Tuesday, October 6, 2009, national holiday in Egypt and surprisingly the streets were empty. After three days in Cairo, seeing him without traffic was a bit strange. As usual, we asked at the hotel how much a taxi would cost us to the pyramids and they told us that if there was no traffic it would cost us about 20 L.E. When we went down to the street a taxi driver approached us and, in the end, after haggling we got it for 25 L.E. Abdul, our taxi driver, was a commercial. He was more than a taxi driver, he was also a guide without a title. Not only did he take you to the sites but he also usually tried to get hired for days and took people to visit all of Cairo and its surroundings. He showed us an agenda where he had written all the comments of his previous clients and usually everyone was very happy. Of course, as he was not the typical taxi driver, he did not do what we asked him to take us to the pyramids. Instead he took us directly to one of the stables on the periphery of the pyramids that would belong to his cousin or friend and therefore took a commission. Of course, before he stopped to buy us falafeles in a street stall without any sanitary guarantee and also brought them to us in a paper that was a reused photocopy with pencil notes. But as it is well born to be grateful we ate them and, look where they were super good.
Our taxi driver buying us falafeles.
Returning to the theme of the stable, one of the activities that can be done in the enclosure of the pyramids is to visit them on a camel or a horse. This is something super tourist, but usually the guides recommend that you do not discard it since the enclosure is so large that it really is a very comfortable way to visit them. All tourist sites have their tricks to sell you a service. Usually in the stables before talking about money (that is always done at the end) they make you choose if you want a horse or a camel, they tell you to ride, to try it, they give you a little walk and on top of the animal ( they don't let you down so you don't run away) you start negotiating the price. Ok, they have their tricks, but I have mine. So I put on my face of "what horror, I don't like animals, they scare me" (rotten lie) and the face of "if I asked the taxi driver to take me to the entrance of the pyramids, I didn't want to come here »And we began to negotiate.
Jam of camels to enter the enclosure.
And the cops putting "order" on the other side of the barrier.
In the end, after negotiating a lot we get the two and a half hour ride on a camel, with a panoramic view of the pyramids and then approach to visit the pyramids and the sphinx for 250 L.E./person, entrances to the enclosure included. In the Lonely Planet it says that normally a 2.30 h ride is regulated by the government and you do not have to pay more than 120 LE, but this does not follow and you end up paying much more, although after talking with people we were told that the The price was very good. Once the price was agreed we went to the entrance where the horses and camels entered. At that time there was a problem with the police because it is seen that there were camel owners who wanted to enter with clients but did not have the guide card or permits and the police did not let them in (this they look at a lot in Egypt). The problem is that a jam of camels, horses, guides and guiris at the door of the copon. They made us get off the camel and we passed the barrier to be out of the mess while the guide tried to pass the camels. In that a policeman came out and took off his shirt staying in an "empire" shirt and went to hand out bulkheads to those who impeded the passage. And he caught one and gave him a few shoves and took him to the barracks. And I thinking: «Do not stick, that nothing happens, if it is not so much». It was a bit violent. While we waited, we met a rather creepy American who kept saying: "They have shaken us down !!!" He had paid 200 L.E. For a shorter walk than ours and -mally done- I had paid in advance. In the end everything cleared up and the few tourists who had hired an animal (at most 10) could enjoy our excursion.
JAAARRRRRGA! Road to the pyramids
We were carrying two guides, one on horseback who looked like a little boss and another who was carrying the camels. Násser was very fussy and was always commenting on the stick "welcome to Alaska" or "after this you will walk like Egyptians." I really recommend that everyone travel free to visit the camel pyramids. Apart from the component Lawrence of Arabia, it is worth it because you enter through the opposite entrance to the coaches and it gives you the possibility to enjoy the desert and the pyramids with calm and without crowds, at least the panoramic one. After going with the camel and seeing the panoramic, we approach to see the first pyramid, that of Micerinos, which is the smallest with 62 meters high. We went down for a ride there and then we got back on the camels to go to the 136-meter-high Kefrén pyramid, which that day could be visited (buying a separate ticket), but as there was an incredible crowd, we passed of doing it. After the photos of rigor, we came by camel to the pyramid of Cheops, impressive with its 137 meters high (originally average 146 m). To enter this pyramid you also have to pay a separate ticket, but just like the previous one, there were so many people inside that we didn't do it.
Taking a break in front of the Pyramid of Myrtle.It is incredible that almost 4,000 years ago someone could build the pyramids, which have the sides perfectly oriented to the four cardinal points. That has made all kinds of speculation come to light in recent decades. No aliens, no slaves. The pyramids were built by specialized labor that offered its services not to Pharaoh, but to God. In ancient Egypt the pharaohs were considered as gods and paying tribute to this was a way to win the favors of the gods. There are still unknowns about many aspects of Ancient Egypt, but I am a bit Scully I think that the idea of such a developed civilization is more likely that it could make amazing constructions, than to think that someone came from outer space or that the inhabitants of Atlantis went there. And why not the Egyptians? Someone had to be the first and they were.
Returning to the pyramids, in the Cheops was where we met all the masses, street vendors and camel drivers offering their services. After seeing the impressive stone mass of the pyramid we walked to see the sphinx and it was a bit overwhelming for the people there. The sphinx is a bit dusty because it was built with a type of stone that is not so well resisting the passage of time and a part is rebuilt.