Sunday, March 09, 2008

day 3

Subway ticket to Giza: $0.20
Sharing a cab to the Pyramids: $0.50
Bus ticket back to the Metro: $0.10
Subway ticket back to Cairo: $0.20
Share of tip to local who helped us find the bus and treated us to
cane juice: $0.50
Visiting the Pyramids on our own terms: priceless

After 16+ miles of walking yesterday we went for another action packed today, hitting up both the Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum.

Rather than book organized transportation for the Pyramids (which would have cost us an astonishing $10! That's insane!), we decided to go there ok our own terms. We rocked the metro from our hotel to Giza, which is 9km from the Pyramids. There, we found a cabbie who was willing to take us there for E£5 (about a dollar). Seemed too easy!

Well, it kind of was. He dropped us off in some random place where some people tried to sell us camel rides, which we of course refused. After all, E£50 (about ten bucks)! That's insane! The fake tourist police guy then pointed us the wrong way to the main entrance. Basically he told us to go take a walk in the desert. After passing by the edge of town (about 200m), things didn't seem quite right and we turned around, following the wall the other way. My guess is that they would strand us and then subsequently "rescue" us for some even higher charge. Not us!

After taking a walk through the town, which was mostly stables, we got to the main entrance. We would be constantly accosted by people offering camel rides, ranging from E£25 to E£50 (five to ten dollars). After a while we got tired of it and started speaking exclusively in Cantonese and pretending not to know any English. The trick worked pretty well! In the end we walked to all the places the camels would have taken us, and it didn't cost us anything, just the E£25 entrance fee. Good times. Only issue was the air quality - pretty bad today. But as I said, it was a great experience.

Getting back to the metro was a bit more of a challenge. No one was willing to take our cheapass offer of E£5, although one did offer E£10. We were about to go for E£10 when we ran into some random dude (Abdul) who told us that we should take the bus instead. He took us to the bus stop and waited for the bus with us, even treating us with some cane juice. E£0.50 later, we are back to the metro station. As George W. Bush would say, mission accomplished.

After the Pyramids, we headed over to the Egyptian Museum, which is conveniently located on the other side of a ten lane road, which we crossed, because that's what we do. We are getting pretty good at dodging cars, although I have to keep reminding myself that just because its comfortable doesn't mean it's safe. (-;

Tomorrow: get bus and train tickets for Mt. Sinai and Luxor and probably return to Islamic Cairo.

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