Egypt was an absolut shock

Egypt was a shock

We landed in the desert in the morning and took an uber to the hotel that was 74 km away, right next to the pyramids. The largest pyramid could be seen from our balcony and its surface looked different at different times of the day. Our hotel was the five star Marriot Mena House. The pool department and food as well as the service were top notch. Everything else was a whole different story.

In the morning, we began walking with the stroller in the heat to the pyramid gates which were right next to our hotel. There was a general store at the gates and dozens of Egyptian men buzzing around with their varying propositions. Everyone wanted to sell something and discuss the prices. Their need to touch Penny’s hair and hands was distressing. I had hand disinfectant in the stroller and cleaned her hands often to avoid her catching germs, who knows what the hygiene level among the locals is. Friendly people turned angry and disappointed in a flash if you didn’t buy the things they were offering, such as bracelets, watches, bags or excursions. We ended up next to a horse corral inside the gates. The sand blew with the wind and plastic garbage formed paths in the sand. The horses were skinny and all of them had bad abrasions from the antique carts used to transport tourists continuously from 7 to 16, apparently. It felt bad, but we weren’t given a choice. Walking was apparently not allowed in the area.

We hopped into a cart as a group and took a few steps until the negotiations about the price began. There were three different routes to choose from, of course they were sold with the sermon that it wouldn’t make any sense to take any other one than the most expensive one which today was luckily on special offer and only for us. The price was over 100€ per person. Then we haggled over that in the +40 degree heat while our backs became glued to the seats of the horse cart. Luckily the cart had a roof for shade and I drenched Penny with drinking water to cool off her skin. A tip given to me by my dad. Worked really well both for the baby and for us. As our clothes dried, the surface of the skin cooled down nicely.

So the price was negotiated to 70€, and agreement was met based on the fact that our daughter has blue eyes. Sooooo, we rode in the cart through the plastic garbage jungle to the town of Mena, towards the pyramids. It’s funny how they appeared to be right next to us but then weren’t. The ride through the town took about 20 min. The town was shack after shack and full of beggars and garbage. All the incomplete buildings were due to tax reasons, we were told. Every time we stopped, someone was offering some knickknack or asking for money.

The pyramids were beautiful in all their simplicity. It was unbelievable to see them so close up. They are located on a hill and the city in the valley. Before time, the Nile river flowed abundantly were the city now is. You could enter the pyramids by crawling through a tunnel slanting upwards and downwards. The tombs were located apparently in stone enclosures. In the middle of the largest pyramid I realized how incredibly difficult it has been to construct these. Completely unfathomable. According to our guide, one stone in the pyramid weighed over 5000 kg and the stone was the size of a person. How on earth had these been built? Air shafts ran as small square-shaped holes through the pyramid and we were told that the largest part of the interior of the pyramids is unknown to all. So no one actually knows how they were built, who built them, or what’s inside them, these unbelievable monuments. It was breathtakingly exciting to enter the pyramids and see all the tombs with their murals also. Check out the video clips on our Facebook page Thebondsfamily007.

That evening, we went on a Nile river cruise. A horrible experience altogether. Chinese people filled the boat by the bus load. The buffet table was set beautifully, but when they announced that it was open, the Chinese rushed to grab from all the dishes using both their fingers and the given utensils, scraping the surfaces off cakes and tasting foods at the buffet, putting some things back. The food was poor, somewhat cold and in other words cheap and stale. The potato casserole smelled like a stuffy cellar snd the meat was chewy like a labium dried out by the sun.

The staff didn’t speak English and the excursion was not improved by the musical show where a couple who didn’t know any English yelled Peter Andree’s Living la Vida Loca into microphones with three disco lights flashing in the background. The Chinese got excited by the karaoke and sang short excerpts off key with a rock attitude. The singing man dedicated No Woman, No Cry to me, which was sweet.

The boat floated along with the Nile current even after the sun had already set. The lights of the city glinted off the surface of the water beautifully. We found our way out to the deck where we spent the rest of the two-hour cruise. The sticky
carpet stuck to my flip flops on the way to the toilet. Someone had just puked in the toilet and left everything floating. The whole roll of toilet paper was on the floor and the smell made my eyes water.

A small Chinese woman forced herself past the line when it was my turn. There we stood then side by side, her washing her hands while I changed Penny’s diaper. She pushed me aside to reach the paper to dry her hands and left with a bang of the door. I locked the door and finished my business. When I opened the door, who’s there staring and showing me four fingers. The small Chinese woman. I began to laugh at the angry Asian that rushed back into the toilet. I still don’t understand why no one has taught any manners to these traveling Chinese. Finally we got off the boat and back to our hotel.

The next day passed while we slept off our sleep debt. Even Penny slept next to me for almost 12 h. She has been so cheerful throughout the trip, eating, drinking and playing wherever. She’s still on Australian time so sleep comes when it’s time for it. Hasn’t bothered us.

I learned that it’s not wise to talk to anyone because they all want something from you. It always takes a while to argue that you don’t want to buy anything. Don’t touch anything unless you want to buy it, many plead that “since you touched it already, buy it”. Give them a friendly smile and keep going. Don’t let anyone come too close, there are too many pickpockets in the crowd. There are 30 million people in Cairo and almost all of them are in need of more earnings. So be careful and don’t grab the first offer.

We left Egypt behind after three days and I honestly couldn’t be more relieved to be out of there. Even when we arrived at the airport, the bus driver got out of the car and tore our bags onto carts. We told him that we would take of these ourself. He demanded to take the cart to the terminal. He stopped in the middle of the terminal, put his hand out saying “give me money”. We said that we would have handled things ourself, that No money. He kept repeating his mantra with his hand outstretched. We grabbed the cart and said bye bye, to which he replied by cursing us and waving his hand. At the customs check line, a man took our bag and put it on the belt and again, Give me money. No luck for him either. We were cursed again. In the bathroom changing diapers, a woman smiled and passed me paper while I dried Penny off, and then demanded Money money money once I had the diaper back on. I just said Bless you and thank you and goodbye. Never again to Egypt.










Translated from the original Finnish text by Stiina Rasimus-Sahari

Kommentit

  1. Ihanaa kun joku sanoo suoraan miten kamala paikka Kairo on. Olin samassa hotellissa 2kk sitten, hotelli on todella hyvä kaupungin muihin hotelleihin verrattuna. Olen ollut Kairossa ehkä 10 kertaa ja olen aina yhtä onnellinen kun olen kentällä menossa kotiin päin. Hieno kaupunki mutta täysin pilalla.

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