Well today was interesting. Some highlights include jumping off a moving horse and carriage, being stalked by the horse mafia, breaking and entering in the ruins, and seeing the most amazing structures to date!
The city here is so beautiful and has some of the best ruins, but the people harassed me so much I wouldn’t recommend anyone come here. That is obviously a generalization and most people are probably quite nice, but everyone I have dealt with today has been overly annoying! I can’t walk for more than 1 minute without being harassed to buy something. They say it in such a nice way, but they will try to sell you things even after you’ve said “no” 10 times which I consider rather rude. Also, they try to use your ignorance to get your money, so I now ask the hotel people how much I should expect to pay before I buy anything.
The first thing I did was go see the winter palace. It is a ginormous palace turned into a hotel. It cost $5 to see if you are not staying there, but you can put it toward food or drinks. They had an amazing garden and a few cool art displays to check out. It is $180 for a room in the palace, but only $50 to stay in one of the attached rooms. I think I’ll definitely stay there a few nights when I come back. I don’t know anywhere else it is that cheap to sleep in a palace!
After that I went back to the hostel to buy a fake teacher ID since I left my student ID at home. I ended up waiting for the lady that did them for an hour and fell asleep. When I woke up I was pretty pissed off that she wasted an hour of my little time here so I left. I ended up going back and getting it and it has already saved me just as much money in admission to places. I would definitely recommend this to anyone travelling without a student ID.
Next, I went to see the Luxor temple. This place was amazing! Next time I travel I think I’m going to bring my lock picks because there were several places I wanted to go that were off limits. At the end a guy offered to take me into a restricted area because he was friends with the people doing the restorations. I got to climb to the top of the roof and see several places that were not open to the public. He also showed me how to get into certain areas without lock picks. You just pull the place where the door connects to the metal bracket and the nails come out. When you are done you just push the nail, bracket, and lock back in where they were. I noticed that the places that were off limits had ruins in much better condition than the ones open to the public.
After Luxor temple I took a horse and carriage to the Karnak temple after negotiating a good price. The drivers insisted they give me a ride back as well and I said they didn’t need to, but if they were still there I would use them. They were still there when I finished so I hopped back on. Then they tried to tell me that they were taking me to the bank because the price was going to be 10x more since they waited for me. I told them that wasn’t going to happen and I would talk to the tourist police if they persisted. Then things got ugly. They started yelling at me and told me I would have to answer to their boss who owned most of the carriages in the area. That’s the point where I threw the money they deserved at them and jumped out while it was still moving! I managed to land on my feet walking rather gracefully for what it was, but almost took a tumble. I dodged a few incoming horses and ducked into the souk across the road. After I got back to the hostel I found out their boss had called numerous times.
So now, if anyone asks, I’m John from Canada staying at a hotel down the street 🙂 Lesson learned. Now I’ll have to think up a different persona as soon as I get anywhere just in case I run into trouble. I should have already known this, though, because only a handful of people know my real name and where I live in the states. For much the same reason! Tip to the wise… don’t tell people who you are or where you are staying when in shady areas.
Before heading to bed I went to the Souk (market) for some gift shopping and hung out at the park for a bit. Too much excitement for one day…