Pyramids and Horse Killing Saudis

Trip Start Jun 30, 2008
Trip End May 09, 2009

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Sunday, July 20, 2008

After 2 weeks in Cairo spending far too much time in wanky hotel bars (only place you can buy alcohol after all!) I decided it was high time I saw some ancient culture. Rachel and I braved the metro/tram/service taxi/walking through open sewer strewn suburbs combo across the city and a mere 2 hours later arrived at our destination- Giza! Rather than towering magestically over a swathe of golden sand as far as the eye can see as cleverly angled postcards suggest, the Giza pyramids are actually practically plonked in the middle of the traffic fumes and madly honking cars that constitute modern Cairo. It's even more impressive in a way though, one minute you're dodging psychotic taxi drivers and all of a sudden this random wonder of the world appears as a backdrop. Some people have said seeing them up close is a bit of anticlimax, but I felt sufficiently awed at this testament to man's ingenuity to use up practically a whole memory card on them. It helped it was quite late in the day and the hundreds of tour buses had already gone, leaving us a surprising amount of free space to pretend to be Indiana Jones in.

The touts around this area are a special breed, especially memorable was Samy, atop a camel in full bedouin garb who spoke English with a strange Dick van Dyke cockney twang. I had to admire his persistance, he followed us around for nearly an hour try to charm us out of hundreds of egyptian pounds in exchange for mounting his smelly, grumpy camel, before spotting some fat russians with more potential and geezering off.

Post-ancient culture we decided to pay a visit to Cat, a teacher from the other centre who has the enviable distinction of living above a stable that overlooks the Great Pyramid. Her stable is the last in a long row of riding schools just behing King Tut's final resting place, a dusty village with scrawny cats wandering around and camels sitting placidly in the shade, where we were served many cups of sugary egyptian tea and falafel sandwiches (which the Egyptians viewed with bemusement, as apparently it's a breakfast dish). We rode out into the desert to see the sunset over the dunes and despite the fact it had been about 14 years since I last rode, I even managed a canter. Thankfully we soon stopped to inspect a mystery object in the sand which turned out to be a semi-decomposed horse covered in vultures. Apparently Cairo's summer population of Saudis (who come here to escape the heat. eh?) go a bit mad in this comparatively liberal paradise and spend their days galloping horses around the desert, abandoning them if they drop dead with exhaustion like this one, and their evenings picking up prositutes in the nightclubs among Pyramids Road before bringing them to the stretch of dirtrack in front of the stables and driving up and down all night with the music blaring. Not sure if it's reassuring to realize "boys on tour" scandalous behaviour transcends all cultures or not?!
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