First Pleasure, Then Business

March 30, 2018 7:59 pm
IVAN
IVAN
Author

It’s been about 2 months since I left X. And I gotta tell you. Even though the beginning was pretty hard, it does feel really fucking good. The hard part was freeing my mind from the ‘relationship’ mentality. I’d been in relationships for years and always down-lo had this fear of being alone. In these past 2 months, I’ve had a complete mental overhaul. I’ve come to understand how much of a blessing being single actually is. Men don’t need relationships. Women do. Men just need someone willing to tie down and take ’em down-town. No more nagging, no more fighting. It’s been a mental vacation. I have become free. So what should I do with my freedom? Whatever the fuck I want to…

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A month into my solo adventures, I suddenly remembered, that I had booked myself and X a holiday in Egypt. Egypt’s biggest tourist attraction is the last standing World Wonder, The Giza Pyramid complex. It’s something I’ve wanted to see for as long as I can remember. I remember seeing the Pyramids in different movies and even video games. There are hundreds of conspiracy theories about the Pyramids and I’m sure they’re a magnificent sight to see. And then I remember the negative response I got from X when I was actually booking the holiday. She wanted to party in Turkey. So trying to be nice towards her, I actually booked a ‘honeymoon’ sort of a holiday in a more tourist-friendly city of Egypt – Hurghada. Supposedly a nice place for couples to chill by the pool, drink ’till they pass out and indulge in all-out fuck fests. Hurghada is 500km away from Cairo (where the Pyramids are), so it wasn’t a complete disaster. I had also booked a flight for myself from Hurghada to Cairo, so I could still visit the Pyramids, while she gets tanned by the pools in Hurghada. The only problem I had now was that I had no date to bring to Egypt.

At first I had this idea of putting up an ad in Tinder. It would’ve probably taken some dates before I’d find a suitable girl to award this free trip to. My buddies thought it was a great idea. But for some reason I couldn’t shake these mixed feelings about buying shit to random women. “Why the fuck should I gift a free trip to any girl?”, I thought. “They haven’t earned it”. And that’s when it finally clicked to me. There’s only 2 women I truly care for in this world. My mother and my sister. Knowing my mother, she would’ve never gone for it. But my sister was about to turn 18 soon and in Europe, that’s the age when you turn into an adult by the law, so it’s a big deal. It all fits. I get to pull an amazing birthday present and she’ll get a trip that she’ll hopefully remember forever. I just had to sell this idea to my parents and book an extra flight for my sister to see the Pyramids.

My parents didn’t like the idea at all. Letting their little 17yo daughter go to a Muslim country full of random terrorist attacks with her nut job of a brother? Yeah, I can totally see why they didn’t like the idea. It took me a couple of weeks worth of convincing to finally soften them up about the idea. They kept showing me daily news from the Sinai region wars and I kept ensuring them how everything was going to be okay. When I finally got to tell my lil sis about this trip, she was pretty thrilled. I felt quite optimistic about the amount of camels I could fetch for her.

Welcome to Egypt

Our flight there was about 5 hours. I was most surprised about how much military they’ve got roaming on the streets. Also the countless selfies of their country’s leader on every second or third building became one of my favorite sights. Had this constant ‘danger’ feeling lurking as we passed all kinds of military checkpoints where they mostly checked the cars for bombs. This sort of added to the whole experience. I felt alive again. In another country, doing something new again. I’ve never been on this kind of a holiday before and I never thought much of these holidays. I like adventures more than relaxing by a pool. Our whole hotel complex was pretty luxurious. Nice pool under our hotel room balcony and a beach just 200m away.

I must say the whole place had such a fake vibe going for it that I actually enjoyed it. Everything inside the hotel was too clean and perfect.

All those servants in the restaurants, bars and by the pools kept smiling and working non-stop. I think most of them made at least 15-hour workdays. I tipped them all quite well, because I think working in this kind of a place is a great opportunity for most of them. Besides the food was great.

I hustled a grown-up’s wristband for my sis, so we spent most of our first days just drinking and relaxing.

I bought all kinds of cheap crap from the local shops. Got ripped off the first time, but I’m a quick learner. By the end of the trip most of the store clerks were happy to see me leave their shops, as they had to sell their 15-20$ belts and shirts to me for 2-4$ while still making profit. Their persistence to sell you complete and utter bullshit is amazing. Lucky for them tho, I’m a sucker for buying random cheap shit in bulk. So maybe it was meant to be.. Maybe it’s Maybelline…

I made a new Egyptian friend Omar while shopping. He was more than willing to set up some adventures for us. For a small fee and one of my European T-shirts of course.

So our third day we jumped into a complete random Egyptian’s car and got taken to the desert, where they had a nice ATV track with some more tourists that had been brought there. The whole ATV safari was pretty cool.

Some people fainted and my sis needed some help driving, but I believe she enjoyed it overall. We even made a stop to enjoy some great sights of sand and more sand. Featuring a couple of camels.

After the trip some random Egyptians dropped us back off at the hotel. I walked through that fake-ishly clean hotel lobby completely covered in sand and dust. I felt pretty fulfilled as I grabbed a rum & coke from the bar to complete this adventure.

The next day was full of relaxing by the pool with my good buddies rum & coke and some more haggling at the markets. My lil sis was enjoying the sun and seemed relaxed. As the night approached with the falling sun kissing the roofs of our hotel complex, we started packing our shit for our real adventure – visiting the Pyramids in Cairo. I was pretty buzzed by that time and somehow managed to lock all our most important items (phones, money and passports) in our hotel room safe. Turns out, that promises of money actually can’t buy your hotel room safe open during their ‘off-hours’, so I had to get a guy from reception to come by in the morning. But we had time until then and since we had no money or phones, we spent our night partying in the hotel night club. I was pretty hung-over in the morning since we woke up at 5am to reach our flight for Cairo on time. I quickly got a receptionist to open the safe for us after which we caught a last minute taxi to airport.

