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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pyramid of Giza: Sunrise Camel & Horseback Riding

Egypt, Pyramid of Giza, Land of THE MUMMY and Pharoah, me and the camel
the beautiful me at Pyramid of Giza  :D

Summary of this post:

Pyramid of Giza... 2 words to describe it:  Timeless and Majestic!  It is hard to describe the feeling.. like being part of the nature and ancient history at the same time.. it's amazing!  Morning is probably the best time to be in the desert.. at least it's the best temperature of the day.. as we continue exploring the Pyramid of Giza (there are actually 9 pyramids in the Pyramids of Giza.. but most people refer to it as Pyramid of Giza, so I'm just gonna call it that).. it gets really really unbearably HOT!! :D  

Keep reading I got many pictures, stories, and tips to share with you.  In my photo stories you'll get to see what I saw.. in detail! :)

Some Background Information:  

My brother and I arrived Egypt 2 days before coming to the Pyramid of Giza.  We were there last June, when Egypt was in a revolution.. in the state of anarchy and the government was temporarily run by a military regime.  It was not the safest time to go but since we found a cheap flight from Cyprus so we just went.. even the States Travel Department warned not to go.. but oh well.. We did run into some real danger on a train ride back from Luxor to Cairo.. I'll write about that in the future.  If you're interested in what happened, you can Follow My Post by Email (on the right hand side -->) and I'll keep you posted when I write.

Egypt, Pyramid of Giza, Land of THE MUMMY and Pharoah, Pyramid
The Pyramid of Giza

Suggested Itinerary for the Pyramid of Giza & Tips on Saving Money:  

Arrive early and do the camel and horse ride.  Usually people take a day trip to go there from Cairo.  Since at the Giza Plateau there's only sands and the only means of transportation are your 2 legs or 4 (horses, camels) and its' freakin HUGE there so kind of impossible if you were to walk it.  You can book a tour in advance via some travel websites first or arrange the Pyramid of Giza tour with pickup/drop off (including camel and horse) with your hotel in advance, prices vary depending on which hotel, website, or local travel agency you book from.  Some high end hotels charge up to $300 per person or maybe more.  

How my brother and I did it was we rented a driver from our hotel for $25 a day for two of us, he took us there and waited for us.. since he was Egyptian, he helped us haggle with the tour operator there.  The tour operator was asking for some ridiculous amount of $900 for 2 persons.. but we managed to get it down to around $80 for 2 persons (lunch included) before tipping.. with tips it came up about $60 per person.  KEYWORD:  HAGGLE!!! You just gotta do it!! 

Or, to save yourself from the trouble of haggling, you can book a tour in advance from VIATOR (they're pretty good I've booked tours with them before).  The price is only slightly more expensive but you get the convenience of transportation, an experienced guide who can tell you the history of the Pyramid of Giza, your admission fees to inside the pyramids and the Sphinx Temple all taken care of, decent lunch without flies, and save yourself time and trouble from haggling.  I think it's quite worth it but the reason why we didn't do it was because my brother Ray likes to haggle and save a only a few dollars lol ^^"

The tour lasted for almost 8 hours.  We got on the camel and horseback at around 06:something in the morning and it didn't finish until almost 15:00ish.  They'll tell you that the price does not include entrance tickets to inside the pyramids and the Sphinx Temple, but you can negotiate until they include those in the tour price.  However, our local guide who couldn't really speak English didn't explain anything about the Pyramid of Giza to us.  You get what you paid for I guess. 

What to Do, See, Eat, Buy, Where to Stay, Getting In & Out, Safety Tips, & Bla.. Check the travel guides:  Wikitravel & Frommers 

This you can read up those info in the travel guides so I won't write more about them.  Here I'm just gonna share with you my personal experiences and my suggestions from the Pyramid of Giza.

Important Tips on What to Do and Avoid:  

My personal opinion:  Egypt is a poor country.. what usually happens in poor countries with low GDP, low GDP Per Capita, and low Purchasing Power Parity, in general (i don't mean everyone), people will try to cheat as much money from you as possible to make their day a bonanza.  Of course, for them the Western tourists got MONEY!! So you just have to haggle!  Usually you could get it for at least half off to 70% off the quoted price.  I've heard that people have haggled it a bit lower, but hey as long as you're happy with the price, then go for it.  For me it's a waste of time to spend 30 min haggling if it's just a few dollars.  I'm ok with letting them have it.

There are a lot of scams they run to separate your money and your wallet.  Too many to list but you can check out the Stay Safe section of Wikitravel: Pyramid of Giza

Our Morning at the Pyramid of Giza:

Waael: Our driver.  Sorry Waael to wake you up to early...

This gentleman you see in the picture is Waael our driver.  He picked us up at the hotel at 4:15am and drove us to Giza (we stayed at Cairo), it was about an hour drive, so we could make it to see the sunrise at the Pyramid of Giza.  He's probably the most honest person we met in Egypt and the only one that did not cheat us money wise.  Seriously, almost everyone, from the kids trying to sell you souvenirs at the attraction sites, tour operators, restaurant owners, to even the police will try to cheat your money. If you need to hire a driver to drive you around in Cairo or Giza, shoot me an email and I'll refer you to Waael.  At least if you go with Waael there's one less person that you don't have to worry about being cheated lol ;)

The above was the scene when my brother, Waael, and the tour operator were haggling.  They were haggling for an hour or so.  Since my brother was better in haggling, I just let him do the job while I enjoyed my cigarettes.. ^^"

They're done haggling! Yay~!! :D Me climbing on the camel back.. how come I look like a little monkey?  Hmm... Hope you don't think I look like a little monkey too in the pic lol :D

Egypt, Pyramid of Giza, Land of THE MUMMY and Pharoah, me on the camel
Beautiful Me on the camel lol :D

Got on the camel lol! ^^

I"m so tall on the camel.  Looking at the man riding a donkey from above.. ^^

Towards the desert.. Hmm.. the morning breeze feels so nice!! 

