Trip Start May 22, 2009
197Trip End Feb 16, 2010
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As soon as we got out of the bus we were hit up for a taxi. Sharing with another woman, we tried to negotiate a group rate, he but cabbie wanted to charge individual prices. Bouncing from cab to cab we finally found one with a meter, but after we were all settled inside, the meter magically doesn’t work!
Feeling a bit bitter and taken advantage of, we stomped off to found our tickets. I’d heard that there was a nice overnight sleeper train we could take to Aswan. On arrival at the office, I was overwhelmed with large glossy photos of white faces dressed up in fancy dining cars sipping wine. I didn’t think this was the type of traveler we were, but a bed would be nice - especially after sleeping on a bus last night.
However, out of all the train times running, there are only 2 that tourists were allowed to ride
Off to find another option, we were shuffled from platform to platform and finally found a train going to Aswan. Again, out of the almost hourly trains throughout day and night, we had the selection of choosing one: 10pm. Then we were also given the flexibility of choosing 1st class, 1st class, or 1st class. I have to wonder what the purpose of segregating foreigners like this is. What are they keeping us from, or perhaps what are they protecting the Egyptians from?
That sorted, we could finally head out to do something. On the public transportation, there was only one class and price. But I did notice that the booths for purchasing tickets were segregated. This time not by national and foreigner, but by male and female. I noticed that the ticket booths had both male and female attendants (noticeably simply because I’ve seen only men for sooo long) and women seemed to prefer to go to the woman worker and men to the man. Later when boarding the metro, I noticed that women got onto their own special car, while men (and me) piled onto the rest.
Payment was another big issue for segregation. As an adult foreigner, I had to pay 60 Egyptian pounds to get into the Museum (about $12 Canadian Dollars) and Egyptians had to pay 1 (about 20 cents). This is surely going to happen wherever we go throughout all of Egypt. It does seem a little unfair, but I think it’s a good idea. If only Canada had these options it could help increase tourism. Imagine, if the Maid of the Mist tickets were ½ price for Canadians, or if it only cost a couple of bucks to go up the CN tower? I think I may be in favor of 2 tiered pricing - as long as I’m the one gaining the benefits.
But whatever bad tastes may have been left in my mouth disappeared as we drove through
Finally, we’re in EGYPT!