"Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May" is a poem by Robert Herrick. This poem portrays our existence on earth, and that people age as life goes on, and everything becomes boundless. Herrick here urges people to take advantage of youth and energy while they may! The poem is in the genre of carpe diem, to seize the day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cairo - Part II






Its been a week since I posted about my Cairo trip.. and I thought I should continue my Cairo journal here and write..

I woke up around 7:30-8 and was so excited because the plan was to see the Pyramids. We headed down for breakfast, and it was a beautiful site.. we sat by the Nile.. it was just amazing :-)
A lot of my friend kept telling me to avoid saying that I was Kuwaiti, I just couldn't... at the buffet, I felt like having eggs, the chef asked me if I was Arab, I said yes... and when he asked what nationality I just couldn't lie, but instead I asked him to guess... he went east to west, north to south with the Arab countries skipping Kuwait LOL. Until he was like "Kuwait??" I smiled and nodded hehehe. By 9:00 we were back in our rooms getting ready and I called the driver to pick us up...

Ahmed I: Hello
Ansam: Good morning, can you pick us up at around 10:00?
Ahmed I: Well, you see... Actually the other Ahmed is your driver, I just picked you from the airport cuz he had some thing to do, so would you mind calling him instead?
Ansam: Sure

Ahmed II: Hello?
Ansam: Yes, this is Ansam............. (telling him the same thing)
Ahmed II: I am sorry to tell you that it will take me more than an hour to pick you up! I was not informed nor prepared
Ansam: But we did the whole arrangement thing from Kuwait to have a driver on call!!!
Ahmed II: I am a bit busy
Ansam: Fine

My friend calls Kuwait about what happened.... after five minutes

Ahmed I: I am gonna pick you up soon
Ansam: Thanks

We wasted our morning waiting until he came around 11:30! It pissed me off big time since we had to call Kuwait to get things done in Cairo! Plus 11:30 isn't really early for us to go around the city :-( The driver did not seem happy about it... he was quiet!

There they are.... the Great Pyramids of Egypt! I always thought that they would be in remote area and that you cannot really see them from the city, I was wrong. As we approach'em, we were stopped by civilians who claimed they work there either as "Egyptologists" or for ticketing. There were also tourist police all over the place. One of those ticketing guys approached us and asked for PASSPORTS!! I was like WTH!? Apparently you are giving entry tickets' prices according to your nationality. So he asked us for any forms of IDs because we did not have our passports, he made it seem like a BIG mistake to be coming to the Pyramids without passport! He examined the IDs like for few minutes and was like OK, since you are Kuwaiti I will charge you EGP4 which is the Egyptian rate, but will have to charge your American friend EGP60... I was like whatever, and paid for myself, the driver, and my friend. He kept telling me "Kol sana wento 6ayebeen" (which literally translates to happy new year) all through ticketing process.... and how he worked hard on getting me the Egyptian rate because Kuwaitis and Egyptians are the same to them... I ignored him, I kept saying thanks.. but that was about it!

We had to go through security to go in while our driver drove ahead and waited for us inside.... I was surprised to read CLEARLY that they charged me just the right amount and there were no favors... It stated clearly there; the price of Fellow Arabs are EGP4... they asked for the ticket and again the guy checking my ticket gave me a "shocked-face" look on how I got the Egyptian rate... I pointed at the sign and smiled! He then stalled me asking me for ID again and asking questions... I went with the flow.

As we entered, we were looking for the driver and we were approached by one of the "Egyptologists" who harassed us rather than offering services. I kept asking him to go away! Under other circumstances I would not mind hiring an expert but since they are so annoying I decided going without them... reason I did that is because when he offered, I rejected it with thank yous... he would just ignore me and get into our car insisting on it which scared the hell outta me! I kept asking him to step out, the driver was asking him that too... my friend also, but he would just come close to my face and try to convince me to take his service...

You want worse? I saw a tourist police and I asked for his help... he came in with some hand gestures (implying tips/money) saying.. "tell me? whats wrong?" DO I HAVE TO PAY EVERYONE to get through it all or what? The Egyptologist looked back at me inside the car and was getting so close to me till I started kicking the chair and asked him to move away from my face!! He finally stepped out of the car!

