I saw many changes in Egypt since I had visited 22 years ago. The pyramids have not changed. They are as impressive as ever and still inspire awe as you stand at the bottom and look up. The first time I went we had a young gal from Oregon with us. As we arrived she said “You know you have to ride a camel around the pyramids”. I told her I did not think that was a necessity, but she insisted so we did. I remember that ride as being uncomfortable and stinky.
This time a friend from Vancouver had joined me, and he had never been to Egypt before. He too thought that camel riding was an intricate part of the experience. We were at the gate when it opened and managed to beat the tour bus crowds. We were alone with the Sphnix. As we got closer to the big pyramid he decided he would like to go inside one. I had “been there, done that” so had no desire to do it again. We met an old camel guide and were talking to him. He told Troy not to waste money to go into the big pyramid – had would not see anything, and the ticket to the smaller one was much cheaper. Troy had to walk back to the entrance to get that ticket. I stayed to talk to the old camel guy. He had been a guide for 45 years. He told me when he first started someone had given him a card. He did not know what it was, but took it home and kept it. He continued to get them, and someone finally explained they were business cards. He decided to keep them and put them in a book. He told me he now had a big book, and he invited me to come to his house to see it.
Troy went inside the smaller pyramid – said it was a waste of time and money. We then rode the camels out into the dunes in order to look back at the pyramids. Once again it was uncomfortable, but this time the camel did not stink.
After Troy left I call the old guy and he came to meet me to take me to his house. He only lived a couple of blocks from where I was staying, down a winding little alley. He opened the door to his house, and there was his camel’s ass. We walked past the camel and a couple of feet from its head his wife and daughter were seated on the floor preparing food for dinner.
We went into an adjoining room with carpet and big pillows on the floor. Everything was spotlessly clean. His daughter brought us tea as he smoked his shisha and showed me his “big book”. He knew it inside out and could find cards within seconds. He also showed me a photo of his grandfather with his camel at the pyramids. He walked me home and thanked me for visiting. I kept his card to bring home with me. I do not have a big book to put it in, but I will always treasure that memory.