Next stop Giza! On our way out of Cairo we saw a man on a motorcycle with cages of chicken. We also saw a bunch of women with an infant in the back of a pickup truck. As we crossed over from Cairo to Giza we stopped to take pictures.
As we drove we passed a lot of rundown areas. Sonja and I eventually decided to use the restroom on the bus, which was an experience to say the least. We struggled to find the light and the flusher. We survived though!
Sherif had the bus make a stop at a clothing store so Nicole and I could pick up some items. I thought he wanted us to be quick about it so I tried to just pick up easy stuff. I picked out 2 Egypt t-shirts at 75 LE each and a pair of socks. The socks were 40 LE when I could buy them at home for 5LE ($1). I had no other choice. I didn’t buy anything else because I thought we were in a rush, it was expensive, and I hoped my suitcase would be arriving soon. Nicole wound up taking at least 30 minutes in the store. Sherif and I chatted while we waited for her. He asked me about my scarab necklace and laughed when I explained I won it at the Luxor in Las Vegas. I got some free postcards and Sherif told the owner of the store something about me so I got a free bottle of pretty sand.
After we finally left the shop we continued on to the pyramids. We got to catch glimpses of them as we got closer. I was so excited! We pulled up to them and had to get out of the bus to go through security. Then we re-boarded the bus. Sherif gave us each 20LE to tip our camel drivers. I took my epipen, camera, the tip, extra cash, and a water bottle with me. We got off the bus and were immediately hounded by vendors. I navigated my way through them and went to the camels, while most of the group purchased headdresses for 15LE. The camels only had one hump. The ones in Israel had two. The guy put my water bottle in the camel’s side pocket because he said I would need my hands to hold on. Thus, I put my camera bag around my neck. This camel was a lot taller than the one in Israel and way more uncomfortable. When the camels got up almost everyone freaked out a bit, but I was already used to it from Israel. My camel was led by a little boy, which scared me a bit.
We had a long ride to get to the best spot for pictures. The ride was not comfortable and though I was looking at the pyramids my mind was distracted by the camel. The boy told me his name was Abraham and he was 10. He also told me the camel’s name, which I don’t remember. Halfway through our journey the camel handlers got into a fight. From what I could make out between Arabic and gestures, one of the small boys was leading a camel and they deemed him to be too young to help out. At this point Abraham took some pictures of me and we rode on. I kept trying to focus on the pyramids and their beauty, but something related to the camel always seemed to distract me. I also kept wishing I had on the jeans I packed instead of the sweatpants which caused me to feel everything. My butt and legs were killing me!
On the way back Abraham was now in charge of the little boy’s camels as well. Sonja’s money blew away, but Abraham got it. When we got back it was time for the tip and the group picture. I gave Abraham the 20LE, but then he had a sad look on his face. I felt bad and he reminded me of the poor children in Chichen Itza, so I gave him an extra 5LE. His whole face lit up and he looked like he wanted to hug me. He shook my hand and hid the money. That was the best $1 I have spent in a while. His reaction was priceless. I had to get back on the camel for the group picture.
Then we headed off to a ramp for more pictures with the pyramids. The vendors of course followed. I saw the postcards I wanted and spent either 5LE or 10LE for 10 postcards. We took more pictures and boarded the bus to drive right up to the pyramids.
The pyramids looked less impressive up close because you really couldn’t see high they were. We were able to climb on the pyramids and take pics. I wish I could have spent every moment of down time looking at the pyramids instead of talking to people. I really needed more time to soak them in. Then Sherif took us to a pyramid that we could go into. At that point I was feeling way too hot to go in. I knew there was nothing inside, it would be super hot, and very clastrophic. We headed back to the bus and there were no vendors in sight.
I asked Sherif for an update about my bag since it was after 2pm. I also texted my mom. Sherif tells me that the plane is late so it will be closer to 3pm. He gives us our tickets to the Sphinx. My mom calls me and tells me that my bag wasn’t put on the plane. My head starts spinning. What now? When will I get my bag? I had to hang up because we were at the Sphinx. I get halfway down the block and realize I left my ticket on the bus. I turn around, but the bus is gone. I run to Sherif and tell him about my bag and ticket. I’m completely out of it and he can tell. He tries to calm me down and tells me they’ll have the bag flown to the cruise. He also tells me not to let this ruin my trip. He’s right. I have spent my whole life dreaming about this trip and I can’t let KLM screw it up. He shakes me a bit and I realize that I am in front of the Sphinx! He tells the guard about my ticket situation. He lets me go in.
I walk in and it just doesn’t seem real. We are immediately hounded by kids who want 5LE to take our pics. All I want to do is be left alone and I tell them no, which was a super big mistake. Sherif feels bad for me and convinces me to take some pics with him. I eventually just sit with him and stare at the Sphinx. We talk about Zahi Hawass for a bit. He points out the dream stone. I never realized it was between the paws. I knew the story though. So Sherif has me tell the story to whoever was listening.
On our way back to the bus a guy offers Mat 100 camels and 1000 chickens to buy Lexi. I buy 10 Papyrus bookmarks for 5LE. (In hindsight I should have bought more). We board the bus and I fill everyone in on the news about my bag. We drive to Felfela. Sherif gets a call from Heather at AMEX. They are trying to get me my bag in Aswan or Luxor. Aswan would mean Monday or Tuesday. Luxor would mean Wednesday or Thursday. Oy! I decide not to eat in the restaurant. I use their restroom and then sit with Paul and Michael at the table. We recreate the pyramids with 3 water bottles and flan. Sherif tried to get me to eat. The guys then offered me clothes out of their suitcases. Aww!
After they finished eating, we went and sat in the restaurant’s garden area. Nicole smoked Shaseesh (the water pipe). We went around and formally introduced ourselves and said a bit about ourselves. All Australians except for Paul, Nicole, and me.
Lamps for Ramadan
Solar Boat Pit