Saturday, May 11, 2013
The Pyramid Scam: Giza, Egypt.
If you ever find your self in Cairo, and you have never been before, there is only one thing you HAVE to see: The Pyramids. It’s a no-brainer. It may seem cliché but really, it’s the deal. So for me getting into Cairo as a newbie, that’s what I had to go see. Everyone from all over the world comes to Cairo to see the great wonder. The locals however, knowing this, have come up with a few ways to scam the tourists that I thought would be worth sharing.
On the bus driving to the pyramids, I was warned by our guide about all the elaborate ways that the local Egyptians take advantage of foreigners just to make an extra buck. The guide even went as far as to say that “all the worst people in Egypt are working by the pyramids”. So in in this blog, I’m going to tell you what she told us, and also what I saw.
Scam #1: The camel scam. Around the pyramids, there are several dozen camels that belong to men who offer up camel rides. For a tourist, that would be the ultimate: to get your picture on a camel riding past the famed pyramids of Giza. They come up to you and tell you (not ask), “Come with me! Come with me! I’ll give you camel ride! 10 dollars!”. Ten dollars being a fairly modest price, most people agree and pay the 10 dollars and they get on the camel and ride around for 10 minutes. When it’s finally over and you ask to get down, they come back with: “getting down from the camel is one hundred dollars!” Now while you might be laughing at what could be a pretty funny prank, is actually the honest truth. THEY WILL NOT LET YOU OFF THE CAMEL UNLESS YOU PAY! They don’t kid around. Now while maybe a young man who is in fit shape might be able to jump off the camel himself, others (especially the elderly), would surly break their limbs jumping down from the camel. Therefore, they end up paying the money and spending $110 for a camel ride.
Scam #2: The photo pose. Almost everyone, when they get to the pyramids brings a camera and snaps a few photos. One of the scams that they will use is just as you are about to snap a photo, they will walk right in front of your photo and wait to hear the click from your camera, making sure that they took the photo with them in it. When they hear your camera snap, they come over to you and demand money for taking their picture. They will get VERY aggressive if you don’t pay. I think possibly the easy solution would be to just delete the picture; but they will demand money.
Scam #3: The not-so-good Samaritan photographer. So let’s say that you are at the pyramids with your family of even a group of friends, and you want to get a group photo of you and your loved ones in front of the pyramids. Suddenly a kind Egyptian comes out of the blue and asks if you want him to take a photo of you guys. You agree and hand him your camera and he ends up taking an amazing, once in a lifetime photo of you and your family/friends. When its over, he comes over and demands $40 for taking the picture, even though it was with your own camera. If you refuse, he runs off with your camera and you never see him again. The police won’t help you and its over.
Scam #4: The “Gift” You may be walking around, minding your own business when you are bombarded by kids tries to sell you merchandise. You politely refuse when they take one of the products and shove it in your hand. So you’re standing there with a turban in your hand, let’s say and not sure what to make of it. The kid just walks off. So that must mean that he gave it to you as a gift right? WRONG! The kid comes back with another man and they demand that you pay up. If you try to give the turban back, they refuse it and shove it back into your hand. Your only option is to either pay up, or drop it on the ground and walk away. Dropping it on the ground is really the only solution.
Now all that being said, you can still visit the pyramids and enjoy your self. They are extremely impressive in person and are worth visiting at least once in your life. Their larger than life presence is awe-inspiring. The sphinx is also near by and worth a look as well. People will heckle you to buy stuff and they can get very aggressive, but as long as you hold your ground, and walk past them, you can have an amazing time enjoying one of the great wonders of the world. -DB