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Published: April 12th 2012
We fly into Cairo late, due to our late departure from Larnaca
We catch a bus into the city, really proud that we've done as the locals do and paid 30 cents for transportation as opposed to 40 dollars plus to get into the city centre.
Unfortunately our victory is short lived as we are convinced into staying at a decrepit and over priced hotel room close by the station.
Our first morning in Cairo, we decide to organise a tour of the pyramids of Giza. We're told, by our overly priced hotel (warning) that the best way to see this is with a taxi. The hotel manager organises the taxi whilst we wait in reception.
Farouk our taxi driver greets us moments later. He seems very humble, but at the same time excited to give us the best tour experience to the pyramids and the Sphinxee (Sphinx) as he calls it. Farouk lets us know how big a fan he is if tourists, particularly Australian tourists and throughout the ride shows him some gifts other Australian tourists have left him.
Its an experience driving through traffic during daylight hours in Cairo. Although there are
only 2 lanes, the traffic actually takes up 4 to 5 lanes of traffic at any one given moment in time. It's also kosher we discover, for tourists to stop illegally along the route to take photos of tourist sights such as the Nile. Farouk being ever ready to please offers us a free coffee along the ride.
We take him up on the offer, only to realise he has taken us to a shop where they sell Papyrus artwork. Whilst in the shop they take us through demonstrations of how they use the Papyrus plant to create an artwork. It pretty cool and I have no idea how anyone can tell between a real Papyrus leaf and a fake by the end.
Following our "free coffee/museum" stop off Farouk drives us to the pyramids. Upon arrival Farouk insists we stop briefly by a "very well priced" tour agency he knows regarding tours of the pyramids camel or horse. He and the tour agency argue its important to get a tour by a trusty steed because
a) it's far and hot - its over12 kilometers to get to the pyramids from where we stand and
we are on holidays why to enjoy ourselves.
The last point strikes a chord with me as I think of my poor dad having to walk through to the sand dunes to get to these blasted pyramids.
We agree to the horse and camel tour and make a quick toilet break before heading off for our ride. Whilst on the toilet break one of us notes that the pyramids are actually only 500 meters away from where we stand. W
ith our new found discovery we make haste to inform our tour company of their misinformation. The tour company not wanting to lose business drops the price extremely low and before we know it we are off me on the horse (I've ridden a camel before in Mongolia
) and dad and my brother Ivan each on a camel.
We ride off into the sunset, past the slowly dying horses that have been over worked to near death and little boys selling disposable whips made out of plants to make the horse go faster. When we get to the pyramids even though it's not allowed our tour guide encourages us to climb a top the pyramids in
photos like he is doing us a favor. F
ollowing the dunes and our illegal climbing we make our way to the Spynx.
The Spynx is swarmed by a multitude of tourists almost daily and on this day it seemed to be a high proportion in favor of Russian tourists.
Following the pyramids and the Spynx Farouk offers us a free visit to the museum. On hearing the wore free we are wary but think once again hey it's free. We get to the "museum" only to discover its a perfume shop.
After refusing to make any purchases and politely browsing we are ready to leave. Farouk takes us back to our hotel.
On our way to the hotel Farouk asks if we had a good day.
We tell him yes and thank him for the day despite his instant attempts at making extra business for himself on the side.
He makes a suggestion that we can tip him if we like but we are under no obligation to do so.
We thank him for the day but tell bum we have no intention on tipping him for his efforts to
make extra business from us.
We return to our hotel and Farouk again asks
"You have a good day?"
To which we reply
"Yes Farouk we have a good time"
to which Farouk asks us
"I do a good job yes?"
"Yes, despite the misleading detours"
Farouk tells us once again
"if you enjoyed the day you are welcome to tip me. It's optional but appreciated."
We thank Farouk for the suggestion and head up to our hotel as the sun begins to set.
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