I think most of people associate Egypt with Pyramids and Sphinxes. I guess these tourist attractions are on the lists of most travelers, who come to explore that region. The famous pyramids of Giza, the sole survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, have been visited and studied for 4000 years. Their extraordinary shape, geometry, age and location (rising out of the desert) pose the question “How were they built and for what reason?”
The Pyramids of Giza were of course on our traveler list, so this is the way how we got there:
Leaving Cairo was a…I even don’t know how to describe it, but it was a socio-environmental lesson about Egyptian style. Before we saw Pyramids of Giza we had noticed pyramids of rubbish…It’s a shame that streets of Cairo and Giza and other cities nearby are that polluted.
As a curiosity about garbage in canals and street. We read an article in the newspaper INDEPENDENT EGYPT (13.08.2012) “Rural irrigation canals are afflicted by water shortages and contaminated water“
This is small part from the article you can also find online on: http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/rural-irrigation-canals-are-afflicted-water-shortages-and-contaminated-water
“…Dumping garbage in the canals has long been commonplace due to the lack of waste management facilities in the areas. Usually, the canal water would at least push the garbage along a bit, but the severe cuts have allowed garbage to accumulate in the canals…“
Driving through Cairo wasn’t a very easy task and when we were finally reaching Giza the road was closed. We didn’t know what really happened as we got stuck in massive traffic jam. Suddenly a local guy run to us and told us that he knew a shortcut to the Pyramids. The problem was that we got stuck and we couldn’t drive out from all those cars. The guy pulled the barrier away, and we escaped from the huge traffic jam. Of course the guide wasn’t disinterested and at the end he wanted money for “the service”. We said that he never agreed with us the price or whatever at the beginning, but to get rid of him, we gave him some funny monies.
We arrived sort of during the sunset and we were trying to find a nice spot for the night. We were told that we could park overnight on the parking in front of the Giza Plateau. The parking guy said no problem, no problem and in 20 minutes asked when we were leaving, because he needed go home…We got frustrated, but another guy came and he said that we could park and go to sleep in front his shop. We used his offer and we parked in front of his shop with various perfumes, fragrances and body oils. The guy invited us inside, did the body oil presentation and was trying to convince us to buy something. He also said that he had healing touch and he is leaving Egypt as his Polish friend found a job for him in Poland. Charlie got offered to try his healing powers, but he didn’t feel any powers. Nevertheless the guy was a little bit insistent, he was actually nice and funny; and at the end he offered us a good deal for visiting the Pyramids with a camel, horse and a guide.
Night in front of body oil shop was horrible. It was very loud as during Ramadan not only adults are awake but also kids. Children were screaming and some of them wanted to get inside our Rusty.
All together for 2 people and half a day trip with a guide, camel and a horse we paid 300 Egyptian Pounds. (Entrance tickets were included and because we used our International Student Cards we paid 30EP/person).
Next morning, before sunrise, 3 of us (a nice guy from Hong Kong joined us) and guides started trip around Giza Pyramids. We started very early, so there were almost no people and the air was quite pleasant (no that hot!) At the gate some people warned us about the heat and started putting scarves on our heads. To be honest in first 2 minutes I thought that those scarves are included in our tour price (not forever, but just for time being on that trip). When they finally finished knotting those turbans on our heads, they of course asked for money. Obviously we refused and we gave those things back.
The jaunt was really nice. We started from the back side, so firstly we saw an amazing view of 9 Pyramids “located together”, then we came closer and we could see those interesting constructions up close. As everyone knows most pyramids were used as tombs and I guess lots of travelers are keen on what is inside. Some pyramids in Giza are open and you can go inside, and some of them are closed – to be honest I don’t know why as everyone tells you a different reason. Inside, you can admire hieroglyphs or what is left of them. You are not allowed to take photos inside, even without a flash. We didn’t take photos, but we stealthily recorded some videos. The interior of the pyramid can be a shelter from the Sun, but not an escape from the heat. There is very hot and humidity is high as well.
There is only one survivor Sphinx and in my opinion that area around the Sphinx is a place, where you actually cannot pass unnoticed. Lots of sellers will follow you and will try to convince you to buy something. Of course bargaining is included – it is like national sport. When we heard: “Hello Mister” or “My friend, special price for you”, we knew it’s not going to be easy to get rid of unwanted sellers. Some people will remit, but some people just cannot do it and starting behave aggressively. We had quite unpleasant situation. One guy was following us and he was giving us every 30 seconds the lower and lower price for two wooden sculptures. We didn’t want to buy them not because we didn’t like them, but because we knew that it would be a problem with transporting them later, but the guy still didn’t accept the word “no”. Finally, I said that I didn’t want them, because I didn’t need them and I didn’t like them. My words pissed the guy off and he aggressively pushed my arm and run away saying something in Arabic. To be honest I didn’t feel nice but I realized that those kinds of situations may appear more often and we should be prepared for them.