A Backstory: Giza’s Con Game

I’m only writing this to arouse a pleasurable, if not insightful, emotion such as a cheerful greeting would do 🙂

You see, on the fateful morning that we arrived in Cairo, our highly *suspiciously* welcoming cab driver requested to have a photo with us. My unsuspecting friend and I both agreed. After all, what harm would it do us to make a friend we can keep in touch with and on our very first day, right? Wrong!

A pictorial break to not only enjoy the horsey and three curved queens but also to brace for one of the incidents that, in retrospect, taught me not to be too trusting of seemingly friendly faces that ‘offer’ to help.

Mid-morning 4th of December 2016 finds us at an exchange bureau; we have a long day ahead. Exchange done and we’re off towards the infamous Tahrir Square where someplace around, we’d catch the metro to Giza. From the vague direction we got from our hotel keeper and the useless map he gave us, we of-course couldn’t find our way. So we stopped and asked around oblivious to the fact that majority of these Arabs did not speak English. Luckily, we found a young man who was also headed our way. He was even kind enough to pay our fares and take us through the chaos that was the metro terminal. So far, so good.

Half an hour later, we were out of the station and walking towards a bus stop plying Giza. It is here that satan showed himself up in the form of a religious sheikh accompanied by his little boy, and who were ‘supposedly’ on their way to also see the pyramids! Nope. Likewise, he paid our fare and went on and on about how he teaches the Quran in Alexandria and how he could read our kind spirits and how his lord showed him that we were sisters from another mother. Did any of this ring an alarm? Nope; and even if it did, we couldn’t hear it.

Ancient Egypt’s stylized form of writing which gift according to mythology, was given to them by Thoth – the god of wisdom.

Fast forward, we are in a tuktuk to what mister sheikh told us was the ‘government gate’ – the ‘official’ entry to the pyramids. Ha! Ha! Ha! Fully manned by fake police. Fully furnished with a fake office and even a fake officer on duty who demanded that we give our passports and student cards if any. Long story short, since we couldn’t trace our way back in this new terrain, I parted with 1200 Egyptian pounds while my friend 900 pounds while we could of paid at most 200 pounds at the really official gate!

Turns out we used the back route to the pyramids. And can you imagine the guide we were given still asked for bakshish? Our angry selves almost tore his skin off.


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