Cairo

I figured that going to Cairo just by the 2 of us would probably end in a huge disaster, so I managed to hire us a driver for the day through Omar. I reckoned that since we didn’t get robbed with our ATV trip, then he’s probably the go-to guy for setting something like this up. And oh boy did he deliver. We met up with the driver in the airport. And even though his English was limited to “Yes” and “Food”, we managed to go everywhere we needed to in his rental Lada. As we were driving through Cairo, one of the biggest cities of Africa, I noticed how truly archaic everything was. Their houses look as if they’ll collapse any second.

The traffic is absolutely insane. You need real race-car driver reflexes to get from one end of the city to another without a scratch. Their air is so polluted, that the buildings in the distance disappear in smog. You got camels here, horses there, filthy streets and Egyptians walking right through it. He stopped his Lada right in the middle of a bridge as we were crossing the Nile, so we could take it all in for a moment.

Every single car in the traffic had dents on them and it’s no wonder. There are no certain rules for driving in this country. They just drive where and how they can. As we started approaching the Pyramids, we got pulled over in multiple military checkpoints, where they checked the whole car for bombs and whatever else. Our driver took us to slums right next to a desert. There we were approached by some self-made tour guides who invited us on their horse carriage. I probably got ripped off with those guys, but it didn’t really matter any more.

They drove us through the slums and these kinds of sights are something I live for. The people living there have nothing. Not even clean water. These kinds of conditions are normality for most of them. The extent of their poverty amazed me. Us coming there probably immediately gave work to a dozen people as we were taken to their version of stables. I told them we were there for the Pyramids so they showed us different horses and camels. I noticed a couple of dead ones in the background. I wasn’t going to let our driver out of sight, so I rented him a horse. Had to pick one out myself, because the one they offered seemed malnourished.

I got us a camel just for the experience. Our tour guide led us through yet another military checkpoint and we started our journey to the Pyramids. Right through the desert.

The desert heat was pretty intense and the trip lasted a while. The desert seemed to be the only place without other people around. The rest of the whole city was so fucking overcrowded. It was like a breath of fresh air when You’re drowning. 30 minutes into our desert journey I realized my mistake of choosing a camel. A horse handles these desert sands much better, but You can’t really beat riding a camel to the Great Pyramid of Giza, can You? Speaking of which. The Pyramids are such a marvelous sight. How were they made? You can’t build them with today’s technology. Was their slave army really that amazing to transport these blocks all the way across the Nile and the desert? Or was it the aliens? Who knows, right? The Great Pyramid of Giza definitely does deserve it’s spot as a World Wonder.

We didn’t have time to go inside and I understand that there isn’t really much to see inside anyway. I did get to touch it though. So I can now say that I’ve been to the precise center of all land mass on Earth and the exact intersection of the longest line of latitude and longest line of longitude. After taking it all in, we made our way past the Sphinx, one of the biggest sculptures on Earth, that was carved from a single piece of limestone.

After exiting the area with our mounts, we were greeted by hordes of school children and local tourists. It seemed almost as if they hadn’t seen a white person before. Probably hundreds of pictures were made while they were all happily screaming and pointing fingers at us. I sent out my hi-fives to them. Hope they get to live great lives. The military patrols had to control them, so we could get through them with our party. We rode through some alleyways and ended up back in the slums and could see our Lada from the distance. My trip was now made. I was happy. I got to fulfill a very old dream of mine.

Next up was the Egyptian museum (or Museum of Cairo) which has been open to the public since July 2017. It is the biggest treasury they have. Full of artifacts from different ages. There’s lots of security in the entrance, as usual. Got to see lots of sarcophagus’es, masks, coins and my favorite – mummies. I don’t generally like museums, but this one falls into this ‘must see’ category for me.

I wanted our driver to take us for lunch in a place he’d normally go to, but he insisted on visiting a restaurant by the Nile. Which was also a good option. For someone visiting from a Western country, the food is cheap regardless. We all had some fantastic meals. Then our driver brought us to Cairo’s biggest open-air market (or bazaar) Khan Al-Khalili. Now that is a place full of life. It seemed like half of the people there checked my pockets for something to steal.

I did buy a couple of great towels from there. Also there are no restrooms there. Not really I mean. At one point my sister needed to go pretty badly, so our driver walked us to a public toilet. I figured I’d also take a leak while I was waiting for my sister and damn. They didn’t have toilets there. They had holes in the floor. I wont forget that sight for a while. My sister basically came running back so we moved on until we finally found a cafe if You could call it that, where they had a more cleaner toilet for my sis. I still took a piss in that hole though. When I went to wash my hands, I figured I’ll actually be better off not washing since some dude was washing shit off his hands there. Yeah. That bad.

Overall we were both happy with our trip. Our driver dropped us off to the airport in one piece and I paid him quite generously for his time. Everybody won. We flew back to Hurghada and relaxed for 2 more days before finally departing back home. I doubt that I’ll ever return to Egypt though. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime countries for me. If You’re ever going to visit Cairo, then I suggest You also find a local guide/driver for Yourself. Not only to get to places, but safety is still a big concern there. I probably had to drive away hundreds of Egyptian men who tried to grab or touch my sister. I learned a lot about the whole Egyptian and Muslim culture while I was there. Most women wear burqas. Mostly thanks to their jealous men. The ones not wearing any are usually the single ones. Their culture shames premarital sex and women are under the command of their men. One could say that this kind of lack of freedom is bad. But if it works for them..

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