CAIRO - EGYPT
Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
73Trip End Oct 14, 2009
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Our flight to Istanbul from Bangkok included a stopover in Cairo either for 3 hours or 10 hours. First time in our lives when we preferred the 10 hours. We arrived and bought a visa and headed out into Cairo. After 30 minutes of negotiating with the taxi drivers, we got a nice ride to the pyramids. He dropped us off and said he would meet us in the same spot at 1pm to take us back to the airport.
Cairo is a huge dirty city right on the edge of the desert and sits right next to the pyramids.
We were some of the first few through the gates so we got some good pictures before the crowds started to arrive. We walked around the Great Pyramid (finished in 2560 BC) over to the Khafre Pyramid. Both equally impressive.
We bought tickets to go into the Khafre Pyramid.
Getting out was a little harder because there were so many people coming in the opposite direction but at least we knew how far we had to go this time. On the way out I put a nice big bruise in my back from hitting the ceiling - better then my head. And surprisingly the guy gave me back my camera battery. The reason I say that is because every single person that was not a tourist was trying desperately to sell something and they all seemed dishonest. Whether it was a camel ride, horse ride, postcards, water, hats, or even just to take our picture - they were everywhere wanting money. If I never go back to Egypt, its because of them. They were following us all over the place. They would give us stuff to hold and say it was a gift and free and then after refusing it, they would say they want a tip and we owe them money. Or the best were the compliments. I was told I look just like Shakera and they told Brian they would give him 1 million camels and 2 chickens for me. That was from a 10 year old kid. The same kid grabbed my bandana and asked if he could keep it, then wiped his sweat with it! They were telling Brian how he looks like one of them - Egyptian. I don't think anyone else in the world would say Brian looks Egyptian. We saw one couple climbing on the rocks and a guard, it a uniform with a semi-automatic weapon asked them if they wanted him to take their picture - of course they did. When they were done the guard was telling them they owe him money for it! There were a couple funny camel drivers that sat behind one of the pyramids and took turns smoking their hookah.
The 10 hour layover was definitely worth the visit to the pyramids. And what a treat for the people who got to sit on the plane next to us on our way to Istanbul.
Highlight of Egypt:
Of course our driver didn't show up to pick us up, so we had to negotiate again for a ride back to the airport. The driver started at 150 Egyptian Pounds and we got him down to 70 plus a 5 pound tip if he dropped us off at the airport (which was the destination). They don't like to go into the airport because of a toll. So we got in a really old car and drove into the airport highway system. Its a new airport and very confusing. We couldn't figure out how to get to terminal 3. The driver thought he took a wrong turn so when we came up to the exit (where we'd have to pay the toll) he told us to get out of the car and walk! We were on the highway - this was no little side street and there was a huge deep ditch between there and the airport plus a few parking lots - I don't think we would have gotten across if we wanted to. He kept saying we had walked 4 hours at the pyramids - whats another minute (which was really going to be at least 30). So we refused to get out which lead to us heatedly debating with him. He wasn't mad - just really confused as to why we wouldn't want to get out there. After arguing for a little bit, he threw the car in reverse on the highway (there was a big median and we couldn't turn around) and attempted to drive backwards for 1/2 a mile to the turnoff. Cars were honking like crazy at us. I was trying so hard not to laugh because he was turned around looking through the back window - and this took about 10 minutes because the car was so old, plus he kept hitting the curb. There were some more guards with semi-automatics waiting for us when we tried to reverse all the way to the round-a-bout. They made him stop of course and tell them he had to go straight. So...he got back in the car and and we drove ahead the same way we had just reversed. We went up to the toll (that we had just come from) and he asked the lady how to get into the terminal. She said the turnoff was just behind us on the right. Duh. So...he put it in reverse again - this time backing out of a toll booth! Good thing no one was behind us! I could hardly handle myself and felt so bad when I started laughing. Finally we made the turnoff - really small sign! Yippee! He got us to the door! He was so worried about us paying him because he said that if the police see taxi drivers getting paid, they will take the money from them. But all was good and we got there and he got paid. Finally at the airport!