Terrorists, spies and I

It is interesting to see the different approach to foreigners in Egypt (more specifically in Luxor), compared to how we have been treated during the past year in Sudan.

In Sudan, we were forever having to ask permission to leave Khartoum and our every move questioned. I must have been arrested at least half a dozen times for such heinous crimes as actually standing on the wrong piece of concrete at the wrong time, and looking in a wholly inappropriate direction.

Our presence in Luxor, by contrast, is wholeheartedly welcomed by the authorities here, who clearly see the importance of tourism to the local economy. Interestingly, the authorities go even further and eye with a surprising level of suspicion other Egyptians milling around. It is them, not us, that are searched, stopped and questioned when trying to enter certain places. They are certainly not allowed in our hotel without a very good reason. We have even seen the local Egyptians stopped and ID’d when going down to the quay, whereas we are happily welcomed and smiled at. How genuine this is, I am not too sure, but the difference certainly adds to the pleasure of our stay. Not had the chance to find out what the Egyptians think of this reversal of prejudice.

One may, at this juncture, like to cast one’s mind back to the Luxor massacre of 1997, as well as other such terrorist acts, to understand the authorities’ current view of foreigners.

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One Response to “Terrorists, spies and I”

  1. Colin Cartmell-Browne Says:

    Could it be the simple fact that Egypt recognises the need for tourism to aid its economy? If something happens to the tourists- they stop coming.

    This certainly seemed true of Kenya when we went there for our honeymoon. The costal village of Watamu was/is almost totally reliant on the hotels for their livelyhoods with everyone either directly working in the hotel or indirectly by providing foodstuffs etc.

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