Monday, January 16, 2012

A" Great" Discovery in Egypt...

This past weekend was my daughter's birthday.  We had only been in Cairo for a week and we wanted to do something special.  As I sat clinging to my children in the back of a taxi I wondered if this was really a good idea. I made sure I told them that I loved them. If this was going to be it I wanted to make sure that they knew that their mother cared.  I kissed them and held them I even whispered a prayer.  It might have been the lack of seat belts in the back of the cab, or possibly the breakneck speeds that we were reaching but I felt untethered from the earth.

 I watched the world passing by me out the window; colorful laundry adorning sand colored buildings, carts pulled by donkeys, sheep, people going about their daily business in this strange city, and cars, cars everywhere.  There were buildings as far as I could see into the dust.  Most of them in some state of construction or destruction... it was hard to tell.  This city is filthy, this city is gritty, it is something that you can't describe.  You can't even capture it on film.  It looks too cleaned up that way.  Without the sounds and the smells you just can't see it all.

 Then I saw them in the distance.  They were faint at first, barely visible through the smog and pollution, but still there larger than life.... looming.  I started to cry.  I was so excited that I couldn't contain the emotions.  This was something special.

The kids were pointing and shrieking "There they are!  Look mom!  It's the pyramids!!!"  They had seen them too.  We were almost there.

Our driver sped through the crowd of "tour guides" as they stepped in front of our taxi risking life and limb for a dime.   He dropped us off at the door and then over charged us with some excuse that the meter was broken.  But I didn't care.  I was at the great pyramids.  What could possibly go wrong?  Yes dear reader this is foreshadowing. The Great Pyramids are a sham.  But I am skipping ahead in my tale, because at this point I was still giddy with excitement.

We paid our entry fee, stepped inside, and it all went to hell.

People come at you from all sides wanting to give you a tour, sell you their wares, and take you for a ride (and not just on their camel)...  And they don't take no for an answer.  They touch you, grab you, and put things in your hand only to demand that you pay for them.  They don't let up for a moment.

The only time I felt at peace was when I was inside the pyramid of Khufu.  It was thrilling walking up the wooden ramps into the heart of the pyramid.  Once I stepped outside, however, the crush of desperation started all over again, the overwhelming smell of camel piss assaulted my nostrils, and I felt powerless once again.

Yeah we walked around, we took some pictures, and we saw the sights.  You can even see us smiling in some of the photos...  We were just as much part of the show as everything else.






Our taxi ride home was better.  Our second driver was great.  He spoke excellent English and gave us a wealth of wonderful information about the sights of Egypt.  He even stopped the cab so that he could take our picture in front of the Nile.  We got out of the car at Road 9 and paid the driver (a quarter the amount of the first ride).  We were walking towards the restaurant for a birthday lunch and trying to put a positive spin on a trying day when Paul realizes that we had been robbed.  The thieves at the pyramid hadn't just stolen our experience... they had our money as well.  Without enough money for lunch we turned for home.  I think next time I'll just watch the discovery channel.

14 comments:

  1. Ok, that was funny, um, I mean how terrible. What's the secret to a fair cab ride? Negotiate up front?

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    1. The meter is the best bet... but our cabbie lied and said that his broke during our ride and so he just charged us what he wanted. Oh well... live and learn.

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  2. hot damn! my mom swore by the money-in-the-bra method, but I was always too embarrassed to try

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    1. Wouldn't want to get robbed if that was my preferred method, however. I also wouldn't want to get caught digging the money out.

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  3. LOVE the finger on the pyramid photo! Happy to hear of your adventures :)

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  4. OH, my goodness, Jenn, but these adventures are so much more exciting than weaving baskets in the woods at BOW workshop...Keep sending your fun lively adventures...What are you guys doing in Egypt, anyway?

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    1. It is more exciting than basket weaving... but I must say that I will miss that soooo much. I saw a man with a basket cart the other day and I can't wait to check out the local techniques and possibly get my hands on some weaving materials.

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  5. Sorry about all that stuff..happens all over the world...

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    1. Yes... sadly it does happen all over the world. Most of my experiences here have been pretty cool... I will write a more positive post soon.

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  6. Wow. You describe this so well, I almost feel like I'm there. So sorry to hear about the bad experience but how amazing to see the pyramids! Love the photo of your daughter touching the tip of the pyramid!

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  7. Hi there ~ you are such a great story teller - glad you made it over there safely, but WOW what an adenture you had! Great pix, stay safe and love those adorable babies of yours!! when do you think you'll come back to Texas or are you in this for the long run? We'll miss you at BOW!!!

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  8. Wonderful stuff, Jenn! Keep us informed.

    With love,

    Nora from Germany

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  9. Hah, so sorry to hear about your bad experience! May be we had to know each other earlier to help you with Giza- trip:)) We are living near the Pyramids and I've visited them only ones, so my daughter- she prefers to look at them from distance:D

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