I cannot believe I have officially seen seven wonders of the world! (Though I’m in search of 8. 🙂 ) For a long time, I always kind of thought if I was going to miss seeing a wonder, it would have been the Pyramids (due to political situation, not lack of my desire to go).
But alas, I made it!
The Pyramids, even after all the other wonders, are an adventure unlike any other. The touts at the Pyramids are legend (in fact, alternate title for this post was “too many touts to count”), and legend in a bad way. They’ve been known to make seasoned travelers get scammed and quite annoyed.
This was part of the reason Daniel and I decided to go together – as we’re both traveling alone, we thought two would be better than individually when it came to standing up against these folks. And for me, the presence of a guy really helps cut down on staring, cat calling, etc.
So we grabbed an Uber from downtown to the Pyramids, mainly because the touts start at the cabbies! It’s frequently reported that many cabbies will take you to their friend’s horse stalls at the Pyramids and say “we’re here” and then not allow you to NOT use their friend’s horses. Or there’s stops at papyrus or perfume shops. But with Uber, you’re more guaranteed to get where you want to go, and the pricing is fair and reasonable.
I’m glad we got the Uber advice. As we were driving up, the touts were so persistent that one basically threw himself on the windshield! The level of insanity was way up there, and higher than anything else I’ve seen.
Our Uber driver dropped us right at the main entrance and pointed the direction to the ticket window. We were able to get our tickets and get in without issue. Whew! Believe it or not, getting a ticket at face value and getting in without having to get a camel ride is quite a feat.
However, once you’re on the site, the requests don’t stop. Truthfully, it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. I don’t know if it’s the summer heat or the lack of tourists that’s driven away many of the touts, but most would go away to a firm “no.”
Daniel and I passed one guy aggressively selling camel rides, and when I said “no” very firmly (for I think the third time) he yelled “You look like Chinese tourists!!” and we kind of looked at each other. Honestly, together, we’re basically the whitest white people you’ve ever seen. And then the tout followed up with “You don’t say thank you!”
For a bit I couldn’t figure out what he meant, and then I realized it’s because I’m just at the point of saying “no” rather than “no thank you.” For a second I thought he wanted us to honestly thank him for hassling us. But even he went on his way, and we had a good laugh. His was definitely the funniest comment of the day!
As we walked into the Pyramids, I kind of looked at Daniel and was like “Um, where’s the third one? There are three right?” and he replied with “yeah that’s what I thought.”
Where we entered was kind of the back entrance – we entered near the Mena House hotel rather than down by the Sphinx (thank God for our Uber driver – that entrance was far less chaotic than the Sphinx entrance). The way the Pyramids are situated, the Great Pyramid was completely blocking the view of another one! We had to get all the way around it before we finally found all three.
We also had a hard time finding the Sphinx. We had a good laugh about all of this – who would have ever thought it difficult to locate a giant pyramid and a giant sculpture? But alas, the Sphinx is actually quite far downhill from the main pyramids. Given that we entered at the back entrance, and at the top of the hill, we actually couldn’t see the Sphinx.
Never fear, we found it! As we were walking to the Sphinx, a small girl pointed at me and I could tell she wanted a picture (is it sad I’m getting used to this?). But her family wasn’t really paying attention, and I felt something in my heart that day.
So I stopped her, and asked if we could take a picture together (with my camera). I think I made her day – the look of excitement on her face was so sweet, and you could tell she was like “YOU want MY picture?” Her family was also a bit incredulous. But they also took pictures with their cell phones too. So now we’re in each other’s albums!
Daniel and I then went down and enjoyed the Sphinx and the view of all three Pyramids and the Sphinx together, and then decided that it was probably time to head on. It was hot, and we were tired.
We made it all the way through the Pyramids without a guide and without giving into scams or having to buy anything! I consider that quite an achievement.