Middle school fantasy come true- PYRAMIDS

Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
Trip End Sep 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Wake Up! Cairo Hostel

Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I had to go to the Ramsis train station to get an overnight Cairo-Aswan train ticket.  Peter, one of the owners, said I could walk since it's only 2 stations away.  I don't think so.  The station was kind of confusing because I had to go through the platform to get on the other side to buy the Upper-Nile tickets.  Places that are down South, like Luxor and Aswan, are referred to as upper Nile since Nile flows north.  The ticket was a whopping 110EGP, and I was in big-time denial.  No student discount either!  LP definitely said it'd be 78EGP for 1st class + 30% student discount.  And obviously, I trust LP more than the ticket officers.  So I called the hostel via payphone (I rule) and asked Peter about it.  He said that they just raised the prices and no longer give student discounts.  I'm so angry, but such is life.

I came trudging back to the hostel and went to the Citadel, a major tourist spot in Islamic Cairo. LP described it as if it were really lame and "underwhelming", but I did not find it so.  Maybe I am a lot easier to amuse and impress than the average tourist, I don't know.  The place was packed with great museums and Kodak moments.  I wore a grey 3/4 sleeve shirt and a long flowy skirt, and I secretly felt superior to other sunburnt tourists in tank tops and shorts.  They had to wear this ugly green robe to enter the mosque.  I took a picture in it just to show you how ugly this thing is.  When I was entering the National Military Museum, the guard was like, you have to pay to bring a camera in.  I was like, BS I refuse.  But I think it may have been true because I saw him ripping a ticket out of a ticket book that had 1EGP bills collected in it.  The museum was the baller of museums; it had red carpet from the entrance to the exit and a guard in each room.  I learned lots of things about the history of Egyptian military.  I bet you didn't know that Egypt played an important role in WWI.

By the way, I had taken Tylenol PM before going to the Citadel.  It didn't help me fall asleep on the plane, so I figured it would just work like a regular Tylenol.  I was conked out from 2 to 5:30pm.  I told the British guy I would go souvenir shopping with him.  Oh well.  Khan el-khalili is WAY too hot and not as good during the day anyway.

I left for the PYRAMIDS around 6:40pm.  It was a surprisingly long drive in a cab.  All of a sudden I see a boy riding a camel next to the cab.  I FREAKeD OUT.  I did not know that camels were so gigantic- like 9 feet.  They looked so mean too!  Then I saw a glimpse of the pyramids from the road.  I was hyperventilating by this point.  Salma told the driver something, they talk, and then a young impudent Egyptian guy came up to the cab and joined the conversation.  Then he just hopped into the cab while it was driving off.  I was really confused and tongue-tied while the three of them got into an argument.  I was wondering if the guy wanted a free ride to the pyramids.  It turned out that the guy is a horse/camel dealer, and Salma had specifically told the driver not to let those guys get to the cab.  As more angry arguments went on, we arrived in a long alley full of camels and horses.  We decided to take the horses.  I heard camels are extremely uncomfortable.  I can just hop on one for a picture.

The "guide" did not speak English.  He had an assistant who was wearing a soccer jersey that said Figo 7.  Figo looked like he was 14 but had a mustache. I was truly impressed by Figo's ability to run up the sand hill (the guide was cruising on his horse).  We all rode up to a hill and got a great view of 6 pyramids.  The sun was setting- unreal!  UNREAL.

Then the guide just turned around and rode back.  Eck?  I thought I was going to ride around the pyramids or something, but then again, pyramids look the same on all 4 sides.  I was dropped off at a perfume shop.  I thought- here it comes, the #1 most rip off product in Egypt.  I will not be victimized.  The guy goes on and on about the perfume... he would keep saying "Why?" rhetorically and go on talking about the greatness of the Egyptian perfume.  I have no doubt they are great but not for 60EGP.  I made him take a picture and took off.

The sound & light show was going on.  It was like 200EGP to get in.  NO.  I got thirsty and went into KFC (yeah, KFC with a pyramid/sphinx view) to get a cup of coke.  Then, we went upstairs to Pizza Hut and saw that you could get a full view of the sound & light show through the window!  The worker even came and opened the window for us!  We went all the way up to the roof and watched the cheesy, dramatic sound & light show until we were satisfied.  I absolutely loved the whole experience.  Going in the evening was good for me because I didn't want to go inside the pyramids and deal with all the touts and hot weather.  

On the way back, we took the metro from Cairo University to my hostel, and for some odd reason, there were MEN in the women-only carts.  A lot of them.  I saw two in the morning and had thought it was very strange.  Do they not feel like their manhood has been downgraded?  They were shamelessly taking up half of the seats.  When we got off at Sadat, a bunch of policemen were waiting around and then came into the carts to pull all the men out.  It was awesome!  Props to those policemen and yay for women's rights!

I gotta sleep early because I am catching the 8am train to ALEXANDRIA tomorrow.  I used to play a video game called The Age of Expedition as a kid, and Alexandria was one of the 2-3 port cities in Africa.  It was not originally in my plan, but because I was so productive in Cairo in the past 3 days, I get to treat myself. 

Life is good.
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