Hello Dear Readers!
So I’ve just finished talking to you guys about my visit inside the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was certainly an experience, I’ll tell you that much. However! There’s more to the area than simply going inside, as there are multiple pyramids and (obviously) the sphinx to look at. The rest of our journey around the Pyramids was a lot better, and we got some awesome photos, except for one tiny detail.
You see, there are a lot of hawkers around the Pyramids. You know, people who will “give you camel ride, best price, for you my friend the Egyptian price!”
They’re everywhere. And they’re vicious. The best thing for you to do is keep your head down, shake your head firmly no, and pretend like you can’t understand their English.
The worst thing to do is engage.
And the worst worst thing?
Let me tell you. Here we all are, meandering our way around the base of the pyramid (immediately after our hike inside), covered in sweat and still trying to make sense of what had just occurred. We’ve been solicited a dozen times already, but as long as you cling together in a large enough pack, they can’t really come at you.
We’re like a herd of antelope, and they’re the lions, looking for the weakest link.
So here’s the thing. We’re here to better our Arabic, we really are. And to that end, we often go out, practice our language, and try to speak with people. And we have this friend, his name is Evan, whose Arabic is amazing. He loves meeting new people and improving his language.
Except Evan is a little too enthusiastic sometimes. So we’re walking and chatting and all of a sudden we notice Evan has gone missing. After a moment’s search we spot him, taking selfies with a bunch of Egyptians and chatting with them in Arabic. He’s basically famous, this random white guy speaking like a local.
And we can sense it. There’s blood in the water.
The rest of us huddle even more tightly together and begin hissing at Evan “come here! Come back!”
It’s too late.
Evan says his goodbyes to these guys and begins to walk away, at which point one of the hawkers shouts to the entire world“Hey! This foreigner can speak Arabic!”
And the hordes descend, a million men on camels and donkeys and horses all crowding forward, shouting at Evan (in Arabic) “You want a ride? You speak Arabic? Where did you learn it? We’ll give you the Egyptian price!”
And hapless Evan, finally sensing the danger, tries to scurry back into our herd and lose himself amongst us. And instead we’re targeted, all of us, harassed repeatedly while Evan pulls his hat down over his forehead and tries to look innocent.
One man followed us for half an hour with his horse and cart, even stopping when we stopped, to the point that he got out of his cart and followed us when we tried a diversionary tactic to lose him. He only left when we managed the entire walk without him and he realized there was nowhere left for him to drive.
But, y’know, the sphinx was pretty cool.
-Carissa “The Antelope” Rawson