No Honey Without Money
What an experience Cairo and Giza is, beyond the tourist attractions.
Let’s just say NOTHING comes for free here, and genuine benevolence seems to be non-existent. What appears to be a kind local helping out, is soon to have their hand out asking for money because they offered their help.
As the days past, trust no local is what started to form in my mind.
The Egyptian people are, to say the least…interesting. Not to sweep a grand generalization brush too broad, but it seems that there is a trait of thief, con artist in their blood. Something.
The men have a very distinct look – they are very large – intimidating, proud and aggressive. If I were to put together a team of assassins – I’d FOR SURE hire Egyptian men.
And the women are just as tough – some openly slapping their children – HARD – in public.
That said, once you’ve paid for a local they’ll defend you like a lion from other Egyptians trying to step into their territory (us!!).
Beware the naive traveller who approaches the entrance up to the Great Pyramids on foot. You will be assaulted by tour guides – who are government licensed – and will flash name tags and ID permits (written in Arabic) – and one has no idea of the legitimacy of it if you can’t read Arabic.
The tour guide will want to take you to either a horse stable, or camel stable – each tour guide is in cahoots with the stable owners.
Be sure to pick a tour guide that is cahoots with a stable owner who actually cares for their animals. Most of the tour horses and camels were poorly cared for and over worked. We were lucky that the owners of the horse stable we rented from actually liked his horses. And took care of them.
Security is EVERYWHERE.
But how honest is the security?
It seems like everyone has a price in Giza and Cairo.
Most security guards wore a plastic card indicating they work for the government.
Soldiers (their uniforms looked like soldier wear) walked around with machine guns (assuming only military is allowed to carry machine guns!) while guarding all entrances to tourist traps like the Giza Pyramid Complex, Khan el-Khalili, and the Egyptian Museum.
Some police officers or soldiers or security officers look MUCH more official than others.
Giza and Cairo are SO dirty.
Garbage lined streets with piles of garbage that included carcasses of goats and horses.
Dogs, birds, cats and children scavenged through the garage for something to eat.
Such extreme poverty.
We enjoyed our time in Cairo and Giza…..but there is this side that adds to the reality of the journey.
To the reality of our world beyond the Canadian privileges we so expect and are accustomed to.