COINAGE. PASSPORTS. CUSTOM HOUSE. xv
naturally surrender, to a great extent, both their freedom of choice
of companions and the disposal of their time. The expenses are not
much below that of an independent tour.
(2). Coinage. Passports. Custom House.
Coinage (comp. the tables before the title-page and at the end
of the book). The Egyptian Pound ('Livre Egyptienne'; ^E.)is
worth 20s. 6d., and is divided into 100 Piastres, worth 10 Milliemes
each. The Arabic name for the piastre is Kirsh (pi. Kurush; pro¬
nounced in Cairo Hrsh, 'urush), but the European name is every¬
where current. Travellers should note the distinction that is still
frequently made between the 'great piastre' (kirsh tarifa) worth
10 milliemes and the 'little (or half) piastre' (kirsh sagh), worth
5 milliemes. — Egyptian gold coins are seldom met with, their
place being taken by the British sovereign (Gineh inglisi = 97 pias.
5 mill.), the French Napoleon (20 fr.; Bint = 77 pias. 2 mill.), and the
Turkish pound (Mejidiyeh = 87 pias. 772 mill. = 18s.), all of which
are legally current. At Alexandria and Suez, and a few other points,
reckoning in francs is still common. Where British influence is
strong, as in places with large garrisons, the word Shilling is used for
the Rub'a Riyal, which is equivalent to about Is. S^fed.
Obsolete coins are rare in Egypt, but counterfeit or depreciated (i.e. worn
or perforated) pieces are common enough. As these are more likely to be
offered to foreigners than to natives, travellers should be on their guard
against them when obtaining change- A liberal supply of small change is
more essential in the East than anywhere else (comp. pp. xxii, 26).
Passports are usually asked for at all the Egyptian ports, and if
the traveller is unprovided with one he is liable to detention and
great inconvenience. The passport is given up at the custom-house
and reclaimed at the traveller's consulate or at Cairo. Bankers fre¬
quently require strangers to establish their identity by some such
document; and the countenance and help of consuls must also
depend upon the proof of nationality offered to them by the traveller.
A British Foreign Office Passport (price 2s.; agent's fee 1*. 6d.) may be
obtained in London through W. J. Adams, 59 Fleet Street; Buss, 440 West
Strand; C. Smith & Sons, 63 Charing Cross, etc.
Custom House. The custom-house examination is generally
carried out with great thoroughness, though with perfect politeness.
The objects chiefly sought for are tobacco and cigars, on which a
somewhat high tax is levied (25, 40, or 100 pias. per kilogramme or
2^5 lbs., according to quality, comp. p. xxx). The exportation of
antiquities is forbidden, except with a special certificate of permis¬
sion ; and luggage is accordingly examined again as the traveller
quits the country. The custom-house is now under European man¬
agement, and it is advisable to refrain from an attempt to facilitate
matters by bakshish (p. xx). If luggage be forwarded across the
frontier, the keys must be sent with it; but it is very desirable to
superintend the custom-house examination in person.