Yesterday morning I hit you with the news that we are in Cairo (yes I know you already knew that from facebook – I just really like to say it!)
No one really cares where we are apparently, you all just want to see the pics of us on camels!! So here’s a short account and our pics from our very first full day in Cairo.
As part of our hostel booking we received a “free” visit to the pyramids of Giza.
Ahem…the term “free” was very loosely used!
Our transport to and from Giza was free – this was mostly because the driver stopped en route to get us to buy a tour with camels!! We weren’t too upset as we wanted to do the tour anyway. It would just have been nice to have been
Here’s the picture board the guy used to explain the three tiers of tour he was offering. No basic tourist brochure here……
He talked super fast (probably hoping we would miss the price!) We were a bit sceptical about the tour price and even remembered to ask the magic question “do we pay anymore after we pay you?”
Of course you do!! The tour price of AU$52 each did not include entrance to the actual Giza complex!! The nice man decided to throw that in for us once I questioned him – I would have been so pissed if I got 1 minute down the road and had to fork over another AU$40!!
Knowing we were paying too much (and not having a lot of choice as we were locked in a little room with the display board, our driver and the tour man) we decided to give it a go! It’s not like we will be back at the Pyramids anytime soon in our lives! This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime gigs!
So he gets us three camels, one horse for Jono and then our driver finds us a nice English speaking guide named Ramadan (I shit you not!)
We buy some water for our adventure from the corner store and then it’s on to the camels.
Many of you will know that I’m really scared of horses. Scared of them kicking. Scared of them biting. Scared of their wild eyes. Scared of falling off one and being in a lot of pain!
But hey, I’ll get on a camel any day of the week!
Gert and Kate climb on and I make the man help me ’cause camels are bloody big and I can’t drag myself on all alone! There’s all kinds of touching going on with the poor guide and I worry that I’m offending him and he’ll need a full body wash to get the girl germs off him before prayer time!
In hindsight it may have been the highlight of his day.
We set off down the street past parked cars, donkeys, cats, shops and big piles of rubbish. We are headed towards a gate in the enormous wall that has been built around the pyramid complex.
Civilisation was getting too close apparently and the government finally decided to build a wall to keep out the creep of the city!
Wouldn’t you know it, we have to get off our camels to go through the stupid gate!
Getting on and off a camel looks easy and it probably is if you have any muscles in your body. For a lazy bones like me it takes a supreme amount of effort!
Rule number one. You lean back when you get on or off. Sounds simple. Except leaning back means you are supporting your own body weight when the camel drops his front legs – something I avoid wherever possible!!! The first time you get on and off it’s fine. After 4 times the muscles in your arms start to BURN!!
So we get off the camel and head through the gate. The security man makes eyes at me and says I must be the student, not Kate. I tell him I love him and we both laugh. I’m sure this is not allowed in any guidebooks I have read! I breeze on through with the others and prepare to get back on the damn camel.
I lean back and hang on trying not to squeal – no use, I squeal!
Kate has no such problems – she makes this camel riding stuff look like the most fun she’s ever had!!
Jono is thrilled to be riding a horse! What a weird kid! He informs us he rode a camel once at the Eumundi markets at home so he’s going for a horse for the pyramids!! We inform him there will be camel photos for him later in the day!
We have to go uphill through the sand – this involves leaning forward on our beasts. Then we have to go downhill – this involves leaning backwards again. Urrggg…..
We wander around a sand dune and suddenly we can see the pyramids! It’s so exciting!! I cannot quite believe we are here!! For a second I even want to have a little cry up there on my camel! (Obviously the pyramids are overwhelming the first time you see them!)
It’s so quiet here. There’s barely any tourists and the noises of Cairo are a long way in the distance. All of this adds up to an amazing experience!
When we get to the top of the hill it’s off the camels again for pictures. Family camel (and horse) pictures…..
Silly jumping photos…….
And the good ol’ pyramid holding pictures (Sarah McLean these were taken just for you!!)…………..
We also make our guide, Ramadan, have his picture taken….
He thanks us profusely – maybe most tourists don’t take pics of him?
At this point a little man appears from across the sand. He has a donkey trailing after him. He opens a cold coke and hands it to Jono, who of course takes it. BUGGER!! Now we have to pay for it!! It was only 80 cents Australian and was a neat sneaky trick by the fellow selling it!!
We are then accosted by a gentleman wanting to sell us head scarves. The proper white ones with a tie around the top. He targets Gert who is not wearing a hat but he gets a big NO nonetheless!!
We drag ourselves onto the camels for the next stop right up close to the pyramids.
My internet connection here in Egypt is particularly slow so I’ll save part 2 for tomorrow…..
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