We parked the car, and walked around but to add to my joy... another Egyptologist came and started talking and explaining things to us.. I ignored him 100% I asked him to leave politely but with no use... he kept walking with us like we have no choice... until I clearly told him that I was not gonna tip him or give him a penny!

The weather was two windy, the Pyramids looked amazing but the place was trashed :-( There are "No Climbing" signs, but you can climb anyway if you tip them :-( I wanted to do more... but the whole atmosphere was not helping! I wanna go again with a male presence or with an Egyptian friend or someone who really know their way around there! I wanna go again where I can have a good time without all those annoying surroundings :-( Its beautiful, its awesome, its the Pyramids for God's sake!

I remember standing in front of the Coliseum in Rome and just thinking about the history... gladiators, lions, people who walked those grounds....etc! I wish I was able to do so with the Pyramids :-( They just wont let you enjoy it... some thing must interrupt and ruin it for you!

Tips:
Bring in eye drops, water, lotion, and sanitizer. It helps a lot.

18 comments:

Jonyboy said...

Ah.....the long awaited part-2 of ur Egypt trip.

I must admit....ur detailed description of the events....had me so engrossed in ur situation, tat I cud literally feel the 'saliva' of the 'Egyptologist'...hitting my face.....hehehehe.

Reminds me of similar scenes at certain places, here in Kuwait.

Hmmm....but I really feel sad to learn tat, one of the World's Seven Wonders...can only be enjoyed by giving away....'bakshishs'. Tats really sad.

Amar said...

In Cairo, your purse has to be open for tips all the time. You will not get any services or help without tipping. To see the wonders of the world they charge you 4 pounds....so surely they expect more. When you are in NY and they charge you $80 to climb the empire state building and see NYC from the top, you don't have to tip anyone because you paid for their services (people and place). The people in Egypt depend on your money to survive the day because 4 pounds do not cover any services that they could present. I wish it was 60 for everyone so at least we have the total right to demand their services rather than begging for attention. Even the pyramids are begging for attention...and 4 pounds is just not enough to keep the cycle going so what do the Egyptians do? They ignore their duties as workers and citizens...and this cycle goes on and on and on!

Ansam said...

Jonyboy-
Tell me about those incidents in Kuwait?? hehehe

Amar-
I dont see it right! I dont see tipping your way around is the only way! Plus, EGP4 for me and EGP60 for my friend can tell you something. We did NOT ask for guide yet they force themselves into the car and getting so close to you! It is also cheap to go up Kuwait Towers but you dont see anyone forcing their services on you, right? And I know Kuwait Towers are no Pyramids. I am talking about the concept! I am saying Egypt with its awesome history is ruining the whole experience with those people. I wish it was different. Realizing you have a problem is solving half of it, but when you make excuses for it you are going nowhere :-(

Web Weaver said...

I was there last year. My friends and I spoke French, and when they asked us our nationality we told them to guess, some said Moroccan other's said Lebanese, but we stuck with Algerians and no one bothered us. We had my mother's friend with us all the time she did the whole bargaining and dealing with them. Next time, inshallah, take a 7antoor to the Pyramids it is more fun ;)

Ansam said...

Web Weaver-
Wait for the other journal entries of my trip and see how I changed to Yemeni LOL! It really HELPS BIG TIME! Its disappointing but it got me through! I wanna go again, I really do... but!!!!

Anonymous said...

Somsom, next time come with me! I'm dying to go there again. I fight with them all the time ;p and we'll go grave digging too, I did it with Azoz ;))And will take a boat trip to Luxur and Aswan! and we'll do the Mummy hunting! Like the movie ;PP I know I'm sounding ridiculous :))

Jonyboy said...

Ansam....by 'similar scenes in Kuwait'....I meant the way they swarm (like bees) around cars...tat stop.... for hiring part-time daily jobs. The so called 'egyptologists' invading your car, reminded me of tat.

