Just got back from Egypt which was a wonderful vacation but some very disturbing things occurred while we were there. One night, while we were in Cairo, we woke up to gun shots. Our hotel host was amazing and grabbed his gun and barred the doors to make sure nothing happened to us. We later found out to western girls were walking around at 3 in the morning and were getting harassed and groped . They eventually ran into some shops which resulted in a crowd gathering and some fighting. Later while we were there we met an Aussi named Jeff in the western desert and then met up with him again while we were in Cairo. We went down south but he stayed up in Cairo where some horrible events transpired. His account, that he posted on Facebook, is below, read it if you would like. It is very similar to this account- “Please God. Please make it stop.” that happened around the same time. Which is very similar to what happened to a reported last year.
None of this happened to us but we defiantly noticed we were harassed a lot less when my wife wore a headscarf. If you are a women it is best to cover up, even in the the 100+ F 40+ C weather. As Jeff says at the end of his account, “Egypt ….. it’s f#€king amazing!!!” and you should still visit. However, if you are women I would highly recommend that you avoid any squares or gatherings. At the moment Egypt is going through a real rough patch, which is a real shame. I had doubts about posting this has their economy desperately needs tourism. Yet, what is happening should not be tolerated and people need to know to be safe. If you know any women traveling to Egypt tell them to stay with tour groups and do not go out at night EVEN WITH FRIENDS. It is still worth visiting but you must be very careful.
Here is Jeff’s account-
I just returned from an eight day visit to Cairo ….. totally amazing ….. however …. before I get to the good stuff I feel obligated to send out this warning!!! ….. if you intend to visit Egypt or know of anyone who is please read this. This was my second trip to Egypt ….. the first was an organized tour visiting all the magnificent monuments and sights Egypt has to offer ….. it was totally spectacular and totally safe!!! This mystical place was so fascinating that I decided to return to Cairo to learn more about the Egyptian people …… to delve into their culture and their way of life.
They say be careful for what you ask for ….. too true ….. I got a little more than I bargained for!!
I had been in Cairo for six days and had spent many, many hours in Tahrir Square experiencing and soaking up the passionate atmosphere of a repressed people rallying , protesting and fighting for their freedom desperate to escape from the former Mubarak dictatorship and now from the Egyptian Army’s dictatorship!! I felt totally safe within the square and was never threatened ….. if anything it was the opposite ….. I took many photos ….. many locals posing for me …. encouraging me to show the world their plight!! I felt total compassion for these people and in this moment I was accepted ….. for this I became complacent!!!
In Egypt I have met many , many wonderful loving people ….. but it also has a very , very seedy underbelly ….. one that is well hidden …. but one that is ever present. So this night seven of us in total …. including two locals ….. were enjoying ourselves out ….. we had visited a cafe to smoke a couple of sisha’s …. as you do …… had a quick bite to eat …. a beer at a local bar ….. then decided to see what was happening at the square. The mood at the square was peaceful and calm so we relaxed and enjoyed the moment. As we left the square I became aware of the attention that the girl who was with us was receiving.By our standards she was conservatively dressed ….. the locals thought otherwise ….. in an instant she was attacked by a mob …… and I mean a mob of frenzied young men trying to grope and force themselves upon her.
Out of controll they came from all directions hooting and hollowing and encouraging others to join them ……. I never imagined that such animalistic behavior …. such barbaric behavior could be possible!!! Many vender operators and locals stepped in to help us but we were helplessly outnumbered. We were backed onto a fence which we somehow managed to climb and ran to a hotel ….. the staff managed to slam the doors in time to stop the mob ….. the girl and three of us made it in ……. half a dozen locals also got through who we thought were trying to help us. The hotel was on the top floor so we started running up the seedy …. dark stairwell. Half way up we realized the true intent of the men supposedly helping us. We then had to defend the girl and ourselves from these men in the stairwell …… this was an ugly …. ugly scene …… their intent was clear ….. they had absolutely zero respect or compassion for this girls integrity ….. their intent at the very least was brutal gang rape ….. I can’t make light of this ….. I do apologise for my frankness to the girl in question ….. but I feel compelled to send out this warning so that hopefully no one else will make the same foolish mistakes that we did!!!
Luckily for us hotel staff arrived and helped us to hold the men at bay as the girl made it to the “safety ” of the hotel. At this point we had no idea of who we could trust!!! We were basically barred up in the hotel as there was still a mob of men gathering around the front doors of the hotel. For the time being we were safe …… then our next problem arose ……a couple of plain clothed men show up and sat us down and start interrogating us as being possible violators against their nation ….. these guys were probably National security or a faction of the army ….. both ruthless and corrupt. My camera was full of photo’s from Tahrir Square ….. if these had of been found we would have been in deep sh*t!! As it turns out luck was on our side that night ….. thanks mainly to our local friend and the fact that we had contacted an Embassy and freinds outside of the hotel. Hours had now passed and the crowd had dispersed ….. we were escorted to waiting taxis and taken back to our hotel.
We were foolish …… but got lucky!!!
Please pass this warning on to anyone you know visiting Egypt …. I am a huge fan of equality for females but Egypt is not the place to be defiant ….. this is not the place to let your guard down ….. and this is certainly not the place for females to travel alone or even in a group. I am not asking you to respect this barbaric behavior ……. but I am asking you to respect your safety!!! Girls when in Egypt ……. please please please cover up and dress conservatively!!! Once again ……. Egypt is an amazing place ….. certainly not to be missed …… but my advice is to stay with a tour….. 100% safe or a tour guide ……. they are fantastic and extremely economical!!! I had the pleasure of meeting some very special and amazing people ….. but like anywhere there is a bad element ….. please don’t be discouraged by this warning …… just be smarter and wiser than we were …… we brought this upon ourselves by our complacency and foolishness!!!
Lesson learnt the hard way by this little black duck …… now go out there and enjoy this mystical place called Egypt ….. it’s f#€king amazing!!! : )