1) The Heat
Oven blasted waves of stiffling heat. I swear to you, any time after 8am, the air is like being slow-roasted. If there's a wind, then the oven has the fan on. Stay in the oven too long and you need to be basted. One pours liquid down the throat as fast as possible to counter the outpouring of perspiration but it's impossible to win the battle. We got close to 60 degrees centigrade in the sun. I looked at a chart on the internet and that's around 140 degrees centigrade.
2) The Hassling
These guys in the boat came alongside our cruise boat and wanted us to buy their wares. They stayed with us for almost an hour, hassling everyone to death. At first it was amusing, then it became heavy-handed when they started to lay a guilt trip on us about our wealth versus ours. This is, unfortunately, a scene which is repeated wherever you go in Egypt. The government has tried in various ways to stop this hassling of tourists, but, as far as I could see, unsuccessfully. How many times does a tourist have to explain, as they leave, that they haven't bought something because of the constant nagging and pressure to buy? We called walking through the markets, 'running the gauntlet'. At Abu Simbel temples, the stall holders were monitored by tourist police, who wouldn't let them hassle us, so instead, they talked non-stop about how we could buy in their stalls because they wouldn't hassle us. There was no way to shut them up. Unfortunately, many of us bought few things because of this problem. It really does wear you down, especially in the heat.
3) The Tummy Bug
I call it the Tummy Bug, capitalized, because it seems everyone has a brushing acquaintance with it. Most of us didn't get it until the last few days, including me and we got it to varying degrees. Fortunately, my dose was small but did the excellent job of cleansing me out and losing the few kilos I had gained due to the over-abundance of food we were offered. Of course, it was probably the food that was the culprit, coupled together with the heat which multiplied the natural bacteria in our stomachs to an unhealthy level.
4) The Dirt on the Train
Couldn't find an appropriate photo. Not the sand and earth kind of dirt - that's fine. But the 'couldn't be bothered cleaning' dirt is what is upsetting. I have travelled far and wide and I accept different levels of hygiene according to the country and the environment and don't even think about it. In fact, that's the point - I have never thought about dirt before when travelling. But when the first class train is comfortable and spacious but filthy because it hasn't ever been cleaned, then I start to actually see it and I question why it has to be like that. Unemployment is high in Egypt and they generally employ three men to do the job of one so that they have jobs. So, what happened to the cleaners in the trains?
5) There is no number five - couldn't think of one. So I guess the positives win - big time, actually. The negatives pale into non-existence beside the beauty and glory of this country. Except the heat, that is.