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I arrived in Giza about 30 min late, due to a flight delay. I was about to learn very quickly that Egyptian run on another clock system. 5 Egyptian’s minutes are roughly equal to an hour of normal time. As usual, once I retrieved my backpack, I found a kiosk to buy a sim card. What took about 5 minutes in every single countries I’ve been to so far, ended up taking an hour and a half, here. So now, I was out of the airport with about two hours of delay -which didn’t look good as my hotel was supposed to pick me up. I called them, once outside, and turned out the driver was also late (he was on his way now). I had to wait about 15 minutes, saying “no, thanks”, “i said no, thank you” to a sworn of taxi drivers trying to push me to follow them. My driver finally arrived, we introduced ourselves and hopped in the car. The drive was going to be about 40 minutes. The driver’s english was very poor, but enough elaborate for us to have a minimal conversation. “You here alone?”. Yes, i am here alone. I could see where this was going. “Why? You not married?” “No, I am not married. I am single and free. I love it.” I hoped he would leave it to that. “Why not married?” He looked at me in shock. “I prefer being single than with someone not compatible. I am free to do what I want now”. I probably broke his brain. He kept silent for 20 minutes. “Do you have girlfriend, then?” I laughed. Maybe it’s his bad english, or maybe he just cannot comprehend someone would prefer to be alone. “No, i am alone. Single. Free. Happy!” He smiled. “Happy, that’s good.” We arrived at the hotel. The entrance looked very dodgy. It was literally in ruins. Someone was waiting for me in the lobby. He took my bags and we all took the elevator up to floor 13. The elevator’s music was some sort of ancient egyptian music -but to be fair I would later questionned myself if that was not the latest hit of 2023. Egypt felt a bit stuck in the past, to me. I was greeted very warmly by the staff, who told me that even if it was very early they had a temporary room for me to rest -in the meantime that my real room got ready. They offered me breakfast, before I could go for a nap. I was also allowed to just chill on the rooftop, to admire the pyramids -but because my neighbours were two very loud ladies that couldn’t shut their fucking mouth through the whole flight, I was exhausted and needed some rest. I ate quickly and then went to sleep for about three hours. When I woke up, my room was almost ready. I was able to go on the rooftop and enjoy the view, in the meantime. It was magnificent. I played Aladdin’s soundtrack in my earbuds, just to add to the ambiance. After a few minutes, I could hear another music playing very loudly. I paused mine, to listen. It was a prayer, projected by intercoms attached to the mosques, in the dense city below. This would happen five times a day, everyday, for the rest of my Egyptian trip. I felt transported back in times, with the sound and the view. Not just of the pyramids, but also of the city filled with old buildings crumbling down. My room was finally ready and I was happy to see that it gave on the rooftop, with the same incredible view. I decided to do nothing for the rest of the day, except walking about 10 min away to a restaurant the hotel just recommended me. The streets were very old and broken and everyone I crossed path with were wearing garnments you imagine when reading the bible. Long dresses and layering of scarf and blankets, all black or earth tones. I was pretty covered too, just so I could blend in -I was wearing a black t-shirt and black long pants, with a scarf covering my arms and shoulders. Yet, I still got some looks probably meaning I was not covered enough. I entered the restaurant and was very well received by the owner and staff. The food was delicious (some kind of shawarma sandwich) and I walked back home feeling very full. I chilled in my room and on the rooftop for the rest of the day, until at night when I decided to go down next door for one of the most delicious meal I ever had. It was lebanese -a bowl of shawarma and pickled veggies to die for. I went back to the hotel, ordered a bottle of wine (yes, people can drink here) and I stayed on the rooftop, sipping my glass, for a few hours. I felt asleep very early -I was still in great need of rest.

The next morning, I was waking up early to go see the pyramids. I had a driver and a guide with me, for the whole day. Our first stop was the pyramid of Giza -It was now possible to enter it. I was nervous, at first, because they warned me that this was not for claustrophobic people. I am not, to a degree, but I remember that I had to go out the CuChi tunnels in Vietnam because I almost had a panic attack half-way through. I still wanted to give it a go. After about 10 minutes wait, I finally entered. We were all in a row, very close to eachothers. The path was narrow, but nothing like the one in Vietnam. We still had place to pass two people- although not very comfortably, As opposed to the one in Vietnam, it was lit and was going up instead of down. Maybe it’s just mental, but it did feel way less bad. It took another 10 minutes of walking, while squating, to reach the royal chamber -where the empty pharaoh’s sarcophagus was resting. The room was bare. Actually, all the walls to the path leading there were. It wasn’t the real passage, but a new one that archeologist dug safely to enter the pyramid and access the chambers. The real passage was still closed -they were afraid that opening it would destroy the top of the pyramid entierly. But why was it closed, and who closed it? I also had so many questions concerning the pyramids, the following part is about all the answers I got.

