My original plans were to fly into Egypt, travel south then go somewhere else. I realized that I know nothing about Egyptian history so going to all the historic sites is wasted on me.
Instead I decided to see Cairo then head east. Cairo is my kind of place; its busy, it’s loud, it’s crazy. There’s supposed to be over 20 million people in one place is going to be hectic. Just walking around the city reminds me of how it felt in Bangkok for the first time. I love the chaos in Cairo and there are almost no westerners here so it feels more authentic.
The Pyramids of Giza
Giza is the city across the Nile from Cairo and also where the famous pyramids are. So a driver for the day cost me 300 Egyptian pounds or about £15. Driving out of Cairo and through Giza felt like completely different city.
After a while of driving down a bumpy road, past people riding camels and donkeys we arrived at a stable. I didn’t want to walk like 10km through the desert and get a sock full of sand so I decided to go on a horse ride. The man started out at 1000 Egyptian pounds which in the UK would be an ok price but in Egypt that’s so expensive. I ended up paying 500 Egyptian pounds (about £25) and even then I think I over paid.
I jumped on a horse and got going straight away. You walk through the little town and up into the desert. After a 5 minute horse ride I was a pro and then jumped off to take a look at the pyramids. You could see Giza off in the distance, the pyramids and then camels walking through the desert. It was an awesome view and the guide was insistent in taking cheesy tourist photos before heading off. I deleted the cheesy photos after.
Going through the desert was a bit rushed. It sucks going on a guided tour because they always want to rush through. You never get a chance to sit there and chill out.
Arriving at the base of the pyramids was awesome. I jumped the little fence and climbed up the pyramid and got a photo. It turns out that climbing the pyramids is illegal and disrespectful but the guide didn’t tell me.
We walked about the base of the pyramids for a bit and just chilled out before heading to the last stop, the Sphinx. You could see the Sphinx off in the distance and it was full of people. I just walked through quick, took a photo and left and got hassled by people through the whole thing. The Sphinx looked cool. Some people said they expected it to be bigger but it looked pretty big to me.
Giza was an amazing day. As we headed back to the stables the guide kept mentioning a tip but asking for a tip makes me want to not give you a tip. I wouldn’t advise going on a tour through the desert, you could just walk it and have a better time.
Saqqarah is close to Giza so I went there next to see some more, older pyramids. The taxi driver insisted on going to a “papyrus museum” to see how they used to make papyrus. I entered the building and it looked like a generic shop selling overpriced shit to tourists. We left straight away and I told the driver not to take me to any more places like that. They always try to pull some bullshit to get commission on tourists.
Pulling into Saqqarah was sketchy. We drove past about 10 armored vehicles and 50 men with assault rifles. The driver went on to say that there is a protest in Cairo on the weekend and the military are preparing for it; great.
The pyramids at Saqqarah are older and “less famous” it’s still got some iconic structires. King Djoser’s stepped pyramid was the first large scale stone structure. You can see old failed pyramids and other early Egyptian structures built before the famous pyramids in Giza.
There were a lot fewer people hassling tourists. I had 2 men on horses run in front of my camera when I took a picture then demanded money. I told them to piss off then they tried to take my camera. I told them to fuck right off then kept walking. Tourists must get ripped off so bad at the tourists sites here, it’s a bit of a joke.
Thoughts on the Pyramids
Everyone should go and see the Pyramids, they are amazing. It just sucks about the locals trying to rip off tourists. If you go just be careful and expect people to try to overcharge you for everything.
If your lazy or have not been on a horse before it’s a good laugh. you don’t need to go on a horse, it’s all in walking distance. remember that the driver will always get commission so don’t trust his “good offer” and always say half.