PCR tests +tips for Jordan & Egypt
We were the first group to experience the Jordan/Petra/Egypt tour on Aug. 29, 2021. Check-in at Pittsburgh required showing PCR, vaccine, insurance, Jordan Entry paperwork. Our flight from Pittsburgh to Dulles was delayed because of storms at Dulles. We arrived at Dulles with moments to spare but waited 15 minutes for the jet bridge to be brought out. Consequently we did not make the flight which necessitated an overnight stay. This meant our PCR would be out of date. (We had opted to get the PCR test as close to the 72 hours to be sure we would get the results in time.) As a result, we had to get another PCR at the Dulles airport with guaranteed results within 90 minutes. It cost $250 a person. And we lost the Gift of Time because of our delayed arrival. Not a great way to start an adventure.
We flew from Dulles to Vienna on Austrian airlines. Upon arrival in Vienna, there were two lines. If vaccinated, you showed your vaccination & PCR paperwork and a sticker was put on your passport. If not vaccinated, there were 20 booths set-up to do PCR tests.
All of the paperwork was closely examined before boarding the flight to Amman. The agent wasn't happy that the Tauck insurance did not have coverage dates. Fortunately I had attached a copy of the Tauck receipt showing the purchase which satisfied her. One never knew what paperwork was going to be requested. I had everything in a binder with sleeve protectors so I could remove the paperwork easily.
Overall, the hotels were great. There were some maintenance hiccups that were probably the result of the rooms being empty for so long. The staff was incredible at every location. They could not do enough for you. The Oberol Cruise on the Nile was over the top! Everyone wanted to sail to Cairo instead of flying. The food was absolutely delicious everywhere,
The weather was excruciatingly HOT. It was 126 degrees F one day, several days at 120 degrees and always over 110 Degrees. By mid-morning everyone's clothes were soaking wet.
With the exception of the Mena House, the hotel and restaurant staffs in Jordan and Egypt all wore masks. Most people and vendors on the streets did not wear masks. A significant number of people on our tour did not consistently wear masks on the coach. In Jordan we had a "Safety Person" on the coach. He had a disinfectant wand that he used everywhere. The coach drivers squirted hand disinfectant before anyone got on the coach.
Egypt airport security is pretty intense. I have never been patted down so many times. In Egypt, our coach had a police car following us every day. There was an armed security officer in a black suit every day on the coach. We were never concerned about our safety.
All of the public restrooms were flush (some had the "basket") and were relatively clean.. Most had an attendant that required a tip to get tissue paper. Very few had working soap dispensers. I always have soap leaves and tissues in my handbag so all is well.
Closed toe walking shoes are essential. In all of our travels, this was the hardest walking because of the sand and rocks.
Almost all of the men wore jackets for the Welcome Dinner. The Farewell Reception was held outside so jackets weren't worn. The vast majority of men and women did change for dinner. On most days, there was just enough time to return to the hotel, shower and change for a 7:00 dinner reservation.
Almost all of the sites were empty of tourists which was nice since it was so hot. Crowds would have made the heat unbearable. The vendors were pretty desperate. King Tut's mask and jewelry is still at the museum. Although there were empty sections and display cases there was still a lot to see. As expected, the local guides were exceptional. Our favorite was Achmed (sp ?) in Jordan.
Seeing all of the sites was awe-inspiring and after being cancelled twice we were thrilled to actually be there!