When I was a little girl I used to think: Someday. Someday I will see the pyramids. I never expected that I actually would. But I did get to see them. We spent 4 days in Cairo visiting the pyramids, museums, and sitting on our butts around the hotel pool smoking hookah and drinking anything that didn’t appear to have Egyptian water in it.
Me, smoking hookah. Tobacco. Tiktik. Shisha. Yum.
For our tour of the archaeological sights the guide, who wished to be called an Egyptologist, hustled us out of the hotel with stress and pressure because a couple of folks in our party were 10 minutes late. He made it sound as if that 10 minutes would ruin the rest of the day. We went directly to the pyramids, visited the Solar Ship, actually the funerary transport vessel for the Pharaoh Cheops. I think. We then were allotted TWENTY FIVE MINUTES to walk around and explore the area. He threatened to leave anyone behind who wasn’t there on time. I wished to go inside the pyramid but was told there was no time. Then everyone continued on telling me what was inside: nothing. No shit. What was inside was not the point. ME getting to go inside was but no one understood that and were hustled off for the Panoramic View where we could take photographs. Oh well. We didn’t know yet what a shyster this guy was. Henry.
Once we got to the panoramic view area for photos we were hustled along, ‘Hurry, hurry,’ to go see the Sphinx where we had something like 22 seconds to listen to the description given by our guide, take photos and explore.
I think this was easier on the camel than when the guy on Santorini put them on the same mule. (and it was a MULE, not a donkey.)
We then walked a few blocks to the camel rides our guide expedited for us. They were located on a city street lined with apartment buildings, concrete benches and camels, where several members of our group paid $20 each for a ride. Those of us who chose not to ride sat in the shade and watched the parade of people and animals and vehicles which passed by. Trash, like in all of Cairo, was everywhere. In poor sections there were always people sifting through it. We are fairly sure that 50% of the fee we paid for the camel rides went to our ‘Egyptologist.’ Those who rode had a great time, though. The look on M’s face was worth the relatively small fee and in my opinion, the guide deserved his fee for expediting this process for us.
one of the renegade donkeys, momentarily safe from the stick wielding boy
A FEW NOTES ON THINGS I SAW IN CAIRO, MOSTLY FROM THE BUS
Everywhere we went, we were accompanied by a government agent. He was always quiet, barely noticeable and carrying an MP3 sub-machine gun.
Traffic like I’ve never seen or heard of, horns honking, exhaust fumes, horses, donkeys, moving through it, goats driven down the center of streets. Camels resting in the shade and one dead by a canal, left to rot, apparently. Women dumping their trash cans out of the windows of their apartments or over the canal walls into the water.
Cruelty. People are cruel to one another and more cruel to animals. Animal rights are not pertinent here. Human rights are still being formed. A little boy running smiling through the streets with a stick, beating 3 donkeys to move them away from his family’s camel ranch.
A guide who rushed us through the pyramids and museum but made every effort to force us to shop for papyrus, lotus perfume and Egyptian cotton and a transfer agent/expediter for the same company who we may not have made it out Egypt without. He was a great help at the airport where we had a bit of hassle due to our not having printed tickets and little documentation.
Staying in a gated complex where we had no interaction with the greater culture but simply functioned within our own culture inside the insulated, fenced place where we stayed. Outside our gates was another world where the culture of Cairo seethed and flowed. We were fortunate that no one was rude to our girls, really, even though a couple of them could not be convinced to wear anything but skin-tight blue jeans and shirts that show deep cleavage or which were transparent.
Within the walls of our gated complex we could have been almost anywhere.
There are many houses/apartment buildings in Cairo. Many is not the right word. Masses, swarms, millions of apartment buildings. All have satellite dishes blooming from the walls and roofs. Most have rebar sticking out from the top so that the building can continue on upward for future family members so they can stay close.
CRUISING THE NILE:
Nile Maxim. The food was the best we ate in our 3 day stay in Cairo. The dervish dancer was good the belly dancer not so much. She was pretty and had humongous breasts that one of my nephews kept wanting to pop with a needle. Her costumes were cheap looking, like she bought them from Fredericks of Bollywood. Tight, shiny, loud. I’m no expert but it looked more like a Virginia Beach club dance than any great belly dance. I’m sure her breasts are famous. The dervish, OTOH, was interesting…though he must shop at the same store. Outside, the view was beautiful. There were smaller boats all strung with lights that flashed in many colors.
We all got bitten by something. At first we thought it was mosquitos but no, we were all chewed up by bedbugs. Yum.
Making dreams come true. M dreamed that we would visit the pyramids wearing purple dresses. Eli and I did what we could to make that part happen. I have to add here how proud I was of my blonde hottie kid who managed Egypt and Turkey with a great sense of decorum. The cleavage didn’t show up until we got to Greece. Good girl.
THINGS WE WERE TOLD:
20 million people
40 million cars
There is no drug problem in Egypt
No one goes to bed hungry in Cairo.
That Mark is ‘King America’. Apparently his moustache Means Something. This something has to do with Sadam Houssein’s political party. Mark is a Libertarian, thank you very much.
There are no longer crocodiles in the Nile. Amended to none North of the dam.