When I came here in Egypt, I have had a hard time adapting to the weather, living and staying in a warm place like Doha makes all the difference since Cairo’s weather is colder than Doha. But the low temperature won’t stop me from exploring the pyramids of Egypt.
On my first day of training my Program Director, told me that there will be no second work the next day, January 7,2013, I asked him why and He said, its their Holiday here and they call the holiday as Coptic Christmas. My face looks like regretful for the day for training will be lesser than expected, but inside my mind “pyramids of Giza see you tomorrow”. As the first day of training ends, information overload happens specially the qa specialist gave me all the plans to study from project management plan,verification and validation plan, configuration management plan and measurement analysis plan.. yes guys… I’m drowning with lots of planning documents which will be essential in task when I get back to Doha.
Around 7 am, I went down to have my breakfast in the hotel (Triumph Hotel) where I am staying for two weeks. Since the breakfast is a buffet type, Imagine a meme in 9gag, that says eat all the foods in buffet… that’s what I felt that time. As soon as I finished my breakfast. I went to the receptionist area to ask if they have available tour package, luckily the receptionist told me they have and it’s up to me to pick my destination. So I told him I really wanted to go to pyramids of Giza. They say they have a package which includes Nile River,Pyramids of Giza and Coptic Church Visit. So I asked them is it safe to roam around now, they say yes it is. Aside from that they told me that it will include the driver and english speaking tour guide all include in the package of 300 EGP pounds but take note, any other fees that needs to be paid will be shouldered by the me. So me being excited, I didn’t take that in to consideration, but next time I will listen to whatever instruction before jumping to offers like this. As soon as the tour guide arrived and of course our car with the driver, the tour started. The tour guide speaks good in english. He explains to me a lot of things. He always said this word,”I will make you happy”, and he said I will also include 2 other place aside from the three destinations as mentioned in the Hotel. He said he will include the papyrus factory and Egyptians perfumes/essence.
As the tourist guide is explaining to me about the history in egypt, the car stopped in a bridge. The tourist guide told me that this is the famous and longest river, Nile. I was like , really … I took some pictures of the bridge and the river. It was really stunning and very cold so we immediately went back to the car.
Then we went to papyrus museum. We are the first tourist to go there and the guy who will give and guide me in the said museum just woke up. He told me this and I still saw the water he used to wash his face. So as soon as he is ready, he went to a table with all the needed materials for his demo. He was really good in speaking in English and explained to me how the papyrus is made into paper. After he explained to me everything, he said I will give you a paper and pen for you to select from all the papyrus displayed an item you want to buy. I roamed around and found that those papyrus has designed made by egyptian artists and shows a lot of Cleopatra,pyramids, cats and buildings. Then I saw this one, it costs 180 EGP, and then the guide told me I will give you a good price for that and have it put your name on the said design.He said he can give it for 100 EGP , so I said deal.I let him put our family surname and all a while I am thinking of where it will be put in our home in Philippines. After paying him, he put our surname written in “egyptian letter” or maybe “arabic” and he also put a paper that says that the file is genuine and can be transported out of the country. He said, there are some cheaper papyrus being sold by some shop, but the designed fade away because it is not made from the real papyrus plant. So he gave me a warning not to buy the fake ones. I just say “shukran” , thank you in arabic. He just smile and off to our next destination.
When the tourist guide told me that we are going to a perfume shop,I felt excited because I really love perfumes. So as we arrived in the Egypt perfumes, I was greeted by the owner and he made a very lengthy explanation on how they have the essence. There are different essence that they could extract from flowers, herbs and even the famous channel,D&G are also present there. He let me smell the lotus essence, he said it defines eternity and women used it not only to make them smell good but also they put a part of it when they take a bath. After all the explanations, he handed me a paper to choose what I would be buying. He said the Lotus Essence will cost around 150 EGP and each bottle costs 55 EGP. But then I told him, honestly I have allergic reactions to some things, that’s why I am not interested. He also said to me, for your family, and yes that hit me right. He gave me a good price for the perfumes, 200 EGP for the Lotus Essence with 3 bottles. I told him I will think Hard, that means I am computing in my mind, yes the algebra I learned from my 5 years in Engineering will be used now. Hahaha, after a few minutes, I realized I will be saving 115 EGP and that is a good catch. So I said to him, I will take it. After that He said you want tea, and I said, yes. After paying him, he handed me the perfumes along with the bottles wrapped in cute boxes.
Pyramids of Giza:
At last we arrived in the pyramids of Giza, as we are about to park our car, I saw the pyramids which I only have the chance to see in books and television. After getting out of the car, I was instructed by my tourist guide that there will be another tourist guide that will take me near to the pyramids and sphinx.
He explained to me that either I can choose a horse carriage or camel. Which do you think will I chose? Yes I chose the latter,camel. After a few trying in the camel, I had the courage to let him walk a little with of course the guide. After getting to know each other with micheal jackson, the name of camel, I was asked by the owner of the camel to pay for the guide and camel and he said 600 EGP. I was really shock, I never thought that would be the price. I guess I have been pyramid scam (kidding). So I handed him the payment and handed 60 EGP for the entrance fee. Then off we went to pyramids.. We took the long path as explained by the guide. It is my first time riding a camel and it really hurts bad because the place is desserted and the weather is below 10 degrees. As we go up and see more pyramids, I was really amazed by the view. I thanked God for seeing this view and best of all experiencing this tour. The tour guide was really good in explaining the different pyramids. As per the guide the big pyramid is for the King and His son while the small one are for his wives. He also told me that he will let me climb the pyramids, and I told him, yeah really? He said yes sure. True to his words, He let me climb 3 steps in the pyramids. It was really amazing, touching and seeing the pyramids. I think mokkun(my camera’s name) is really happy taking pictures with pyramids. We went also to sphinx and have a picture. After a while, I heard the other guide said that he will take the camel home and ask for a tip, I only have 20 EGP on one of my packet, and I gave him that and he said, this is little and I gave him another 20 EGP. I never thought he will react that way, It was really not good part of the tour. After a while the next guide asks for his tip and he mentioned already some gave him 400 EGP for tip. I was really shock because I never thought they will be like that, so I told him I could give him 150 EGP as tip. He said do you have more? It was really not a good part on my end. So I told him I only have here with me extra 100 Riyals. He then told me he accepts other currencies. So he agreed. I told him,la shukran. He then go away. I went to one of the shop there and asked how much are for the key chains, and there I bought some pyramids,sphinx,keychains and got free magnets which costs me around 350 EGP. Yes, if you count the total money I shed for this trip, this is too much but as I said,money can be earned went I get back to Doha.
Coptic Church/Muslim Mosque:
This trip was cut short, because my laziness started to attack me. So we just took some photos on the coptic church. The tour guide explained to me the basics in the coptic church and what I noticed there was the different store near the church. There are lots of tourists that time,I only wish I have seen one fellow kabayan, but still no luck in seeing one. After there, we just pass by the Muslim Mosque. So that concludes the tour that we went through.
What I really learned from this trip, it’s expensive if you go alone for the tour in pyramids in giza, and the people will keep insisting you to buy their goods, I don’t blame them, they need money for a living. But above all I enjoyed this tour because I arrived safe back in my hotel with a smile on my face and sense of fullfillment.
Here’s some snapshot from this trip:
Thank You Lord for this opportunity! To You God be the glory!