Friday, August 14, 2009


(chee-jipped) - At the risk of sounding too defensive, I have to say I was fairly certain it was made in China bought in Egypt, and i was jipped. But the kids wanted something so I'm coming home with a set of Cheegyptian pyramids and a sphinx for each of them. I knew I went too high (50 egypt pounds which = $10 US) when his buddy dropped his Tutankhamen bust from 350 pounds to 40 when the original seller was going to get change for me. My cab driver said I probably paid about double a price outside the tourist zone and they were definitely made in China (despite the 'made in Egypt' tag inside the plastic). I took the Internet recommendations though and had fun with the bartering and it is obvious they need the money more than I. The guy selling the bust was hollering to a smiling Egyptian in front of me as I was leaving and I shrugged my shoulders and said with a smile, "someone already got me on these pyramids". He smiled REAL big with a look in his eye and chuckled as if it was a game well played... again, he may have just wanted to eat me tho.

Day started off with learning a lesson. Instead of going thru the front desk for arranging a cab, I walked down the road to the main street and flashed the peace sign... 3 cars later I had a cab ride for 1/2 of the hotel price (those who didn't take my price, I said bye to). Getting right to the pyramids was interesting because I saw the business scheme coming. Kid jumps in front of the cab and the driver (Ahmed, my age, super nice) starts yelling at him... the kid reaches inside the driver door and tries to unlock it and open it and they are going back and forth for a bit while the cab is still rolling. Ahmed keeps going and then a big dude gets in front of the car and gets in easily, immediately shakes my hand and says, "my name is Adam".... are you kidding me? So, right before the gates to the pyramids, the taxi pulls into an area where horses and carriages are kept. I can tell that Ahmed hadn't planned this, but it looked normal as a lot of taxies were coming in. Within 30 seconds I'm on a horse and we take off without a price. Whoa I say, let's talk.... so for the next 10-15 minutes I'm really out of my comfort zone about being firm to the point of rudeness on not budging until we set a price I like. Long story slightly shorter - Adam started at 80 US and in the end settled for 40$ for the private tour. There was a lot of back and forth, and in the end he didn't seem too happy; tough, I probably paid too much still :). Adam handed me off to Ahsin who led me around. Bum, meet horse, horse, meet bum... over and over! He let me off at the Sphinx and I walked around and chilled for a bit; I knew Ahsin was waiting for payment outside, but I took my time. Walking out, I found him and he was sweating bullets.... he probably thought I left. After paying him, someone who 'knew' him quickly ushered me into a shop (it is a neat trick to keep you moving and a bit off your guard)... I had to check out the papyrus room according to him and before I know it, I'm on the 3rd floor of a shop with a bunch of papyrus paintings... pretty sweet really, but a rip off in price; after many no thank you's I'm at the door and about to be off and the dude asks me for a tip for showing me his shop. I had some piares which are the paper equivalent of pennies so I said here, it's all I have (the rest of the money was in my other pocket, not my wallet).

Ride home was pretty good, nothing too crazy. I'm claiming success as the ride cost me about 50 pounds; when I first got here the cab ride was 250 pounds for about the same distance.

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I'll end on an interesting note. I asked the cab driver if everyone wore pants because of something in Islam and he said yes, but they can wear shorts that are mid-shin (super high-waters). I also asked him about the hijab and why some women don't wear it - he kind of shook his head as if irritated and said 'some, no hijab, and some even chewing gum' and he chomps his mouth real loud. I understand modesty and agree with that, but some of the burqas I've seen... it's like 95-100 out and women must be near roasting in these black things head to toe and you can tell some have jeans/clothes on underneath (men are often wearing white or tan colors... lucky guys). I haven't been out that much, but have done quite a bit of wandering in downtown Cairo and around the hotel and you never seen groups of boys with girls (400+ people praying in the streets were all men). Mostly groups of young men together; the groups of women are usually 2-3. Something else I've noticed... a lot of the men have bruises on their foreheads; unlike bella they haven't crashed into anything (I don't think...); it must be from prayers. Interesting place, overall a great adventure.

Oh, and Jamie... the gal here was kind enough to throw out a little leg kick for the burqini picture!


1 comment:

Jamie said...

Okay, I am loving these posts, By! I was hoping there would be another one this morning, and you came through!! ;0)

Regarding the burquini... What to say? OH. MY. !!!?? And what did you do, holler to her to kick her leg higher, HIGHER like you did to me when Kim was taking Corey and my 10 year pics? ;0)

The pics of you in front of all those landmarks are totally surreal! Seriously, it looks like you were superimposed on them. Crazy!

Too, too cool, cuz.

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