Local Customs

Local Information
Local Customs

The location is ideally situated on the eastern shores of Egypt on the Red Sea coast, just 45 minutes by car from Hurghada International Airport and only a four-hour flight from Central Europe.

Soma Bay hosts year-round sunshine, temperate weather and mild winters and summers. Average daytime temperatures are in the mid- to low 20s in winter and the mid- to low 30s in summer.

The Egyptian pound is the currency of Egypt, its currency code being EGP.

The official language of Egypt is Arabic, and English is the most commonly used foreign language.

Egyptian Honour
Honour is an important facet of interpersonal relationships.
Respect and esteem for people is both a right and an obligation.
An individual's honour is intricately entwined with the reputation and honour of everyone in their family.
Honour requires that Egyptians demonstrate hospitality to friends and guests.
It also dictates that people dress as well as their financial circumstances allow, and show proper respect and deference to their elders and those in authority.
A man's word is considered his bond, and to go back on your word is to bring dishonour to your family.

Dining Etiquette
Dress well and conservatively.
Compliment the host of the house.

Table Manners
Wait for the host or hostess to tell you where to sit.
Eat with the right hand only.
It is considered a sincere compliment to take second helpings.
Always show appreciation for the meal.
Leave a small amount of food on your plate when you have finished eating. Otherwise they will keep filling it up for you!

Local Food
When it comes to food, Egyptians know their way around. It is all about generosity. Never expect to be fed small portions, and always be prepared for unexpected extras on the house, such as freshly baked bread and dips, or a refreshing after-meal cup of “karkadeh” (hibiscus tea).
Egyptian cuisine is simple and tasty, mostly relying on vegetables, herbs, lamb and chicken. It is characterised by dishes such as Ful Medames, mashed fava beans; Koshari, a mixture of lentils, rice, pasta and other ingredients; Molokheyya, chopped and cooked bush okra with garlic and coriander sauce; and Fetir Meshaltet. Egyptian cuisine shares similarities with food of the Eastern Mediterranean region, such as rice-stuffed vegetables, vine leaves, shawarma, kebab, falafel, Baba Ghannoug, and baklava.
Some consider Koshari - a mixture of rice, lentils, and macaroni - to be the national dish. Ful Medames is also one of the most popular dishes. Fava beans are also used in making falafel (also known as “ta`meyya”), which originated in Egypt and spread to other parts of the Middle East.

Meeting Etiquette
Handshakes are the customary greeting among individuals of the same sex.
Handshakes are somewhat limp and prolonged, although they are always given with a hearty smile and direct eye contact.
Once a relationship has developed, it is common to kiss on one cheek and then the other while shaking hands, men with men and women with women.
In any greeting between men and women, the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should bow his head in greeting.

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