It's Like Tarzan Hot...
Trip Start Aug 21, 2001
14Trip End Sep 08, 2001
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We arrived here yesterday morning after a train ride that was better than expected. The Egypt State Railway runs a pretty tight ship, or train... at least when it comes to the trains they let tourists on. Amber and I got to the train station about an hour before the train was to depart. When we got there, the ubiquitous Tourist Police quickly approached us. If you've ever been to Egypt, you are familiar with the Tourist Police. They are everywhere here. Every monument, museum, terminus of mass transit, and public square has these guys. They look like military (uniforms, caps, boots, AK-47's), except they dress in all white, which I guess is the universal sign of "the good guys."
Anyway, they walk up to us, demand our tickets and passports
So we waited, and got on board, only to discover that Amber and I had been sold seats in two different cars! Luckily for us, the guy who had the seat next to me was the tour guide for an English-speaking group who were taking up the rest of the car. He told us that a few of his seats weren't beings used, and graciously gave Amber his seat.
Now for the limited purposes of this trip, Amber and I are married. We are posing as man and wife, wearing $5 rings I picked up on Venice beach two days before I left LA. Being married has several advantages. First, it lets Amber avoid the some of the hassle and sideways glances that single western women endure here. Second, it allows us to avoid the same when checking into a room together. Unmarried people of the opposite sex sharing a room in Egypt is uncouth. Finally, the backstory has given us the unintended benefit of a great shopping strategy... whenever one of us would want to buy something, we would ask the other, who would pretend to hate it. It goes something like this...
Amber: "Honey, what do you think of this rug? I like it."
Me: "That? What are you going to do with that? Where are you going to put it?"
This would allow us to play good cop, bad cop with the local merchants to drive the price down. All part of the game...
Back to the train