Crazy Taxi Rides

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We woke up this morning, had our breakfast buffet at the hotel, sat by the pool for a bit, packed up, and checked out at noon.  We had until 4pm before we needed to head to the hotel to catch our flight to Luxor. We had a choice, to sit by the pool more, or to venture out and have an afternoon in Giza. We chose Giza, as to not waste our time in Egypt,  and in retrospect, we probably should've chosen the pool. What an afternoon, which really didn't accomplish much. Eric bargained a taxi for a couple hours, with the destination of a park near the Giza zoo, we figured would be a good place to kill a couple hours. Well, the traffic was indescribable. Insane amounts of cars, beeping, people crossing, animals, buses, just insanity.  And it was flaming hot. And there was no a/c. Literally 45 minutes later we had barely moved a half a mile. Looking at the clock, we didn't have much time, so we changed our destination to the local market instead.....which our taxi driver interpreted as please take us to your friends shops so we can buy souvenirs and you can get a cut of the profit. We aren't dumb. But we had nothing else to do that afternoon. So we went along with it. We bought some things, Eric got a t-shirt, I got a scarf, and eventually we made it back to the hotel, slightly before 4. Which cut it too close for comfort, because again, the traffic was not that much better going the other way. When we had checked out in the morning, Eric had asked the front desk guy to arrange a taxi to the airport for us (it's about a 45-60 minute drive from Giza), which the guy interpreted as "go to the street and grab your taxi driver friend to take us to the airport".  Which annoyed us, because Eric could have done the same thing, and probably bargained for a better price.  He is getting very very good at bargaining...I feel sorry for the next guy who sells him a car... he doesn't stand a chance.  And to make matters more irking, the guy's car is a beater. But we are on limited time, so we oblige, and pack in.  The traffic is still awful, and it's still really really hot. And...you guessed it....no a/c. When the guys car breaks down 15 minutes into the ride, and he pops the hood and the engine won't turn over, that was the end of our arrangement.  We get out of the taxi, tell the guy to open the trunk cause we are getting another taxi,  he starts saying "no problem !  5 minutes!"  Eric steals the keys out of the ignition and opens the trunk, we get our bags, we get in another taxi, that luckily happens to drive by at that moment (angels I tell ya, they are good when you are in a pinch). When the first taxi driver starts to ask Eric for money for the distance he did drive us, he answers with a blatant NO, and we are onward to the airport. This new driver was very nice and very good, he even stopped quickly to buy himself a water for the drive and bought one for us too. And he had A/C. After a Heineken in the terminal, and catching a CNN World Sports story that the Cavs beat the Heat (GO CAVS),  we are back to ourselves again.
We arrive in Luxor at 8:25pm. Our hotel had made prior arrangements for a driver to pick us up at the airport, and after our previous experience, it was nice to not have to worry about it. Our hotel, Mara House, is only 20 minutes from the airport, and the caretaker, Ahmed, was waiting for us, and made us hot tea when we got there.   He is very nice and welcoming, and likes to chit-chat. After we got settled, he showed us to our room, which is essentially a mini suite. It has 2 bedrooms, plus a dining area and a sitting area. We are happy to be here, and to have a break from the city.   

We took video of what it's like to drive around here as proof we aren't lying or exaggerating. 
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