Life was looking slightly difficult out here, with Brexit causing the pound to fail miserably against all other world currencies. The rent was looking slightly painful and good old Stella had climbed to the dizzy heights of 20 LE next door. It was 10 LE when I first arrived 7 years ago and with the exchange rate being fairly consistent between 8 and 12 LE, averaging at 10, that made it £1 a pint. Since then, the government had woken up to the fact that the European governments have found that they can get away with hammering the drinker and smoker and added tax to alcohol and cigarettes. A few times.
We discovered, after moving back out here post-wedding, that our 10 LE Stella had increased to 12 LE. Shortly after to be hit by the tax and upped to 15 LE. Very soon after this it hit 18 LE and after the most recent tax rise next door are now selling for 20 LE. Bear in mind that in the Marina in Sakalla, a peaceful and beautiful place with views of the yachts, one may still obtain a Stella for 14 LE. Anyway, the point of my ramblings here is that the beer had increased to around £2 a pint and so visits to next door became rare. I ordered in my Stella (delivered by the crate to our door) at an cost of 12.5 LE.
Our wonderful President Sisi, having grown tired of the black market in US dollars and requiring a bit of assistance from the IMF, decided to float the Egyptian currency on the world market. It rocketed to 16 overnight. It hit 19 the next day. A few weeks later and it’s currently hovering around the 23 mark.
What does this mean to us? Apart from the 20LE beer next door now actually costing us £0.87 and my bought-in beer costing £0.54, our rent has effectively halved as have our living expenses. Yes, imported goods have rocketed (remain the same for foreign-currency users) but Egyptian goods are pretty much the same price but now work out at half the price. The two large Kos lettuce, bunches of coriander, parsley and mint, and bunch of rocket that I bought this morning for 5 LE (£0.22) along with the 8kg of live catfish (increased in price from 18 LE to 22 LE) costing 196 LE (I gave him 200 LE, generous soul that I am) for a total of £8.70. The lovely fresh lemons at 5 LE per half-kilo (22p again).
Seriously, there can’t be anywhere in the world at the moment that’s cheaper for a holiday than Egypt. Don’t go all inclusive, get a B&B offer and eat out every night when here. Get the best wine and cocktails, have lobster and steak, with the current exchange rate you can live like royalty as the same time as helping out the suffering Egyptians. Considering a holiday home? Some studio apartments in a compounds with shared pools were selling for less than £10,000. You can now get them for £4-5000. Yes, your own holiday apartment in the sun, with swimming pool for £5k.
Come and enjoy this wonderful country, pay for your holiday by buying a suitcase full of cigarettes (£1 a pack) and flog them when you get home