Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cairo - Amazing Pyramids + lots of sand and dust

Only until we arrived to Cairo, I realized how big this city was. It has around 14 million people + Giza city (next to it) has another 7 million, which makes this area super populated. 

The first impression of Cairo is a really busy city and super dusty. All the buildings show very dirty facades. I guess the thought its that it doesn't make much sense to clean them when sand flows again everywhere in a matter of hours. 

We had the opportunity to stay in a very nice hotel in Giza by the pyramids, 

Our room overlooked the pyramids which was awesome!

It gets so dusty at night that even though the pyramids were right in front, they would look like they disappeared at night. Very mysterious. ;)

As soon as we arrived there was a wedding happening. Tons of people and drums, which was great to see. Also they had a Lebanise show where we saw some belly dancing

and I got to do some deverish dancing, as I learned in turkey the week before :)

We were so closed to the pyramids that we walked to the site when we visited. 

All kinds of people tried to guide to get some money from us, so I pulled out my Spanish so most of the vendors wouldn't know what to say/offer.

Like in any big tourist site vendors always try to do their best to take advantage of you (rip you off), in fact when we bought our tickets and got into the site, a guy dressed as a worker asked us for our tickets (what it seemed like a check point to us), once we showed them to him, he grabbed them and wanted us to follow him...
We then said "Hey hey no no no" we just want to walk, give us our tickets back! and of course he did. The guy was trying to take us for an unsolicited tour. Ha! 

Later on a couple other guys asked to check our tickets again, this time we completely ignored them. 
(Tricks and tips for when you go) 

In general people are nice, they are just trying to make a living 

About the Great Pyramid, you can get inside as we did, however you have to go through a really small entrance and a very small and long ramp up.

The passage leads you ultimately to a small chamber where you will find a sarcophagus but nothing else there. Honestly it's cool we went in but it is not very worthwile. 

What it's worthwile is to walk around the site where you realize how immense these structures are! Each rock was as high as myself and very wide. 

Also the desert is right there. When you go, make sure to go to the high point where you can get an amazing view of the desert and all pyramids together. 

You would need a ride to get there, lucky us we met some locals from Europe that had a car, so we just jumped in there car to get there. :)

Once up there you can see the whole site.

And better yet to get down and go around on a camel!

Again we used our negotiating skills and got the 2 camels rides thought the desert all the way to the Sphinge and exit for 150 Egyptian pounds. ($20 USD total)

And the experience was just priceless!
It was amazing!! 

Because Egypt is a Muslim country women cover up a lot, so apparently local guys come visit the pyramids to see tourist girls as we dress a little bit different! 
Some guys had a discussion with my camel guy, then I found out that the locals wanted to get pictures with me.. Haha!

The camel seemed happy as he got to get pictures next to me haha! ;)

On the way back the camel guys wanted to help us out getting a cab, super nice

but we decided to walk back to see a little bit of Giza. I think we were the only tourists around.

We also had the opportunity to visit a little bit of downtown Cairo, we went to the Egyptian museum which is next to the El-Tahrir square where the big Arab Spring stared. 

Quite honest the situation in Egypt has affected tourism a lot, we didn't see a tourist around that area either which at the same time it makes you feel observed at all times. 

We decided to head to the intercontinental hotel near by and got great advise, where we ended taking an espontaneus private Nile river cruise for 200 Egyptian pounds ($25 USD total), super recommended.

Here is me helping the guy as the boat was already moving and he wasn't on yet!


In Cairo everything is negotiable, so in these situations I apply my dad's rule - which is "whatever is the asking price, simply offer half" then you are most likely to negotiate a reasonable price.

All and all it was a great visit, there are tons of new constructions projects around Cairo so I would be interested to see how the city would look like in few years.

At the end of our visit we headed to the most inefficient airport I have ever been to. 
They have around 10 security check points, staring with a long line just to get to the entrance of the airport itself. As you can imagine there was people pushing theirselfs and their bags in, while others were cutting the line everywhere they could. At that point we were ready to hit our next destination - Dubai.

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