A visit to the Pyramids is not hassle-free

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

At an Egyptian market you might spot a 'No hassle for looking' sign but don't believe it - a holiday in Egypt is not hassle free....

The sight of armed guards dressed in a white uniform while holding a hand held metal detector to check the locals who had formed a long line outside the entrance to the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo was an ominous sign...
 In my opinion the local should be barred but unfortunately they have a right to sell their goods to the tourist and so are permitted to enter the Ancient Egyptian ground.
 As I was accompanied by a group of fellow British travellers I was able to view the Pyramids and Spinx without being pestered - although others in my group didn't get of so lightly.  I witnessed a few of the locals tactics - for example At the panoramic viewpoint I was middle of taking a photo of an elderly couple in my group. My eyes were fixed on the digital screen and suddenly a local man dressed as an Arab (in robes and headpiece) jumped into the view uninvited and placed the headpiece (the Arab towel) on the Englishman's head - and then he ordered the elderly man to pay up for the privilege!   Of course the man refuse to pay and the local man went on and on and on until the elderly tourist gave in and paid him.
 Unfortunately some local Egyptians who are mostly men have a tendency to ruin the day for some tourists - but its just their way.  Despite warnings from Egyptian tour guides not to harass the tourists they still carry on. 
If you want to take a photo at the Pyramids it would be advisable to cast an eye at your surroundings and take the photo quickly before the locals pounce.
Although all tourists are a target those who are not familiar with their surroundings are targeted more.
During the times when I was with the group I was ignored - but I dressed modestly wearing light trousers and long shirts - females should dress modestly to lessen harassment from local men  but when I ventured out by myself I ran into a few problems.  I wouldn't advise young girls to visit Egypt by themselves.  Going with a group and a professional tour guide is a far safer option.
On occasions the locals can be quite humorous. Two young girls in my group dressed in flimsy dresses and when they walked passed all the local men shouted Sophie Loren and Shakira.
One man jumped of his horse and carriage to walk with me (leaving the horse and carriage behind) and pointed at the ground and said "You've dropped something, its my heart" I had told him I was leaving the next day (which I wasn't).  
I accompanied a British man and his wife from the group and walked through a market with them to the delight of all the locals.  Lucky man, two wives they shouted".
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