Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Want to visit the Pyramids? Don't even think about it

So Cairo needs a whole lot more legitimate jobs as you will see from my experience attempting to visit the Pyramids.

First off, Uber sucks in Cairo. If you actually get an Uber in Cairo consider it a gift from the Gods. Two reasons it sucks so much:

  • The cell network in Cairo is very slow and unreliable which means it takes forever for Uber to find you a driver, and then if they find you a driver you have no idea what they are doing when trying to pick you up
  • Traffic in Cairo is insane, right up there with the likes of Jakarta, Indonesia
On the way to the Pyramids, my Uber driver actually bumped into the side of another car and just kept on going. I should have taken this as a sign of things to come.

Not to say anything bad about my Uber driver Ahmed though. Because once we got to the site of the Pyramids, he was flagged off the road and into a dirt parking lot where two different "handlers" literally got into the car and tried to get me to agree to take a camel, horseback, or carriage around the Pyramids site for 400 Egyptian pounds.

I didn't want to do this, so my Uber driver kept telling the "handlers" he wasn't going to help them take money from me for something I did not want to do. The "handlers" lowered their price to 200 Egyptian pounds but I didn't want to do it for any price. Eventually the "handlers" got out of the car and my Uber driver got me to the legitimate ticket office where I paid 80 Egyptian pounds to be able to walk the grounds of the Pyramids.

I thought my troubles would be over once I paid for my ticket and went through the gate to enter the area of the Pyramids. Wrong. On the inside of the grounds, there were more hustlers that kept trying to get me to take camels, horseback, or carriages around the grounds. I just said, "Thank you", and kept walking.

That's when some young Egyptian punk who spoke pretty good English came up to me and started walking next to me. He said some pleasantries, and then handed me a men's Arabic head dress and said, "Here, my gift to you!" I told him I did not want it because I've been around before and know there is nothing free in life.

I tried to leave the Arabic head dress along the side of the road but he got angry and wanted me to keep it. So he walked with me further and made small talk even though I knew what was coming. Eventually of course he asked for money, which was the whole point of his hustle, and I didn't mind giving him a few Egyptian pounds for his troubles.

When I brought out the wad of Egyptian pounds I had in my left pocket, that motherfucker literally steals 200 Egyptian pounds right out of my hand. I tried to get it back but he would not give it. So I threw all of his shit down on the ground, told him to get away from me and to fuck off, and then I went away from him.

As I got near to the Sphinx, I saw an Egyptian policeman and I tried to tell him I just had a thief steal money from me. He did not speak good English, so I used Google Translate on my cell phone and wrote, "you have thieves working here" which translated to لديك لصوص يعملون هنا.

The Egyptian policeman understood and wanted me to show him who it was that stole 200 Egyptian pounds from me. He got a guy with a motorcycle and all three of us went back up to where the Pyramids were. I actually stopped for a guy who looked very much like the punk that took my money, but as I got closer to him I knew it wasn't him. So we kept looking.

At the top of the hill in between the two big pyramids, there he was still trying to hustle people out of money just like he did with me. The three of us confronted him, and he gave up the 200 Egyptian pounds to the motorcycle driver, but then several other hustlers working the area came around us and tried to mediate a peaceful solution.

All I said was is that I wanted my money back and I wanted this punk to understand not to take money from anyone else again. The motorcycle driver had my money so I was good with that, but I wasn't sure if he understood not to steal from other people. The Egyptian policeman had called his captain and was having more officers come to the scene, and with the threat of going to jail I want to believe the punk understood how serious this was.

While I was talking with the other hustlers, I told them I would drop the matter and not press further charges if he understood not to steal from other people again. They gave me their assurances, and the group disbanded. I went with the motorcycle driver and the policeman back down to where had found them next to the Sphinx.

When I got down there, the police captain and many other policeman were gathered and ready to come up to where we had just been. We spoke for a little bit about what happened, the police captain returned me my 200 Egyptian pounds, and I left the site for good.

While I feel bad about getting the police involved, I hope that punk understands what he did was wrong and does not do it to anyone else in the future. With all the hustlers and thieves working both in and around the grounds of the Pyramids, I would highly recommend you stay away at all costs from going there. While your life may not be in danger, I can promise you your wallet is in grave danger while visiting there.