I chose Grand Circle Travel because of the positive recommendation I received of Yasser ElGabry from a friend. She went on and on about how he had everything I was looking for in a guide; deep knowledge and understanding of the sites and history, a patient demeanor and a passion for sharing the culture and beauty of Egypt to whomever would listen. She was right. She also said that he helped her negotiate with the sticky vendors who are so intimidating to Americans. This is true also. I am certain this guy helped me save a lot of money in the bazaars.
I am saddened to read the posting of oceanwve on Yasser ElGabry. I have traveled extensively and this person was the most knowledgable, passionate guide I have had. What made Yasser special was his desire to make our group like his family. I watched Yasser answer many questions over and over again as if it had been the first time he had heard it asked. He was very gentle with our more elderly travelers and made himself available at any hour to help the sick ones. I was traveling alone for the first time (and fearful of my sometimes intense carsickness) and he committed himself to help me like a brother.
He is the reason I have been recommending Grand Circle to everyone I know. His knowledge of hieroglyphics was vast, so vast that at times the explanations required explanations. These were not memorized speeches but genuine interpretations of the history and stories behind the works themselves. Yasser is one of the few people in Egypt pursuing a fluency level in reading hieroglyphics. ( He has been studying it for 10 years).
As for the vendor side: there are many pesky vendors everywhere all selling the same variety of postcards knicknacks, etc. Yasser made it very clear that he personally did not care if anyone bought anything, but that there were a couple of specific vendors, one who was mentally handicapped, the other who was deaf , etc that he was willing to help out. Those are the postcards he held up in front of the bus, only the items from the disabled vendors. Apparently Egypt has no real system in tact to help these people.
I am aware that there were a few people in our group who seemed to find fault in many situations. I think that's what the writer above was talking about. I too agree that oceanwve's comments are sour and unfounded in my opinion. I too wish to see them removed. Especially from the headline page of the comment postings.
Yasser was the ambassador of GCT to me and since I left Egypt I have felt excited about saving my money and investing in an OAT journey. I hope GCT will see the wall of travelers who are passionate about the abilities of this person and not focus on one writer who seems to have some personal issue. GCT was very polished in all ways, especially in the selection of this guide. I hope the reviewers of these comments will continue to allow Yasser to show our citizens the caring, intelligent and joyful side of Egypt.