Friday, August 11, 2006

Skirting the legal limits at Giza

Article about how touts encourage tourists to break the rules at the pyrmaids. In this piece, a would-be guide entered the author's taxi en route to Giza, a common pracise, and the writer goes onto to describe the experience of taking one of these rule-breaking options:
"If there is one key to a successful illegal ride around the pyramids, it is having a guide who knows how to deal with the tourist police, whose role it is to prevent you from doing exactly what you are doing. For Sam, the tactic is to simply walk around them, yelling at them in Arabic and whipping Moses 2000 onward.
Whatever he tells them, it works. In challenge after challenge, he simply presses forward with impunity, uttering some sort of password or claim of legitimacy. Somehow, it gains him immunity in the park. He encourages his guests to climb on the monuments, do anything they want, right under the eye of the tourist police. Along with urging you to break the cardinal rule of the pyramids — don’t climb on the monuments — Sam invites you to dismount and scramble among some lower tombs of workers who built the pyramids, making various claims about who is buried where."
See the above for the full story.

If it is of any interest, I was going to a conference at the Mena House (hotel just outside the entrance to the pyramids) a couple of years ago, by taxi, and a tout climbed into the front seat along the road leading up to the pyramids. The driver explained that I was actually off to the Mena House, and my would-be guide lost interest and got out at the next halt. A good tactic if you want to see the pyramids without the spiel. It's only a couple of minutes to walk from the Mena House to the official entrance.

No comments: