2. Coinage. I. PRELIMINARY INFORMATION.
(2). Coinage. Passports. Custom House.
Coinàge (comp. the tables before the title-page and at the end of
the book). The Egyptian Pound ('Livre Egyptienne'; £E) is worth
20s. 6rf., and is divided into 100 Piastres, worth 10 Millièmes each.
The Arabie name for the piastre is Kirsh (pi. Kurûsh; pronounced in
Cairo 'irsh, 'urûsh), but the European name is everywhere current.
Travellers should note the distinction that is still frequently made
between the 'great piastre' (kirsh sâgh), worth 10 millièmes, and the
'little (or half)piastre' (kirsh t'arîfeh),v/oxth 5 millièmes. — Egyptian
gold coins are seldom*met with, their place being taken by the British
sovereign (Ginêinglîsi = 21 Tpins. 5mill.), the French napoléon (20 fr. ;
Binlu = 77 pias. 2 mill., but regularly reckoned at 77 pias.), and the
Turkish pound [Mejidîyeh = 87 pias. 772 mill. = ca. 18s. S1/^.), ail
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 Riyâl, which is équivalent to about ls. 1/id.
Obsolète coins are rare in Egypt, but counterfeit or depreciated («'.e. worn
or perforated) pièces are common enough. As thèse are more likely to be
offered to foreigners than to native?, travellers should be on their guard
against them when obtaining change. A libéral supply of small change is
more essential in the East than anywhere else (comp. pp. xxiii, 33).
Passpobts are not absolutely necessary ; and one's visiting-eard
practically serves ail its functions in the interior. Bankers, however,
frequently require Etrangers to establish their identity by some such
document; and the countenance and help of consuls must also
dépend upon the proof of nation ality offered to them by the traveller.
— For the Sudân, see p. 406.
Passports may be obtained in England direct from the Foreign Office
(fee 2s.) or through C. Smith Je Sons, 23 Craven St., Charing Cross (charge
is., including agent's fee); Buss, 4 Adélaïde St., Strand (4*.); Thos. Cook &
Son, Ludgate Circus (3s. ëd.) ; and Henry Blacklock & Go. ('Bradshaw's
Guides'), 59 Fleet St. (5s.). — In the United States application for passports
should be made to the Passport Bureau, StateDepartment,Washington, D. C.
Custom House. Tourists are seldom troubled by a custom-house
examination ; if one is held, it is désirable to superintend it in
person. The objects chiefly sought for are tobacco and cigars, on
which a somewhat high tax is levied (25, 40, or 100 pias. per kilo¬
gramme or 2i/5 lbs., according to quality). The custom-house is
now under European management, and it is advisable to refrain
from an attempt to facilitate matters by bakshish (p. xxiii).
Good, though somewhat expensive, cigars may be obtained in
Cairo and Alexandria. The importation of one's own cigars is
attended with so much trouble as hardly to be worth while. The
traveller is recommended to content himself with cigarettes (comp.
p. 36). Tobacco (Dukhkhân) should be purchased in small quantities
only, as it gets dry veTy soon.