Sunday, March 9, 2008
I have to admit, I’m not very good at being a tourist. I think it has something to do with my ego…. I guess I like to think of myself as reasonably street-wise, or at least I felt that I knew how to operate pretty well in Timor, Indonesia and now in Sierra Leone. So when I arrive in a new country and don’t know how things work it drives me bananas. It has been particularly bad in Cairo where harassment and ripping foreigners off seems to be a national past-time. Of course I expect to pay more as a tourist – that goes with the territory - and in fact I’m pretty generous – but there is a limit. Yesterday was a particularly bad day and I lost my cool in a dramatic scene at the Khan-el-Khalili market. This sleazy guy was trying to charge us 85 Egyptian pounds (around USD 18) for two luke-warm cans of coke. This was after a trip to the pyramids where we paid stupid amounts of money for two smelly camels and a dodgy guide. The pyramids were very impressive, of course. Should have taken a hat - it’s hot in the desert. Who knew. One thing that was very upsetting to see was the amount of rubbish surrounding the pyramids. This site is such a huge source of tourist dollars - I really don’t understand why they don’t spend a tiny bit of it on employing some people to pick up all the crap left behind by disrespectful tourists and guides.
For lunch we had the Egyptian specialty – koshary – there is really no nice way to describe this – three or four different types of overcooked noodles, mixed with some overcooked rice and some chili sauce on top. It is what it is. Not terrible, but not terribly exciting either.
Off to Marrakech now.