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1st time meetn my family in egypt.i hav questions.pls help!

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East 1st time meetn my family in egypt.i hav questions.pls help!

1. Posted by soleeta (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

Hey Everyone!

If your spending your time looking at this thread-thanks!...and if there is any information or advice you can give me, it would be very much appreciated! :)

Okay so here's my situation; i'm leaving for egypt in 18 days!...(eeekkk)....this is a very spontanious trip-another words no planning.ek.

i was offered the opportunity to go egypt by myself for 3 months to basically meet my family there (my dad's egyptain) - though im affraid they speak very little english and i speak no arabic. :(

i have so many questions.....first off:

  • im staying for 3months--do i need a visa in egypt?
  • (i was told i can get an egyptain passport,since my dad is egyptain) is it worth getting an egyptain passport? and if yes, how do i go about getting one?!??
  • since my trip is happening at such short notice i have a limited budget for my trip. I'll stay with my family and hopefully they'll feed me.hehe....but if i was to pay for my own food,travel around egypt, visit tourist places and go out occasionally at night, how much would i spend on average a day in egypt or a month??
  • My family is muslim, though for myself i do not practise.

What am i going to expect when im in egypt? how should i dress-thats exceptable? What kind of behavior is expected?....i know these may appear as random questions, but i think it is important-since im coming from new zealand and have really no idea about the culture or expectations?

Any information about egpyt and living there or advice would be great to hear! :) thanks again for your time.

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

Be prepared for quite a culture shock.

If you are staying with your family, chances are high you'll be seeing an Egypt most tourists never encounter. You also should not plan to travel around on your own at all, your family will take care of that. They will drag you from that aunt to that uncle and to that city to meet that cousin.

Be prepared to dress very conservative (long shapeless dress down to the ankles with long sleeves and headscarf day in day out). It varies of course (among the upper classes miniskirt, strappy tops and killer heels are a must), so take your clues from your surroundings. I personally like to combine jeans or cotton pants with a long, indian-style blouse that covers my bum and has 3/4 or full sleeves.

If do manage to get away from your relatives, getting an Egyptian passport can save you ton of money on entry fees. Egpytians pay only a few cents for entry to sites, while tourists from the western world get charged 100 times as much. Having about 25 USD per day is a good budget for travelling around Egypt, in a pinch you can get around on 15 USD per day.

I strongly recommend that you pick up some books on Egypt before you go. I can recommend the Lonely Planet Egypt. I also like the books from the Culture Shock series, check whether you can get their recent Egypt issue.

BTW: How much of a culture shock it can mean when you travel to your father's country is vividly described in the books by Zana Muhsen. At the age of 15 and 13 she and her sister go to visit her father's relatives in Yemen for a holiday, but once there they find that they are trapped in an arranged marriage. Their father had been worried about them becoming too western and too much of bunch of scarlet women, he disliked them wearing make-up and miniskirts and to save his honour he sold them for 1300 British pounds.

Now I am sure your relatives will be very nice and friendly and that your father would never do that to you, but you should read the book nevertheless. It is enlightening on what you can expect living in a rural village in the Middle East.

3. Posted by faisalr (Budding Member 19 posts) 8y

With due respect and regard to the advice given I just wanted to share the little knowledge I know on the rights a Muslim girl enjoys in the marriage process and is guaranteed in the Islamic / Sharia Law :-

A. During the marriage contract process:-

A. 1. The lady (bride) is asked first (3 times) if she is willing to marry the person (Groom). If she says "No" no authority in the world can force a marriage or change in decision on her.

A. 2. She is also entitled to request a financial guarantee (Mehr) from the husband any amount or item of monetary value which will remain her property and the husband cannot claim any right on it (mostly even incase of divorce). Incase the husband fails to fulfill this requirement on immediate basis then again the bride has the full right to say “No”.

B. During the marriage if the couple is collectively working then the wife has full right on every penny the man earns whereas he does not enjoys any right on a single penny the wife earns. However, socially and usually they come to an understanding of better running the financial affairs of their family/home collectively.

C. Incase of a separation the child maintenance expenses are to be borne by the father /ex-husband.

Please note that the above is just common knowledge rather than scholarly / expert ones.

Regards,

Faisal

4. Posted by wotthefiqh (Inactive 1447 posts) 8y

I would hope Faisal's post about marriage, sharia law and child support was written 'tongue in cheek'.

Glad you aren't going to Somalia- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7694397.stm

As far as I can find out, you should have automatic Egyptian citizenship because your father is Egyptian, so getting an Egyptian passport might be relatively straight-forward.
I presume you will be travelling with a NZ passport, so I suggest that you contact (or visit) the NZ embassy in Cairo ASAP on arrival and give them your residential address and family details.
I would also get their emergency number for NZ citizens who find themselves in trouble in Egypt.
Egypt is a great country to visit, and Dahab might be a welcome relief from any culture shock you experience.
Sounds like the making of one, or more, award-winning TP blogs.

Enjoy

Anthony

5. Posted by safa (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

yeah, i tend to agree with wotthefiqh (anthony)... arranged marriages occur, regardless of what Sharia says.

egypt is a conservative society. some tourists have been know to dress extremely inappropriately, you may see some of the attire and it's really in blatant ignorance or disregard for the country that they're in. this plus the behavior that some tourists exhibit have led to some men perceiving western women as being a 'certain' way, if you know what i mean.

i'd say, stick to modest clothing and avoid the low cut necklines... follow the lead of your family. not all muslim women in egypt wear hijab and compared to other places such as Saudi Arabia where there is a strict dress code, women are usually encouraged to make the choice to wear hijab when they're ready to make that commitment. that of course varies depending on the family, their class, education, where they live etc.

in no way is it appropriate for a man who is a stranger to you, to touch you.

pre-marital sex is taboo. it still does occur although not like the way it does in New Zealand or Australia. women living with a partner out of wedlock is seen a lot differently in Egypt to say how Australians would see it. women marry younger in Egypt (median age is around 20 compared to say Australia which is 29-30).

last but not least, the most useful word to start learning...

La2 shoukran - no thank you... :)

Egyptians are very warm, friendly people with a sense of humor that i think you will be able to appreciate. i wish you all the best in your travels!!

Safa