The plan for today was a sound one:
- Wake at 5am (organised with hostel the night before)
- Go to the Giza pyramids on the cheap microbus
- Organise a horse to take me Sakara, thus avoiding Giza entry fee, taxi cost, getting great ride across desert and best of all getting inside Giza for a sunrise photo of the pyramids.
- See inside the Great Pyramid (missed on first visit)
- Ride desert
- See Sakara
- Taxi home
This is how it panned out:
- Woken one hour late at 6am by hostel. Forgot to factor for bloody ‘Egyptian time’.
- Expensive rushed taxi to pyramids
- Find out the new horses I am seeing don’t go to Sakara but figure that I will take one for 40 Egyptian pounds to get the sunrise photo and taxi to Sakara. Sort a good price with driver and arrange to meet him at 9am.
- By the time the world’s crabbiest horse is saddled the sun is so high you could read a roman clock. Then I find out that I can’t get the photos I want anyway because despite the fact that I am inside the Giza complex I am not supposed to be there until 8am so we have to hide behind some hills.
- But at 8am I see inside the great pyramid so all I good. All is very very good.
- Get back to stable and find that my taxi has gone and another has been arranged. One guy says my driver had family trouble and another says he has car trouble. This has scam written all over it but since the price hasn’t changed I can’t see what the scam is or how they got my driver to leave a sixty Egyptian pound fare behind. I kind of feel for the original driver as he seemed like a nice guy. It felt dodgy so I decided to arrange my own transport.
- The new driver turns out to be a really nice Christian Egyptian called Michael who takes me to Sakara and Memphis. Which were two more amazing pieces of the Egyptian puzzle.
ADDITIONAL: THE SOLUTION FOR DEALING WITH THE DIRTY SCAMMING CAIRO TAXI DRIVERS
This advice arrived from two different sources (the Evil Fins and and Australian friend) just as I was about to leave the Cairo. Great timing. When you get in the taxi don’t ask for the price as this marks you as a new person in town and is just asking to be ripped off. Instead just get in the cab and tell them where to go (the place that is). When you get there get out, give them what you think the journey is worth (your hostel can help with this) and leg it. In some cases they may yell and scream at you but as long as you give a fair price then they don’t have a leg to stand on.
A MAJOR CHANGE OF TRAVEL PLANS
I have decided to flag going to Iran via Saudi and UAE. The visa situation was a bitch for Saudi and Iran. Instead I am doing a loop of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Israel before heading out into the Mediterranean to see Cyprus (luvin it, luvin it, luvin it) and Crete before heading back to London via Athens with Easyjet.
Willie said it best
He said, “Just can’t wait to get
On the road again”
Basket eagle mouth sphinx (That’s my name in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics)
CAIRO TO AMMAN
Wel come! Where you from?
This is a traditional Egyptian greeting. Also it has come to my attention that a large percentage of the population here think that welcome is actually two words and as they say, when in Rome…
I wanted to stay in Cairo until Saturday so I could watch the All Blacks v the Wallabies on Saturday morning but I wasn’t sure what I would do for the next couple of days as I thought I had pretty much seen everything by now. Boy was I wrong. After my morning at the pyramids I spent the afternoon cruising around the city and meeting the locals. I saw the citadel and a big bunch of mosques. Some of the places I visited must have been a bit off the beaten track because the appearance of a six foot four guy in a floppy hat caused quite a stir.
Am starting to get a handle on the Egyptian sense of humour. Mostly it involves doing something annoying but harmless to someone and then sitting back while everyone has a good chuckle. People who stick out like sore thumbs are the perfect candidates for these pranks. Especially if they are a bit off the beaten track.
I had a great business idea this afternoon. There is a niche market here for honestly named shops. Let me explain. In Egypt a papyrus shop is never called ‘The Papyrus Shop’ instead it will be called a ‘The Papyrus Institute’, ‘The Papyrus School’, ‘The Papyrus Warehouse’ or ‘The Papyrus Museum’. Anything but ‘The Papyrus Shop’. This is just another example of Egyptian lies and I think there is a real opportunity for people who name their shops honestly.
A KIWI, AN AUSSIE, A YANK AND TWO POLES (ONE HAD ALREADY PASSED OUT) WALK INTO A BELLY DANCING CLUB
That night the aforementioned suspects went to the belly-dancing club just up the road from my hostel. The club reminded me a lot of a regular western strip bar. It was badly lit and smoky with a bunch of tables crowded around a central stage. The drinks were vastly overpriced and the punters were the usual collection of overweight middle-aged blokes knocking back a fair bit of grog. The dancers even had that ‘stoked to be alive’ and ‘doubly stoked to be up here in front of you fat losers’ look on their faces. Where it differed though was the music was Arabic (obviously) and it was live. And they had singing. Sometimes by the regular male singer sometimes by the dancer and sometimes even by the punters. And people got up and danced, sometimes with the belly dancer and sometimes with each other. The other major difference between the belly dancing club and a regular western strip bar was that the girls kept their kit on. Gutted.
Got in at 3am.