Day 8 & 9: The Pyramids of Giza

The road from Sharm el-Shaikh to Cairo was long and arduous. Try to fly if you can. At least from Sharm to Cairo. It was just way too long, and the buses and the service aren’t like Turkey. Actually, there is no service on Egyptian buses.

When we finally arrived in Cairo, we checked back into the Victoria Hotel where we had originally stayed. It was really late at night and the 8 hour bus ride had killed us, even though we slept most of the way.

It was our mission to wake up as early as possible. Our track record in Cairo had thus far been horrible, and waking up like it was a Saturday in Houston was normal. Luckily, we awoke early, jumped in cab and headed towards Giza. Our cabbie, who ended being a terrific guy told us exactly where to go and how much to pay. He negotiated on our behalf with the horse stable and got us a fairly decent rate. In fact, he was so good, we asked him to come back and pick us up afterwards.

The horses were crazy. Absolutely crazy. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a horse, but I know they don’t continuously try to buck you unless they’re still a little wild or have been mistreated. Our guide was equally immature and it felt like he was going to take our money and disappear

We decided to take the long way to the pyramids. It was more fun that way, and it was worth it. We went all the way around the pyramids and were able to get some great pictures and soak in the historic view. Unfortunately, the tourist police started to look at our guide strangely, and when we asked him what was going on he essentially said they want a bribe. He went over there, gave them their bribe, and said they’d leave us alone for the rest of the day.

Perfect.

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This is the guy who bribed us.

The pyramids were surrounded by tourists from every corner of the globe, and why not? Everyone hears about them as a child, and the stories surrounding them and ancient Egypt are told to young Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

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If you see this guy, do not hire him.

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We had the opportunity to go down the “big pyramid” for an extra 20 pounds and it was worth it. Word of caution: If you are claustrophobic do NOT purchase this ticket. You literally be packed in a narrow 5 foot by 7 foot tunnel that goes down at almost a 60 degree angle for at least a couple hundred steps. You will be back to back with a group of 50 people who are going down with you, and to make matters worse, there will be another group of 50 coming up the same passageway at the same time.

You get a chance to breathe every tomb or so, and by the time you get down there you’re famished. The air is thin, and there are a ton of people trying to breathe the same air.

It wasn’t too pretty at the bottom. It was just a tomb, some relics, and a few more tombs. The trip down there and back up, and experiencing just the tunnel and what it was like for the architects, slaves, and grave robbers was well worth the ticket price.

When we started to head back, my horse became crazy and almost threw me off. Salman got a good laugh at it because his horse was perfectly calm the whole time AND the guide would refuse to believe the horse was acting up. He would just ride off, until I would get really loud or the horse was literally about to throw me off.

Needless to say, his tip wasn’t that good. Another important note, these tour guides will take their tip in a back alley and not at the company itself. Apparently, the tour operators take a cut of the tip from their under-paid staff… so when they tell you they would prefer their tip in a whisper… don’t worry.

Our taxi driver was already waiting on us and he took us to Khan el-Khalili where we did a lot of shopping and headed back to the hotel for our final night in Egypt. He was so good, and seemed to be the only cabbie in Egypt that was honest, we told him to pick up each of us individually for our flights the next day.

Tomorrow: Get back to Houston.

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