Welcome to Egypt! Excuse me. What is your name? Where are you from? Do you want Egyptian husband? You are beautiful….blah blah – think I’ve heard it so many times now that I must be the best looking chick on earth.
So far so good. Cairo is crazy. I think I had real culture shock for the first time in all my travels. Men in dresses everywhere! People, people and more people. There are about as many people in Cairo as there are in the whole of Australia and boy does it feel like it. Luckily one of the reasons I am in Egypt is for my friend Sarah’s brother’s wedding to an Egyptian woman Shereen who became our host, tour guide and interpreter for 2 days around Cairo. Originally heading to the Pyramids alone, she accompanied Sarah and I to the pyramids on public transport – something I thought would be a fairly common trip that tourists make. No no no – I don’t think many tourists are that stupid. Navigating the underground metro train on the women’s only (thank Allah!) carriage was easy enough but the bus trip to the pyramids was quite another thing. Firstly working out which side of the road to take a bus from then which bus, was a mission even with Shereen there. You’d think there would be helpful signs pointing to probably the biggest tourist attraction on earth but no, no signs what so ever. And then the bus ride! I’ve been on some full buses but this was insane. We jumped through the back door of the moving bus and squeezed our way down to the front pushing people (sorry – men – there didn’t appear to be any local women on this bus – very sensible) out of our way. That kind of freaked me out a bit because of all the stories I heard about women getting groped. I didn’t exactly get groped but some young man attempted what I would call frottage. Urgh! He was panting and I realised what he was doing. Anyway – yuk. Led astray by some “helpful” man from the bus stop who told Shereen he lived next to the pyramids, we hopped off the and headed down a dodgy alley where his friend from a “government” office tried to sell us a camel ride around the pyramids and entrance tickets. Totally illegal ofcourse – what would Allah think? So over people being nice to you but really in the end all they want is money – not just an Egyptian phenomenon. Needless to say I kicked up a fuss and we left although the “helpful” man had the audacity to ask Shereen for 5 Egyptian pounds just to show us how to get to the pyramids from where he had brought us! The pyramids themselves were wicked. It was so great to finally see them. Suprisingly few tourists and even more suprising was the entrance which was little more than an old wooden ticket booth.
OK – I’m on holiday still so off to see some more ancient sites rather than sit at a computer! More coming soon…..