Hello Brother! 

Into the desert...

Pic of me hitting the camel!  Hmm.. me no fan of animal cruelty but our guide kept on asking me to hit it and hit it hard... or else the camel won't move.. but I just can't do it.. ^^"

Our camel and our horse.  See how skinny they are?  Probably malnutritioned.. They belong to the tour operator (you can see pic of him above).. the fat tour operator probably spent all the money eating and very little money buying food for his animals.. poor animals...

Me and my brother ^^

I'm the Queen of Egypt!! :D  Trying to balance myself not to fall.. I was wearing high heel sandals so that didn't help.. lol ^^"

The beautiful me at the Giza desert ^^  The guide gave us like an hour just chillin here overlooking the pyramids and taking pictures.  It was quite nice and relaxing.. nature and ancient history at the same time!! :)

My brother Ray jumping off the camel.. Dude you're crazy!! Hope you don't sprain your ankles...

Some Egyptian cowboys roaming the desert...  Yeeehaaaa~~~~ or here they yell Yala Yala.. in Arabic it means Let's Go~!!

The beautiful me looking at the Pyramid of Giza.. ^^

Me and my brother Ray touching the Pyramid of Giza.. Wow!! 

A beautiful view of the Pyramid of Giza from where I'm standing.. and the morning breeze.. so serene.. so nice.. like gazing back into the timeless history.. very nice!! 

Zoom zoom zoom... the Pyramid of Giza.. Soo majestic!! Impressive!! :D

Some Egyptian cowboys in the desert.. 

My brother Ray the King of Egypt lol :D Dude don't fall!!

Some Bedouin booth they sell soft drinks for $1 a bottle (no beer though unfortunately.. yeah.. Muslim countries..).  My brother was bitching about how they charged only him and gave it to me for free.. lol ^^"

Zoom zoom zoom.. the tip of the Pyramid of Giza.. nice!! 

Me, camel, and the Giza desert.. ^^

The beautiful me and the Pyramid of Giza and my lovely camel ^^

Cleopatra and the Pyramid of Giza lol ^^

Done taking pics and do all the crazy jumping off the camel and posting lol.  Now we're at the Red Carpet just chillin and having a drink! :D

Cheers!! :D

Some more Egyptian cowboys..  Hey this picture looks like the ad for Marlboro cigarettes.. the cowboys in the desert.. Don't you think so?  I don't know what people do for work here.. A lot of people seem just laying around doing nothing.. It seems like the only industry here in Giza is only tourism.. and unfortunately for them they're having a political turmoil now very few adventurous tourists like us are visiting Egypt.. No wonder they're ripping tourists off like crazy now.. 

Enough chillin now.. heading back to the tent to have some lunch.. then continue exploring the pyramids.  In the afternoon we'll actually go inside the Pyramid of Giza.. Pretty excited for that!! :D

Some animal bones in the desert.. Wow!! Looks like in the movie.. 

Me on the horse.. why am I slouching.. not a very nice posture.. 

Heading back to the tent to have some lunch.  Nice little alley.. looks a bit like in the Country Western cowboy movies.. ^^

A lady carrying a bag on her head.  I noticed that ladies in Africa and Middle East regions like using their heads to carry stuff.  I saw those in South Africa and Dubai too.  Don't they get headaches?  They gotta have pretty good balance so the thing won't fall.. ^^"

Horses just standing on the road.. 

Hello! What are you guys doing?  It's 11am now.. doesn't seem like anybody is working.. or has many job opportunities in this political turmoil and bad economy.. ^^"

My brother getting off the camel.. 

Our driver Waael is sleeping.  He's waiting for us to finish Giza and will take us to Sakkara and Memphis later this afternoon.  There are more pyramids there and Memphis was the first capital of unified Egypt before.. I believe the first dynasty's capital was there.. according to what Waael said.. ^^

Hmm.. somebody coming with some grasses for the horses.  

Hello cuties!!  Camels are just laying there waiting for tourists to come ride them.. ^^

Me inside the tent having lunch. Problem:  there are a lot of flies that fly on it.. I don't know if I could eat it.. Looks disgusting with the flies..!!!

Our lunch.. you probably can't see the flies on the picture.. but they were there!! I didn't eat any of it my brother ate it all.. ^^"  I didn't really have any appetite either cuz it was like 45° freakin HOTTTT!!!

My brother Ray eating the flies-infested food.. Dude hope you don't get diarrhea... 

Me and the guy who owns most of the camels and horses here.  He's the tour operator that tried to rip us off in the beginning.  He's ballin probably that's why he's fat and all his camels and horses are anorexically bonny.. lol.  He asked my brother if he could marry me for 100 camels lol haha :D

Donkey wagon??

Ok done with lunch.  Now we're heading back to the Pyramid of Giza.  :D

Two kids on a donkey.. lol how cute!!! :D  This pic is a bit out of focus cuz I didn't want them to notice that I was taking pics of them ^^

Ok end of this post now.  Please continue on reading my next post Pyramid of Giza:  One of 7 Wonders of the World

Thanks hope you enjoyed reading.  :)