Judy in Egypt, epilogue: Safety is first

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NEW YORK -- I'm back from my Egypt sojourn, with memories of great food, hospitable people and incredible sights, as well as a newfound love for the cradle of civilization.

Although safety was a dominant concern prior to my departure -- there was a State Dept. announcement in effect during my stay -- I felt very safe for the duration of my trip. Hotels have made security a top priority; all guests must pass through metal detectors upon entering, and security guards were posted at the doors. This might be a bit disconcerting for some travelers, but the added precautions put me at ease.

The temples also were well guarded, with security personnel at checkpoints and plainclothes armed guards walking among the crowds.

Also, as I stated in early reports, an armed guard traveled incognito with us during our sightseeing excursions. We forgot he was there after the first day; he became a silent member of our group.

I was told that it is a common for tour companies to hire guards in this capacity, Children of Egyptbut I would recommend that agents check with operators before sending clients.

What I appreciated most during my stay in Egypt were comments emailed to me by Crossroads members.

I got my first message after filing my initial report. Bill Maloney, CTC, of WAM Associates in Park Ridge, N.J., wrote, "Judy, I enjoyed your first article on Egypt. I look forward to the rest of the stories on Crossroads. My own trip there was one of the most memorable in my life... Good luck and have a ball... Please don't forget to write." Such encouragement made it easier to chronicle my journey.

Days later, Kathy Schlitzer of Uniglobe Action Travel in Minnis, Mass., wrote, Judy gets a tat!"I am enjoying your travelogue very much. For me, it is timely. My 76-year-old mother and I are leaving for Egypt on Feb. 18... I look forward each day to your comments and suggestions and will bring the articles with me when we travel... I'll look for the henna tattooers -- sounds like something to bring home! Thanks again for your daily chronicle."

Regarding the State Department announcement, Bob Poland of Certified Vacations in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., wrote, "Just got back from our trip to Egypt... Have just spent the last little while reading your dispatches, and it has been like returning all over again. We, too, are very glad that we decided to go in spite of the [announcement]. Never once did we feel at all uncomfortable or unsafe. We unfortunately did not get to Abu Simbel, but after your description, it will definitely be on the next itinerary (and, yes, there will surely be another trip to this fabulous destination). Thanks again for your great reporting on your trip."
Thanks to these and all the readers who offered their encouragement and enthusiasm via email during my trip. Abu SimbelTraveling is a shared experience, and the Internet fosters this sharing, allowing for immediacy and intimacy not possible in other media. I appreciated the dialogue Crossroads facilitated, and I hope you'll all be reading when I undertake my next on-line adventure!

Now that you're at the end, go back to the beginning of the Judy in Egypt series. Check out the first installment, Day 1: Cairo and the Pyramids
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