Burt goes to EGYPT November 2006
This is NOT a politically correct view of Egypt, the story is in the commentary, do not simply look at the pictures.
Our flight over was on EgyptAir, the same airline where a pilot committed suicide by diving the jet into the ocean off Cape Cod several years ago. Makes you real confident.
There are police everywhere, in one 5 minute period I walked past 25 cops. I asked the Tour Director is there ever a spot where there is not a cop, he said if there was then there would be a soldier. Tourism is number one in Egypt. They mean to keep it that way.
The vendors are unmerciful. If you show the slightest interest in their wares, you get harassed. Whatever you think you would pay for it in the USA, it is far cheaper there. He would offer the bracelet at $50, I would offer $1, when he gives you the last price it isn't. I bought it for $5. Our Tour Director helped us judge his view of prices, if he said the price was "excellent", it was, if he said it was "very good", it was average, and if he said a price was "good" that was his cue to not buy.
You can obviously see they do not use child labor to make rugs. They NEED them because only their small fingers can do the threading. These children were primed for tourist, the minute you raised a camera, they mugged for the photo.
The picture does not due justice to the fine quality of the rugs. Prices range from $300-$20,000
At the pyramids he was offering a camel ride for $1, we were warned it is a dollar to get on, but $50 to get off. He will gladly take your picture but if you want the camera back, you have to buy it back. The Egyptian creed is stealing is against Islam, cheating is OK.
Proof I was there. The pyramids which are 3000 years old do not decay, because it does not rain. Streets have no catch basins, some houses have no roofs. It was about 70 degrees this day, summer it about 100 with high humidity.
This camel ride was $8, well worth it but it is like riding a bucking bronco constantly thinking you will fall off. The Egyptian yelled Hi Ho Silver Ahoy when we started.
Can you recognize what is in the background? The item in my hand was originally offered for $1, until I took it, then he said $100. After me walking away several times I got it for $10. I did have Egyptian pounds (money) but the dollar was universally accepted.
You think the great pyramids are out in the desert, you lose, this is the view from the pyramids of Cairo. A kind Egyptian helped me to get closer for the photo, then he wanted money for the favor. No kindness is free in Egypt.
We had a police escort going through Cairo, additionally armed guards were on the bus. Although the sirens were blaring is not that anyone actually paid any attention to one. When we left for another town we had to travel by armed convoy. Americans are not that popular in Egypt.
Look at the top of the buildings, see the iron girders sticking out? Egyptian pay less in taxes if their buildings are not finished, thus most buildings are NEVER finished. Makes quite an ugly sight. Many things in Egypt take a long time to get done, the tour director says the average Egyptian works 17 minutes a day.
The man with the umbrella is our Tour Director Egyptologist Hesham, a very intelligent albeit biased man. The man is a total wealth of knowledge. But he thinks 650,000 died in Iraq (recently reported by CNN to be 150,000), he thinks the Egyptair flight that crashed off Massachusetts was not caused by a suicidal pilot even though the NTSB proved otherwise. See EgyptAir Flight 990 Hesham knew the pilot and said he could never do the sexual things he was accused of (although that is exactly the ones who are most likely to do those things). I did fly EgyptAir to Cairo.
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