The Oases

Travel in the Egyptian desert is divided between the deep desert and the Oases. The Oases are in the low parts of the desert, nearer to the water table. Each oasis sits in its own hollow or depression, which can be thousands of kilometers in area Each oasis has its own character- which you will discern when you visit. Fayoum, with its extensive fields and gardens, and proximity to Cairo, is very different in feel to Siwa with its originally Berber population and isolated position.

The Oases are all, however, away from the hurly burly of mass tourism and mass employment.Time stands still in the Oases, asmuch as it does anywhere in this interconnected world, and
for this the desert traveler should be grateful. Kids still wave at you and smile, people will still want to talk to you- simply to be your friend rather than to score some money. Indeed in the Oases it
pays to leave behind your cynical hardened traveler exterior and take people as they come.Within the Oases themselves people are not so sophisticated as to inflate prices much- the hagglers here are amateurs compared to the Bazaars of Cairo. For entertainment you can seek out Bedouin music- which canbe marvelous and improvised, hot springs, ancient monuments, temples and fortresses,
museums and crafts. Just walking the streets of any
oasis is an act of exploration as you learn about a culture alien
to your own, living in one of the driest places in the world.


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