WanderingDan’s Weblog

Definitely not in Kansas anymore
October 29, 2012, 5:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

These guys have conning down to an art…and unlike the other tour bus, we weren’t properly warned what to expect. Being the naïve tourist I am, and owing to a preference for amiability, I don’t straightway refuse whatever it is the kid is forcing into my arms. “It’s free” he says in broken english, though surprisingly easy to understand. “welcome to the pyramids!” My ass. “here, let me put it on for you…he takes back the package and puts the headwrap turban thing on me. Mind you, I am still walking towards the pyramids trying to shake this fly off of me. Then…I realize my error, he is not a fly, but one of a swarm of mosquitos…I’m toast. “here, let me take a picture of you with the pyramids.” Getting sucked in. “oh, here…right next to my brother’s camel”. Hmmm…okay, this might be cool. “here, here, get on the camel.” I try to resist, then out of nowhere two guys lift me up onto the camel’s back….oh shit. “okay, we just go this way a bit to take the picture.” One of the guys makes a weird noise and the camel stands up and starts walking…double oh shit. Realizing I really don’t like where this is going, when the kid raises my iPhone to ask how it works, I snatch it back and jump off the camel…then the five guys start following me. Taking off the cheap two cent head wrap, I give it back to the kid as forcibly as he gave it to me. His ‘brother’ with the camel demands I give him money, for what I have no clue…he is easy to blow off. Then the kid demands I give him money…he is not as easy to blow off, but once he sees the battle is lost, gives up and looks for another victim. The absolute precision of this scam is impressive. The whole thing seriously happened in a span of about thirty seconds to a minute. JeeeeeeeeZusssss!!! I think the word ‘no’ in this place translates to ‘okay, I’ll take 10’. Now my guard is up, and at every turn am politely telling people to piss off. One guy even tries to tell me he is going to take my picture and starts grabbing for my Raybans. I snap at him hard, and am so fed up with this bullshit, almost knock him the fuck out. I’m glad I bought the extra ticket to go down into the pyramid, it’s a nice respite from the madness on the surface.

Now I understand why they cautioned anyone with a back problem not to go into the pyramid. The tunnel down is about three and a half feet high and declines at about a thirty degree angle, for a good hundred yards (or so it seems). Pretty cool though…I’m inside of a pyramid in Egypt! How often does that happen. I have a couple of Stargate flashbacks on my way back out…

The hundred eighty kilometer bus ride back to the ship is sobering…seeing the pyramids of Egypt in person is sublime, hands down…even amidst the bustle of tourism and the pesky scam artists and vendors. A lifelong goal accomplished. But I never would have guessed this world-wonder stood amidst so much chaos and poverty. So much dirtiness and desperation. I hate to admit it, but riding back I am grateful for the metal and glass separating me from this heartbreak.

Walking through the security building and towards the gangway, Nadia and I find it peculiar to see all of the ship’s high-ranking officers greeting passengers and crew coming back on board. Even the captain is out here. Ofcourse, all I can think about right now is how bad I want a shower.


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