I second on wat Amar said.....the circle (cycle) jus goes on n on...unless the concerned authorities do something abt it.

Oh btw.....Ansam....I jus cant wait to hear more....esp on how you changed to a Yemeni...from a Kuwaiti. Hehehe.

intlxpatr said...

That sounds like a NIGHTMARE! it gives me the creeps; it's one thing to offer a service, it's a whole other thing to force it on you, and everyone with their hands out for mo' money. Ugh.

daggero said...

أهلا وسهلا بسعادتك
نورتى مصر يامدام
كلى سنه وحدرتك طيبه

الله الله

أيه النور ده يا أنسه

معؤلة ألبلوأر العزيمة أنسام جت حدى الأهرامات

ده لازم نشيل الأهرمات ونعمل نصب تزكارى لزيارة سعادتك

أهلا وسهلا

أهلا أهلا


أهوتى يامدام

أيه ده
عشرة جنيه بس

أيه النحس اللى أنا أصطبحت فيه يارب

جتكو الأرف
سياح سكه

أوعى نشوف حدى منكو تانى
أل سياح أل


لووووووووووووووووووووول

Welcome back to Kuwait

Neoark said...

even though I traveled I don't really like to visit these places, been in egypt and never gone to perymid

Ansam said...

Anonymous-
That should be fun.... but then again with MALE presence or an Egyptian friend with us or both! hehehehe.... unless you're an expert!? And you sound like FUN babes.. NOT ridiculous :-)

Jonyboy-
What? Which city are you talking about in Kuwait? LOL I never encountered that! hehehehe tell me more? And to hear more... just stay tuned hehehe

intlxpatr-
Yes... forcing a service is annoying!

daggero-
yaaaah! danta 3melt fiha film aho!
LOL... wait till you hear about when I turned Yemeni!

Neoark-
My friend told me the same thing! Shes been to Egypt numerous times but never to the Pyramids!!!!!

Mathai said...

Nice coverage of your trip, loved reading it. What you've experienced is common in many countries that thrive on tourists. I've had similar experiences in other places.
Even though your experience was kinda creepy I'd like to visit cairo sometime soon. :)

Daddy's Girl said...

:(

Shino hal mahabeeel????

I love historical places. In the colloseum i did the same, stood idle and imagined the poor gladiators being brought up from the ruins below to meet their death with a roar... how this place was the final resting place for many souls...

and no one even said bkh to my face

and although i spent the first five years of my life in egypt -my parents were studying there- i do not really remember it and they would not take me there :( they refuse to go back madry laish :(

I want to see the pyramids o go to al oqsoor o visit all the pharos o meusums

but i can see how troublesome that should be...

mo ohom 3ndohom mathal yegol.. which is my favourite anyways el nass tekhaf ma tekhtesheesh?

I guess u have to walk with a stick or something around them... wella ma yeste7oon...

y3ni aroo7 wella ma yeswa?!?!?!??!

Ansam said...

Mathai-
Thanks... I am glad you liked it :-) I know, I have somewhat similar experiences before, but with different measures :-P

Daddy's Girl-
LOL
I love historical places too.... I can never have enough and I love the thrill of standing over those grounds walked by many before me!

No ro7ay! I am planning on going again, but like I said with a male or Egyptian friends or someone who know their way around there!

Grey said...

Really struggled to post a comment here from work ... neways !! lmao ! i'm sorry but lamo ! the tour guides are SOB's ... awww poor you !

Ansam said...

Grey-
I have more to write about this trip... stay tuned!

Amar said...

i totally agree with Ansam...I was giving you a historical perspective of the problem. Will it get solved? I have no optimism in that because since I have known Egypt, it has been the same. Now I just see it part of the culture instead. There are so many things wrong in life and this is only a fraction of it. You have to make your way through other parts of Africa where you see the worse!

Ansam said...

Amar-
I Hope things change... On another note, I was told NOT to eat salad anywhere in Egypt, but did you see my last post with the burger king rotten tomato? IN KUWAIT!!

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