Begin forwarded message:

From: Robn Diekow <robn.syheidi>

Subject: Cairo

Date: November 3, 2017 at 2:45:09 PM GMT+3

In Cairo I had trouble functioning. The heat really got to me and I had no energy. Despite that we did make it to the Egyptian Museum. Personally we found it disappointing as it was simply a huge collections of artifacts. Quite repetitious and no explanations to speak of. We had planned to go from there to Giza but I wasn’t up to it so we headed home. Stopped at an ATM for some cash. Got the receipt but not the cash. Took a lot of walking to find the right place to complain and were finally assured that we would be reimbursed if they found an error in the machine’s accounting.

Next day we caught a bus towards Giza and became pigeons of a local huckster. He claimed to be visiting from Alexandria and was going to show his son (about 6 years old) the pyramids. He could show us the entrance that the locals use which would be cheaper than the tourist entrance. We had already gotten a price from the airport tourist desk and figured anything less than that would be an improvement. The ‘local entrance’ was pretty much a recess in a wall. That was our first clue. We were introduced to a ‘guide’ and mounted on camels. They then explained our 2 or 3 options and the price for each. We ended up spending about 2/3rds of the the airport quote (which would have included getting there and back). It was more than double what our host had told us it should cost – but I think he (our host) had been talking about just an entrance ticket and then walking – no camels. Anyway it was supposed to be an “All included” price. One is supposed to haggle in Egypt but we aren’t good at that so we paid what was asked (less a pittance that we didn’t have in change) and started out feeling that we had paid way too much.

Off we went on our first (and so far only) camel ride to view the pyramids from different angles, and access to the Queen’s chamber in a smaller pyramid. I had specifically stated that I wanted to go to the King’s chamber but once it was too late to complain, they claimed that the King’s chamber tickets had to be purchased early in the morning and were no longer available for that day. According to what I read later, they sold tickets in two batches, AM and PM while they insisted it was AM only. It could have changed after the posting I read, but I doubt it. Was it a communication problem or a bait and switch? I suspected the later but once I made it to the Queen’s chamber I quit worrying about it as I was feeling so tired and hot that I don’t think there is any way I could have made to the King’s Chamber anyway.

Then, we wanted to see the boat on display but they insisted that it was closed. They said not possible. We said, okay, thanks for the camel ride and tour but we will manage on our own for the sphinx. They got quite controlling and insisted that it was not permitted to be without a guide. We did not believe this based on what our host had told us but we ended up giving up the argument. Partly because it was a lot easier to ride than walk, I think. So we visited the sphinx and then returned to where we started. We were then told that we owed the guide a tip. No way. The price quoted had been “all inclusive”. The guide had spoken no English except for “lean back, lean back” each time the camels got up or down. Nothing had been said about a tip. The father from Alexandria no longer seemed like a chance fellow tourist but rather a scam artist. He got quite rude in his demands for more money for the guide. We told him he was welcome to tip the man if he wanted to but we would not. He had paid for part of our bus fare to Giza – a paltry half buck or less and tried to use that to guilt us into returning the courtesy. It left a sour taste but not enough to ruin the day. It was still fun to ride the camels and see the pyramids up close.

On to Athens.
Robn and Dave


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