To say I have experienced a lot the past few days would be the under statement of the year. Khan al-Khalili, City Stars, and the Pyramids all within the last three days…Yes, as a matter of fact, I am exhausted.

Khan al-Khalili is this giant market place in Islamic Cairo where you haggle for the price of the souvenir you wish to buy. Now I thought haggling would be easy for me since I LOVE to argue….wrong!! The guys give you this guilt trip just to get you into the tiny hallways they call a store and then continue to guilt you into a higher price. Now thankfully, for me, I had my lovely friend Khalil who jumped in and started yelling with the man about prices. I stood there awkwardly, feeling as though I was stealing this man’s child until finally Khalil got the price down an extra 60 pounds– the man works magic.

Now when you first enter Khan al-Khalili there is plenty of space and the vendors just stand idly by their little stores or stands. However, the further you walk into the market, the closer the confines become and the more people there are. The floor became this muddy, liquidy, cardboardy paste type of thing. [I am definitely glad I decided to wear tennis shoes that day.] People were running around and bumping into you everywhere you turned. I swear my butt was touched more than a baseball player going up to bat. But as long as you do not have personal space issues, this is definitely an experience.
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Now City Stars puts any mall I have ever been in to shame…and I only went on one floor. On this one floor were many stores of all kinds that I did not have time to enter, but merely gawked at the items in the windows. [I do know that I have to go back and discover the price of a dress I want to stuff into my suitcase.] Also on this floor is a food court and the equivalent of a super wal-mart. Now keep in mind everything I just listed is on one floor. This mall has at least six floors within the building.

Now, as I am always likely to do, I bought way too many groceries and had the unfortunate experience of having to lug them all the way back to campus. I had to load mine, and three other people’s items into the trunk of a taxi. Well, this trunk was mainly taken by some strange tank in the back so only a few bags would fit and every other bag was squeezed into the cabin with all of us. Once we finally reached the school, we had to stop at the gate, so the guards could check all of our bags, then walk even more to where our dorms are situated. This is definitely enough to make you miss the convenience ¬†of a car and a kitchen that is close to your parking spot.
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So…the pyramids lacked the special quality that I was expecting. Granted, expecting the heavens to open and light begin shining down onto the tops of each pyramid while glitter floats in the air may be a bit much, I did expect more than I saw. I just wanted less people to be there so that I could get better pictures without someone else’s big head in the way – yet again, I know, asking too much.

When we first get there, I take my designated super touristy pictures so that I can now focus on the more artistic forms of photography. After many pictures and a history lesson, we start heading to the side of the first pyramid. This is where we are affronted by men with camels who want us to ride for money. All of us say no causing them to ask us to just take a picture with the camel. Now, we assume this means standing next to said camel while a picture is taken; however, the guy then puts me on the camel where I assume my friend and I are just going to sit on the camel while a picture is taken. Wrong again. The guy makes a clicking noise and the camel gets up and starts walking. Apparently he is going to take our picture in front of the pyramids while on a camel – this is fine until he refuses to let us down until we pay him an amount that suits him. [Which, by the way, is 120 pounds more than they originally said for a camel ride.] Thankfully, our tour guide (Moodi) saw what happened and came running over, yelling at the man. We got 100 pounds back which made me very happy. After that experience, I avoided anyone who offered anything on the sands in Giza.