's bar and was the only one there for about 2 hours.

I ate at Jamboree in the souk & Sofra a few times and didn't notice any menu restrictions at all. Prices were the same.

Souk - some shops/stalls closed. Local shops seemed to be stocked ok.

Banks - Was getting difficult to get money exchanged. The bank cashier at the hotel disappeared. Couldn't get any money changed for a few days. Shopkeepers were struggling a little with EGP currency. ATM next to El Luxor hotel was working on and off. Military were guarding it. No idea of the rate as couldn't change it via any banking system. We ended up eating in the hotel a few times and settling up in £'s. We had some LE so used that when eating out.

Airport - was a nightmare yesterday, took over 1 and half hour just to check in. Lots of people leaving due to TO's enforcing the FCO ruling. Thomson & I think TC (could be wrong on that one) are not flying out so there is going to be nobody coming in via them as far as I am aware.

Policing Luxor - Miltary are there, however police prescence was low. Whether it was just the fact that I didn't see them though I dont know. As far as I could find out the police disappeared for about 24 hours or so but were coming back.

Military were guarding the government office next to El Luxor hotel and I didn't see them elsewhere, though bear in mind I only went as far as Sofra way for the last few days.

Curfew seemed to be hit and miss. Cornich was REALLY quiet but there were a few locals on my last night.

What tourists will see -Guarding of the Government building and possibly some banks/ATM's. Obviously a lot of them are armed so guns too. Tank by the roundabout near to KFC as well.

Local People - The ones I spoke to were upset about what was happening as it also directly involves their livelihood. They were mad about some looting that had taken place and the shop owners in the souk began to take measures to make sure they were able to protect their shops.

Local's said it had nothing to do with tourists and I wasn't treated any differently anywhere.

Hope that helps a little.

England, United...
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3. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

Hi Bob,

Breathing back to normal and fingers duly massaged back from RSI! LOL!

I decided to post this way as they are very much the questions that are being asked, although I'm sure to have missed something out, and when posed in list format it, hopefully helps concentrate the focus on the answers.

Kazl2000,

Thanks for your reply.

As you point out, you can only give a response based upon your experence at the time you were there. Events are changing by the hour in Egypt, and the situation in Luxor could just as easily change.

4. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

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merseyside
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5. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

whoops copied and pasted the wrong part of the website , apologies

merseyside
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6. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

Taken from FCO site...

Further major nationwide demonstrations will take place on Friday 4 February and a general strike has been called for Sunday 6 February 2011. Previous mass demonstrations have been characterised by violence, including the use of tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets and live ammunition. All demonstrations and/or large crowds should be avoided. We advise all British Nationals unable to leave to stay indoors wherever possible.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We saw the March of Millions in Cairo on the telly in our hotel room. Luxor did the same but it seemed peaceful enough. Just a lot of men gathered by Luxor Temple with flags, banners etc. I didn't hang around for long but didn't hear of any problems later.

Gloucester, United...
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7. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

Don't worry boring, just giving you a light ribbing thats all. Some good questions and good answers from Kazz. It was just that it would have taken me days to write that post (I am a 1 finger typer).

As we are on the same flight don't forget the decent chocky bickies, I get hungry during flights LOL.

Edited: 03 February 2011, 15:48
UK/Luxor
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8. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

I will try to answer some of the questions as of tonight, Feb 3rd.

Sites and Monuments.

As far as I am aware all sites and monuments are open but the hours of opening change according to the offical curfew. For example, currently curfew is from 5pm to 8am...... Therefore sites are open from 8am to 5pm, but most people would be expected to have returned to their hotels etc before the curfew starts, as would the staff at the sites.

Due to curfew, there are no Sound and Light shows at Karnak Temple.

Restaurants

Curfew is by and large being ignored by the local population, however, many of the tourist restaurants are closing due to the lack of tourists at the moment. Local restaurants are open as normal.

Prices are not affected to the best of my knowledge, but menus are subject to change according to what is available.

Shops

Most shops are closing earlier than is normal and many of the tourist shops are opening with very limited hours, mainly during the daytime.

Stock levels in supermarkets are low for any goods that have to be delivered from Cairo. Local produce is in plentiful supply.

Pricing is as normal.

Banks

Most banks are still closed, and as tomorrow is Friday, they will remain so. ATM's are working intermittently, but the amount of cash that can be withdrawn is limited.

Exchange rates are getting slightly better every day, but obviously that can change at any time.

Curfew

Generally, for the local population, curfew is largely being ignored, although the streets are much quieter than is normal for this time of year. Shops are closing earlier which also keeps people off the streets. Also, most people do not have cash to spend. The bank closures has meant that many, many businesses including hotels and restaurants have been unable to pay their staff their January salaries. And for those who are not salaried such as the boats, taxis, caleches etc etc....... there is no business to take an income from anyway.

Stargazing and ballooning are by default cancelled for the length of the curfew. Although I did hear a rumour that the governor stated 17 balloons were flying at 5pm yesterday. Hmmmmmmmm

There are no definitive "no go" areas, but I would strongly advise visitors to avoid the police station area, the government buildings and to move in the opposite direction if large groups are seen gathering.

Nile cruises.

I did personally see 2 cruise boats leaving for Aswan yesterday with tourists on board.... I do not know the nationality of the tourists and I have no idea about visiting the temples en route, although I would suspect that Kom Ombo would be fine.

Travel by car outside of Luxor to Aswan, Hurghada etc is fine as long as it does not contravene curfew hours.

Travel to Cairo is impossible as currently there are no flights and no trains. All are cancelled with the exception of a few flights that are impossible to get tickets on.

Airport

I am sorry, but I do not know if there are any extra security measures in place, but as Luxor airport is a military airport, I would expect the army to be on duty there.

Reps...... i am aware that some reps have left Luxor, but others are here

Food and drink is pretty much as normal

Destruction

There has been some damage done to buildings in Luxor. McDonalds has had its windows broken as has the money exchange place behind the temple. I have not seen it myself, but apparently there has been damage at the police station and at the governors residence and the NDP offices in Awamia. None of which are close to tourist areas. Obviously this does have an effect on tourism itself, such as the drifting tear gas at the Sheraton Hotel, and also at the El Luxor which is next door to the Council offices.

Policing

The normal tourist police are still here and are policing all tourist areas including the sites. They did actually disappear from the streets for a time, but are back now. Traffic police are also operating normally.

The army are now policing many of the checkpoints with the police and there are some army vehicles stationed at key areas. For example, we have a tank outside the Iberotel Hotel on the traffic island. I did see some soldiers taking egyptian kids to have a look inside it the other night!

The army do seem to be taking a passive role at the moment.

Local people

The local people generally are wanting all this over and done with. There are elements who are protesting for both sides but this is mainly in the non-tourist areas. We also have a number of "vigilantes" for the lack of a better word and while they can look intimidating with their sticks, they are actually very helpful to any foreigner.

Any tourists here at the moment could probably expect far more hospitality than normal

I hope that answers some points, I will try to keep you updated as and when I can. I am sure Edward will be on soon to add to my comments.

England, United...
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9. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

Elizabeth, thank you.

That really is a helpful overview for us all to get a clearer picture of Luxor at the moment.

Luxor, Egypt
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10. Re: Questions for KAZL2000, other returnees and local residents

I have been putting up my experiences, video clips and comments from locals on my blog Luxor News. I went from the West Bank to Luxor City to the dentist today. Accidentally drove through a demo, saw lots of normal everyday life. Scariest thing, root canal treatment at the dentist!!!!