Advice for a New TV Show on Egypt

I have a New Year’s tradition: I lay all my travel dreams on the table, sort them out, prioritize, and begin the process of turning those dreams into reality. My spring 2013 trip will be, as always, heavy on the Mediterranean (Egypt, Israel, Palestinian territories, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Portugal). I’ll be scouting TV shows in the Middle East, shooting two shows in Turkey, and then updating guidebooks.

What I’d like is a little advice on Egypt from my good travel buddies here on my Blog.

I know Egypt is in a bit of turmoil and that tourism is way down, but I expect it will bounce back when things stabilize. A decade ago I did a single TV show on Egypt (featuring the predictable tourist attractions in Cairo and Luxor). This April, I hope to scout there for 10 days and then, in a year or so, take the film crew there to shoot two shows.

Here’s what I featured in my last show: Pyramids of Giza, a camel ride, Khan el-Khalili (medieval bazaars,   including a spice bazaar), smoking a sheeshaw, Cairo’s Egyptian National Museum, the night train to Luxor, great temples of Luxor, Valley of the Kings, a Nile ferry, a bike ride into village Egypt, and sailing in a felucca on the Nile at sunset.

In the next show I’ll have double the time and want to include the great city of Alexandria.

So, if you have any first-hand (or second-hand) experience from the road in Egypt, I’d love to hear about it.

Here are my questions:

• What’s it like for a Western tourist in Egypt right now?
• In what condition are the big, obvious “must see” sights for tourists?
• In Alexandria, Cairo, and Luxor, what would be some great sights and experiences (beyond the ones I listed above) to work into the script?
• Do you know a good and reliable local guide in Cairo or Luxor?

Thanks for the help and Happy New Year,