Glad I didn’t go to Egypt this Christmas

For the last two years I have escaped the drizzle and misery of “Exmas” by going to Egypt for a week, coming back on Christmas Eve.   I stayed in the best hotel in Luxor, the Maritim Jolie Ville.  Indeed last year Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of the Egyptian president, stayed there.  I nearly fell over her (plus beefy security man) coming round a corner in the hotel.

But each time I go there, I get an upset stomach.  I’m pretty careful, but it still happens.  I’ve tended to put this down to change of climate, sudden heat, the stress of the journey and so on.  But I noticed when I went to TripAdvisor that a lot of people, in every hotel, were complaining about this.

This evening I saw a news item on the BBC (also here on Norwich Evening News):

A couple have described how a dream holiday to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary became a nightmare after they both fell ill with a potentially fatal virus.

Nine weeks after returning home from the disaster cruise Keith Kiddell is still unable to go to work because of the damage caused by a serious E coli infection.

Both he and wife Jane, both 58, were struck with the potentially fatal 0157 strain of the virus during what should have been an idyllic cruise down the Nile.

Doctors are concerned that Mr Kiddell may have suffered long-term damage as the infection spread to his arthritic knee, leaving him unable to walk steadily.

I’ve always known that the boats were sudden death.  I well remember going on a day cruise from Luxor to Dendera and back.  This was day 1 of a 4 day cruise, if you stayed; but I only did the day trip.  Everyone was tucking into the food, which looked delicious, served on spotlessly clean plates and so on. 

I knew the score.  So I ate nothing.  I was quite hungry when I got back to the hotel.

Three days later, the other cruise passengers came back, after going up to Aswan.  Apparently one and all had spent day 2 in their cabins, being sick.  That food — the same food I saw and declined — had poisoned most of them.

The only reason for this horrible series of illness is laziness and negligence in the hotels.  It can be nothing else.  There is no need for people to get sick at all, never mind contract life-threatening forms of food-poisoning!  It is purely down to carelessness by Egyptian staff.

I am glad I stayed away.  I love Egypt, but I really do not need this sort of thing.  Luxor is largely a tourist farm these days; the authorities need to get a grip on this problem.

5 thoughts on “Glad I didn’t go to Egypt this Christmas

  1. I’m very sorry for the bad experience in my country. So, we love Egypt, what should we do about something like that (i mean something like food poisonining)?
    It’s unbeleivable that a tourist destination like Egypt would welcome its guests with a hazard that ruins their whole stay in the country.
    Do all tourists suffer the same?
    I guess we need others to share their experiences to see how they manage to avoid any troubles and enjoy their vacation in Egypt.

  2. Non, ce n’est pas “laziness and negligence in the hotels” je crois que c’est uniquement du au fait que leur estomac n’est pas habitue a la delicieuse cuisine egyptienne.
    Mon fils apres quelques annees passees en Angleterre a experimente les memes troubles avant de se rehabituer a nouveau. Pour la premiere fois, il serait plus avise de ne pas trop manger.Les autres fois vous jouirez pleinement du decor..et de la cuisine. Je vous le promets

  3. Hey Roger,

    You obviously enjoy Egypt, so I wouldn’t let some news stop me. Troubled stomache is something you are likely to get when you travel; I’m Egyptian, and I get that in Europe, Asia, or wherever I travel — until you get used to it.

    Problems arise because you are either not adapted to foreign foods (or delicious food as Mona said 😉 ), or simply because of *changing* water. Any water has bacteria, and your stomach is most adapted to your home town bacteria.

    Enjoy the holidays and come back soon! =)

  4. Roger,

    I totally agree with you; however, it is not just due to the “laziness and negligence” of the hotels – it is ultimately the responsibility of the government.

    E. Coli 0157 is not a simple organism – it is a serious bacteria, which is often deadly. True gastroenteritis can happen anywhere in the world; however, the difference in civilised countries is that the response of public health services and the government is always serious. Any small cluster of E. Coli gastroenteritis in any small town in Britain immediately becomes national news, and the Secretary of Health is forced by Parliament to give a report of what actions he has taken.

    Humans in Egypt are cheap – that is taken for granted, but the tourists who are supplying the corrupt officials with a large chunk of their income?! To me it is sheer stupidity.

    If the tourists make a fuss out of it, and hence put pressure on the Egyptian government, perhaps the benefits will extend to reach the poor Egyptian who quietly suffer.

    Dioscorus Boles

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