Our last day was spent again poolside soaking up the rays.
We did a little shopping but to be honest I was spent on all the negotiating you need to do in this country. I think you have to either just suck it up that you’re going to get ripped off in every situation (which you do in every other part of the world – it’s just that you can’t negotiate the price anywhere else) or don’t go shopping. After reflecting on the whole purchasing situation here, I’ve decided a few things:
- If you are traveling alone or with one other person, negotiating a price and playing the game can benefit you.
- If you are traveling with kids or parents, it’s really not worth the time and energy spent trying to get the absolute best bargain. I’d rather be at the beach or pool thank you very much.
- If the venders are yelling at you, you’ve obviously gone too far and now it’s almost an insult to them.
- Yes items should be cheaper in Egypt then here (Switzerland or Canada) but they’re coming out of a revolution and they could probably use our money and it will help boost their economy and help their families.
And a few words of advice to people traveling to this country with kids:
- Find out ahead of time if you will need something for your baby to sleep in.
- Out of all our entire family, every single one of us got Montezuma’s Revenge EXCEPT for the wee babe. Consider eating baby food and drinking bottled water ONLY while you’re in Egypt.
- Take a car seat and don’t be tempted to skip buckling her in. The Egyptian’s don’t drive with their headlights on in the dark as they feel the roads are bright enough. They only use them to signal to other cars on the road and this happens constantly.
- A baby carrier is probably going to be too hot to carry a baby in.
- Naps will probably be inconsistent or non-existent.
- All efforts of sleep training your baby will be gone by the time you get back and you’ll have to start all over again.
We had a la carte for our last night at the resort but what was funny about this was that it was “a la carte” but the carte was fixed. Have you ever heard of such a thing?!?!?
The next day we took a bus to get to the airport. By the way, in Hurghada, there is an airport tax to get into the airport. Nothing to get out. So it seemed like a scam when we were negotiating the price for transportation to the airport but it’s not. I won’t even get into how long it took for us to negotiate the price of the bus and the plethora of different options to get to the airport (1 car with all our stuff and all 7 of us piled in there sitting on top of each other, 1 car two times to the airport and double the price, or the bus that they finally told us about after my SIL negotiated with them for a half an hour. Ugh!!)
The flight was great.
And then we arrived at immigration in Switzerland.
Everything was supposed to go smoothly. My hubby had done paperwork after paperwork making sure that the wee babe was recognized as being Swiss (but she didn’t have a Swiss passport, just Canadian), he got the visa for the tweenager (she’s got a Canadian passport) but we weren’t in possession of it (it was supposed to be in the system), and I was travelling on my British passport and according to the money we paid for me, the permit was also supposed to be in the system.
I guess since it had been 2.5 months since we had entered into Switzerland, the guard thought that maybe we were trying to leave for a week and get some fresh 3 month stamps on our passport so we could stick around another 3 months. He was an obnoxious jerk. He kept telling us nothing that was supposed to be in the system was. He was looking at a different system then the system that has our paperwork in (that we paid a lot of money to make sure we had in place before we left). My hubby and him argued back and forth and he was being a huge jackass…
They were obviously speaking in French and I was following along. Finally I butted in (in English) and asked him to call the place in Vevey that we had done all our paperwork through. He cut me off and started waving his finger around saying “no English! Only French!!”
So after they went back and forth for a couple of more minutes I asked in French “What are our options?” He said “You either stay here at the airport or go back to Canada.”
I began to shake. It felt a little like my trip to Vancouver after coming back from Amsterdam. So powerless. Thoughts of our apartment in Vevey and not seeing it or the lake again for a few years started flooding through my mind. How abruptly we would be ending our trip here. How soon I was going to be seeing my family again. The tweenager’s school… All the stuff that needed to get packed up. It was a little too much to handle.
Finally, after my hubby and the guard argued a bit more, the guard finally said that he was going to stamp our passports and we had 15 days to figure it out or we were considered illegally in Switzerland. Can you believe it. I’m not sure what I was more pissed at… how we had tried so hard to have all the right paperwork in place and paid a lot of money to do so only to have immigration’s system to not be the same as the one we were in, or the fact that when I had asked what our options were, he just said what he said to scare the shit out of me and there was actually one other option that he was neglecting to tell us.
I should apologize to my tweenager now for her having to hear all the foul words that came out of my mouth after we left his sight. I won’t repeat them here but I was pissed.
And now that we’re back, we had the necessary paperwork in our hands now so if we ever want to go to France or Italy this trip, we can do so legally. Oh and on the bright side, the permits are for 5 years so we could technically stay here for 5 years now. And it allows the tweenager and I to work here if we want to. Bonus. Don’t worry friends, family and colleagues back in Canada, we’re still coming back home in January
Anyway, that rounds out our trip to Egypt. A shitty ending. That’s for sure. Although I must say, we had a wonderful dinner back at my in-law’s house after we returned so I didn’t need to cook, and I was really thankful for that.
Since all I ate while I was there was potatoes, rice, bread and pasta (ok, I ate some fish and chicken) I felt like a huge potato. So I have been doing a “cleanse” since we’ve been back and I haven’t eaten any rice or pasta. I’ve been trying to eat salads, veggies and fruit soley but have splurged on potatoes and definitely cheese. I’ve tried to up my intake of water in order to get rid of the back bacteria that was occupying my body.
When I get back to Canada I’m going to do a proper cleanse probably for parasites. I’ve tried to look here for something but they either don’t have it or I’m looking in the wrong spot.
All in all Egypt was amazing. The history, architecture, the people, the scenery – it was all stunning. Would I do it again? For sure, but probably not for another ten years now.