PASSPORTS. CUSTOM HOUSE.
piastre is Ghirsh (pi. Ghurush), but the European name is every¬
where current. Egyptian gold coins are seldom met with their
place being taken by the British sovereign (Ginlh inglisi = 97 pias
5 mill.), the French Napoleon (20fr.; Bint = 77pias. 11/2 mill ) and
the Turkish pound (Mejidiyeh = 87 pias. 71/2 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 Riydl, which is equivalent to about Is. 3i/2d.
Counterfeit and obsolete coins are as yet rare in Egypt; but as
they are more likely to be offered to foreigners than to natives, trav¬
ellers 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. xxxvi, 25).
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 (p. xx) must also
depend upon the proof of nationality offered to them by the traveller
A British Foreign Office Passport (price 2s.; agent's fee Is. 6<2.) may
be obtained in London through W. J. Adams, 59 Fleet Street-
E. Stanford, 26 Cockspur Street; Lee & Carter, 440 West Strand-
C. Smith & Sons, 63 Charing Cross; etc.
Custom House. The custom-house examination at Alexandria
is generally carried out with great thoroughness, though with per¬
fect politeness, and no article of luggage is allowed to escape un¬
opened. One of the objects chiefly sought for is cigars, on which 75
per cent of the estimated value is charged (comp. p. xlii). The
exportation of antiquities is forbidden, except with a special certi¬
ficate of permission; and luggage is accordingly examined again as
the traveller quits the country. The custom-house is now under
European management, and it is advisable to refrain from an attempt
to facilitate matters by bakshish (p. xxxv). 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.
Steamers. Egypt may be reached from England either by
steamer direct or by overland route to one of the principal Mediter¬
ranean ports and thence by steamer. Particulars of the various routes
are given in R. 1. Whether the traveller returns westwards on leav¬
ing Egypt, or intends to proceed to Syria or elsewhere, it is import¬
ant that he should be familiar with the principal steamboat services.
The vessels of the principal lines are nearly on a par with regard to
comfort and speed, the British and German steamers being perhaps