In case you were wondering about the weather for the next few stories, I figure I’ll just post the 10-day forecast and see if it deviates at all. Easier to be a meterologist here than in LA, even, I bet.
I arrived without any trouble at the airport, got through customs (the entry visa was either $15 or 90EGP, which as far as I can figure it is cheaper in $, but who am I to understand the trivialities of exchange rates? Anyway, I talked to a few cabbies (or they talked to me), and settled on a guy who was affable and agreed to take me to the hotel for 100EGP. With the exchange rate at 5-to-1ish, I couldn’t complain. Anyway, he actually misunderstood where I wanted to go (unless he was a fabulous actor, in which case, snaps to him) and when I showed him written, he didn’t know it. Hilarity ensued. Not really – we just took surface streets half way to the pyramids, which was actually way more interesting, if a bit slower. My guy even had to stop for gas, which cost 3GBP and seemed like maybe half a tank. We drove around the entry to the ring road looking for the hotel, and after only stopping twice for questions and backing down a major thoroughfare, we managed it eventually. Of course, he asked for double his initial fare, and, after thinking about it a second, I paid him, happily, even. Now, I know I was supposed to negotiate, scream and yell, etc., but I had nothing smaller than a 100, and I just felt soft today. Maybe this is my way of giving to charity, since I distain beggars.
Updates and complete story after the break.
Anyway, the hotel, the Movenpick Pyramids, has a sort of shabby feel that seems to fit right in in the dusty desert that is Giza. It’s about 90 degrees here, but my A/C works, so I’m a happy camper. The internet doesn’t work, though, which is a bit of a bummer, and I may move rooms over it, actually. We’ll see. If they can’t get it fixed, I’ll have to move rooms. It’s supposed to be an additional $27/night for internet, so if they *can* get this sorted, maybe I’ll get some free internet out of the deal, you know? I mean, at $89/night for the room, adding $27 still comes in slightly beneath the buyout.
Since I have no idea what to do here in Cairo, I’ll have to spend a decent amount of time tonight looking into it online. I meant to get a LonelyPlanet guide while I was in an English-speaking place, but I spent my time instead working and buying whiskeys. More on that later. The front desk will probably help me out in terms of seeing the pyramids and the sphinx complex, and maybe even in getting downtown and seeing things around. We’ll see how I feel in the morning, once I’ve rested up a bit (a lot) and gotten some food. Biggest problem I can think of for this area is actually the lack of anything else in the immediate vicinity – the hotel is on a main road with nothing across the street and only some either run-down or in-progress hotels on either side. The other places I looked at are all within an easy walk, so that’s a snap, but to get truly local foods and such, i’ll have to venture downtown or something. We’ll see.
I’m even re-imagining going down to Luxor. We’ll see. I’m definitely going to try to do the whole up early, nap in the afternoon, back out in the evening thing – the sun in the heat of the day, even through today’s 5pm haze seems brutal. I’ll need sunscreen, too, note to self. I think I need to find a store for snacks and sunscreen. I wonder if this is one of those towns where you hire a cab driver for the day for some low daily rate. I mean, if half a tank of gas costs $0.60 here, I wouldn’t be surprised. Gotta confirm that 5-to-1 exchange.
UPDATE: Just had dinner on the rooftop that looks out at the pyramids and wow. First of all, pyramids. Second of all – I’m somewhere that gets dark before ten o’clock! But, umm, Pyramids. Pictures will follow – I’ll pop up there when I can, but I just wanted to update the update real quick with that. $20 meal of chicken rice & veggies, $20 million view.