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Day 42: All Day Tour of Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza

Monday, May 17, 2010
Got up before 8 am to go to the passport place and get a re-entry visa so we could take a trip to Jerusalem, Israel. We had gotten directions from a guy at the airport who overheard us asking about it in immigration. We started walking to the place but it got complicated so we got a taxi for $1 to take us. The place was only about 10 blocks. We went right in and filled out a form and they passed us through various windows to pay and get stamps. We left the passports and went to breakfast at McDs and then met our private tour guy Tarik at 10am at the hotel.

Blew through Cairo as Tarik drives like a maniac like most of the Egyptians. Went directly to the Pyramids of Giza which looked fantastic towering above the outskirts of Cairo as we approached. Tarik took us right to a camel guy and we negotiated a two hour lap around the whole area for about $50 total. Kate got on her camel and freaked out when it got up. To get up the camel stands up on his back legs first so the rider is thrown forward and then stands completely up as the rider is thrown backwards. She screeched during that whole thing and then was really nervous since the camel was so tall and she was high up. I mounted my beast and we walked about half a block before Kate aborted the mission. They were all telling her to calm down and relax but I knew that it was game over for her. So we asked for a horse for her and one of the guys took her camel and ran back with a little horse. I loved my camel since it was a nice smooth ride. It was hard to take pictures since the camel rocked back and forth.

Kate had some trouble with her horse since at first the guys just let her go with it. I told them to lead it for her since she doesn't know how to ride a horse so they did that the rest of the way. She was nervous the whole time since her horse was a little skittish. It really bucked once when my huge camel almost ran over it from behind.

We got down a few times for photos and the whole desert area was extremely scenic with guys on camels, horses, and buggies running around. It was a real desert scene. One funny thing I saw was a cop on a camel chasing a kid on a camel through a parking lot. We got down at the main pyramid place and then again at the Sphinx to take a ton of photos. We got tired of Tarik and the camel guy and all the other people who were constantly asking us for money.

Next Tarik took us to another pyramid with some tombs and hieroglyphs and more people bothering us for money. We also stopped at a carpet making school where they had some kids making carpets and then they would give you the hard sell. Kate shut them down pretty fast before they showed us too many carpets and got nasty. I had had enough of Tarik and we told him to take us to the hotel and end the tour which was only about half over. Had to fight with him a little too since I didn't want to reimburse him for some stuff that he said that he had paid for on the trip.

That evening went to Pizza Hut and more people latched onto us and took us to a store where Kate bought a papyrus painting for 5 euro. She still thinks that she has to buy everything that they show us. Took a different way home from the Pizza Hut on the major streets and got lost. The streets were packed with people and it was hard to walk fast. Crossing the streets was also a hassle since you just have to wade into traffic and hope that they stop since there are no crosswalks. We walked through a few places where there were sidewak cafes and everybody was smoking the hukas. To find our way home we had to go to an internet cafe and look up the address to the hotel and then we fould it pretty easily. We had walked right by our street on the way.

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