Egyption History & Travel - 2010

with “black outs” or periods of no power availability. At present eight of the twelve turbines in the Aswan Dam provide enough energy for all Egypt's needs and excess can be sold to neighboring countries. But Egypt's population is growing at a very rapid rate so it is not inconceivable that the people will overwhelm even the 4 turbines not supplying their electricity. Agriculture is still Egypt's number one economic activity just as it was in the millennia under the Pharaohs Farm products include the most important export, Egyptian cotton, which is an especially fine grade of long fiber material that is grown in very few other places in the world. The Nile delta has been especially hospitable to this plant because of the rich soil, the water saturation levels, and the constant refreshing of these conditions by the annual flooding. Now, however, the Egyptians are facing the one really big drawback of the Aswan High Dam. Because flooding is controlled and because the enriching silt backs up behind the dam in Lake Nasser, those wonderful soil and water conditions are dwindling away. The lustrous, durable, comfortable long fiber cotton may be threatened now. Other agricultural products are rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, olives, dates, vegetables like okra and eggplant, and livestock including camels, cattle, water buffalo, sheep and goats. Camels & water buffalo are used as work animals as well as food. Sheep and goats produce wool products as well as serving as food. Other economic activities include textile manufacturing, food processing, hydrocarbon production, cement-making, some mining for semi-precious stones as well as gold and silver. Despite a brisk and important tourism industry, Egypt is still basically an agricultural nation. However, the country does possess important natural resources which are gradually being exploited. There is oil, though not in great amounts, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead and zinc. A word must be said about a fascinating part of tourism in Egypt and that word is “security.” We were totally amazed and freaked at the apparent protection we were under the whole time we were in the country. From the moment we arrived at the Cairo Airport, concerns about our safety seemed uppermost in our guide's mind and in his logistics. When we boarded our minibus to take us to our first hotel in downtown Cairo, we were preceded and followed by official small trucks bristling with big guns and tourist policeman in uniform sitting behind them, apparently at the ready. Not only that, a plainclothesman from the tourist police boarded our bus after we were all settled and


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