在火車站，從開羅到阿斯旺（Aswan）的日間火車不賣給遊客，遊客必須坐通宵車的頭等或二等卧舖車廂，每人約 110 美元，但若請當地人代買或上網訂票則不受此限，日間車頭等廂票價只需 14 美元。我們在網上訂票，並自行打印車票，無阻無誤地上車。車廂冷氣強勁，車程共 14 小時，但我們糧水充足，打開 Wi-Fi 蛋完成了不少工作。
來阿斯旺的遊客，一是為了看在近蘇丹邊境的阿布辛貝神殿（Abu Simbel Temples），或是坐河船到樂蜀（Luxor），我們是後者。可是在網上苦苦找尋，都找不到一艘價錢實惠的河船，全部價錢以每人一日 100 美元起跳，河船套餐都包含了岸上景點導遊團，但我們並不需要，唯有走到阿斯旺碼頭逐艘船拍門問價。看過近 10 艘，又一次證實當場議價的好處，我們選擇了Radamis II ，3 日 2 夜只需 200 美元，並升級到全船唯一有露台的套房。
船上娛樂設施近乎零，所以大家都在天台的泳池旁，看著尼羅河兩岸的風景流過。河船慢駛到下游的 Esna 堤壩，在等壩閘退水的同時，忽然聽到小販的叫賣聲，他們搖著小艇展示貨用，你點頭的話，他們便用膠袋把貨物包好，拋到船上，若不合眼緣便拋回小艇，有意思的話，小艇便用繩縛著河船，馬上展開議價遊戲。
這短短半小時的渡壩時間，是在船上 3 日的最大娛樂，亦見識到埃及人為做生意，如何無所不用其極。
Other Side of the Pyramids／Kimberlogic
We arrived at Cairo airport at 2 am. We were unable to get any sleep on the flight, so we were tired and a bit disoriented. Luckily, we had pre-arranged a driver to pick us up and bring us straight to the guest house. I didn’t really have any expectations about Cairo or Egypt in general, but I had heard Cairo was a big modern city.
The ride to our guest house was a bit scary. It was in the wee hours of the morning and half the shops along the road were still open. We went through a few police checkpoints where they were armed with machine guns and shields. The backroads that our driver took looked like we were about to be robbed or killed at any moment. We arrived at our guest house in a very shady area down a dead end alley. We were greeted by the host and immediately brought to the rooftop.
When booking this guest house, I knew it was close to the pyramids, but I didn’t realise just how close it was. There was only a small fence between our building and the pyramids. The entrance into the pyramid complex was only a 3-minute walk from our front door!
The next morning when we finally woke up, we went straight to the rooftop to check out the view in the sunlight, and it was better than we imagined! We were staying at the stables where all of the camels, horses and donkeys are kept that people ride through the pyramids complex. This was the downside to our stay in Giza.
The view of the pyramids was enough to overlook many things such as the cleanliness of the guest house, the hassle we went through as soon as we would leave the house from all of the touting, and the dirtiness of the area in general. But, seeing the condition of these animals and the way they were “cared” for broke my heart.
You can’t walk near the pyramids without being asked at least every 2 minutes if you want a camel ride or a horse ride. Once you say no, they do not go away or stop asking you. We finally began saying, “no animals”, and it helped more than just a “no”, but not completely.
Seeing the pyramids and Sphinx was absolutely amazing, especially because we arrived as soon as it opened at 8 am and went to the less used Sphinx entrance, so we had the Sphinx all to ourselves in the morning. Walking around the complex was so cool, but we got the feeling that no one really cares for this place any longer.
Fences that keep people away from things were broken down and none of the guards cared that we all climbed over the fences that were still standing. We walked from the smallest pyramid to the Sphinx straight through the dessert and ended up in the middle of the nobles’ burial site with no one around. Some of these places were crumbling and full of garbage, it was sad to see such destruction of a place so old and so iconic.
The rest of Giza shocked me as well. Throughout all of my travels, I found it to be one of the dirtiest, uncared for places. Maybe this is how the city has always been, but I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. Still, dirty and uncared for or not, the pyramids are something not to be missed, but one day is plenty.