What a day. Fridays are not days that you can excavate. This is wonderful because bodies and souls really do need a Sabbath. It also allows us to go to church. So we caught some taxis to Maadi and went in for church. Today was district conference. We were able to hear from the District President, Lebanese person who lives in Jordan, and several other speakers. It was so good, I enjoyed it so much and felt so edified. I came to understand some things I need to teach my children about more.
Afterwards the branch had a little luncheon. We were able to visit with a number of people as we ate. A wonderful little family from Congo was particularly delightful to me. Also a family from Hawaii. And so many others. What a wonderful group, what good people. This was a blessed part of the day.
We changed clothes and went Rich Zeolla’s house. Rick is the manager of the Marriott. We were going to see the Abu Roash pyramid (also known as the lost pyramid) and he and his family were coming. It is a bit hard to find, but last year Joyce and I found it, and I marked the GPS coordinates, so we should be able to find it. He had his driver, and we found two taxis.
As we headed out we went past the place where you turn in to the Giza pyramids. The camel jockey mafia were out in full force. These are guys who try to force taxis with tourists to stop, they make you ride their friend’s camel, and then they take you out in the middle of nowhere and take all your money. They really try to force the taxis to pull over. Our taxi got away with them hitting and kicking it. The taxi behind, with half our crew, didn’t fare as well. The driver had his window down, and the mafia guy caught his arm and held it in a painful lock. He jumped up on the cab and held onto that arm until the guy pulled over. Then they played a weird game for a long time where the taxi drive would try to take off, the mafia guy would hop on the trunk and ride until he could run up and grab his arm again, etc. It looked for a while like he was going to pull this guy out and beat him up and get our friends. He was pretty violent and pretty close to making it happen. As we kept going but slow enough to see if they would get away, one of them caught up with us and got our driver’s door open. Then our drive was trying to speed up and get his door shut, etc. It took a while to get away. It made for a tense situation.
This stuff makes me so angry. It was happening last year too. These guys don’t know how much they are hurting themselves. Fewer people go to Giza because of them, so in the end they make less money, and so does everyone else associated with Giza, innocent or not. A few people have asked me about getting involved in tour groups to come over here. They ask if it is a good time. I think it mostly is, but the problems at Giza have to make me say no. The wonderful people here are suffering, and it is partially because of these idiots at the pyramid. I hate to see my wonderful friends here struggling so much because of the lack of tourism, and these evil men make it worse. It angers me.
Anyway, we continued on our journey. Sadly, we had the worst taxi driver in Egypt. He would not believe us that there was a pyramid in Abu Roash, even though we had been there before. We could only go about 5-10 minutes before he would pull over and try to convince us to go to the Saqqara or Giza pyramids. He stopped and asked directions of everyone we met, even though we told him to keep going and told him where it was. This made it take forever. I am sure that the people in the other cars were giving up hope and thought we were crazy. What should have been a 45 minute drive took 1.5 hours. It was a horrible drive. And I wanted so badly for Rick and his family to have a good experience that I was getting an ulcer by the time we found it. We finally did, and it is a very cool place and we had a good time. But I am not sure they thought it was worth it. I feel badly about that. What can we do? It was kind of a fun trip, but mostly stressful.
I look forward to a good day of excavating tomorrow.