Once someone became a Pharaoh, his first order was to build a burial monument for himself. Ancient Egyptian whole system of belief was that there was life after death, and that like the sun -you would someday come back to life once you were dead. They were getting mommified, because you needed your body for once you would come back to life. They were building these massive pyramids, because they were suppose to become your house, once you would be back alive. That is also why there were burrying so many treasure with the mommies -it was all the possessions that the defunt would need. Every walls inside the pyramids were covered with the stories about the life of the decease, so was it’s sarcophagus. It was believed that this was for the gods to understand more about the person, for it’s final judgement. All the pyramids were built on the west bank of the Nile, which was were the sun was setting. This side was associated with darkness and death -while the east was associated with light and life. Once the body was mommified, it was walked up the pyramid and placed into the main chamber. They would then place all the organs (in vases) and possessions inside the pyramid, too. And finally, they would walk out and seal the entrance, making it impossible for thieves to find back (some did, after many years, that is why so much was already missing from all of these sites, when we finally re-discovered them).

Our second stop of the day was a camel ride in front of the pyramids. It lasted about twenty minutes and it was very uncomfortable. Still, a nice experience to have. The view was incredible and once again, it transported me back in the past. We then went to see the spynx, the biggest oldest statue of Egypt. There, I asked more questions to my guide about how the pyramids were constructed and if their sizes meant anything at all. He told me that the Nile River was once way closer to the pyramids then it is today, making it easier for the blocks to be carried from the water. The nile was redirected to it’s current location not too long ago, history wise. He also told me that in the 90s, archeologists found the village that was hosting the pyramids workers. They weren’t slaves. They found proof they were getting paid -some were counting on their walls, the amount of money they were earning a day. They found animal bone remains, showing that they were getting the best cuts of meat. Jars full of bread. Nothing slaves would have been exposed to. They found proof that people were getting surgery if they needed it. Even found the “signature” of one of the worker teams inside the pyramid - it read “the friends of Khufu” (Khufu was the pharaoh buried in the pyramid of Giza).

We drove back to the hotel, where I proceeded to nap for a few hours. I was leaving around 6PM to go for a dinner on the Nile. I will not elaborate on that, because it was a buffet dinner cruise filled with old people and very tacky performances and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Do not do this, if ever you come here. I went back to the hotel around 11PM, after having to say ‘no’ about four times to my driver being very insistent on stopping for a drink. “It’s egyptian hospitality” “You can stop if you are thirsty, but I will wait here, I am not and I just feel very tired, sorry.” “For one drink! Come on, just one drink with me”. “I said no. Please bring me back to the hotel”. He got upset but in the end I got back to the hotel without having to stop. I was starting to get fed up quite a bit by having to say ‘no’ more than five times for people to fucking understand. Like do what you fucking want but don’t pressure people to do something they do not feel like doing. One ‘no’ should be enough.

Anyway, I got back to the hotel and felt asleep.

I wokeup late, took my time to chill on the rooftop and then I took a uber (because they were going to make me pay about four times more to get a car from the hotel). I was a bit annoyed by the whole ‘trying to rob me’ thing, but I was also warned that this was going to happen a lot in Egypt. I left the hotel and arrived in my hostel, in Cairo, about 45min later.


I received several messages from Egyptians, after my last article. A few people were angry. A few trying to convince me I haven’t experienced the real Egypt and a few telling me that yes, this is Egypt. Once again- i only write my experiences as I live it, without filters. It doesn’t mean that my experiences represent the whole country, but it means that as a white female tourist, these experiences can, and are, happening. The goal is not to idealize a country nor to demonize it. It’s just for me to remember what I felt during this trip. I report the good and the bad- if there is more bad than good, -it’s not my fault. So kindly fuck off and don’t read my blog if you don’t want to hear the truth.

I arrived in Cairo after a quick uber ride. My hostel was at the top of a dusty building, giving on a beautiful square. I checked in and was able to access my room right away. It was big and beautiful, but the windows gave right on the roundabout. I could hear all the honking and people yelling at eachother, a custom in traffic here. Like in Vietnam, I had a permanent headache from all the noise, since I arrived in Egypt. I had earplugs though, so it was going to be ok. I took a shower, settled in and then decided to walk to the Egyptian museum, nearby. I had a lovely time there, walking around the artefacts and even saw two mummies on the upper level of the grandiose building. I came back to the hotel after a few hours, and the people at the reception tried to convince me to cancel a tour I had already book on viator- to go with them instead. I couldn’t cancel because it was past the date to get refunded, but the guy at the reception kept telling me that yes, i could cancel. “I use to work as a tour guide for viator”, well I travelled around the world and tried to cancel a few times before, it rarely works if you are pass the deadline. Also the more the guy was pressuring me, the less I wanted to actually go with them. I ended up being so annoyed that I took my stuff, took an uber and went off to the market. My ride there was super nice. The driver made me forget everything right away. He was very nice and charming, and was very curious about where I was from and why I was here. He ended up asking if I wanted to take a longer route so he could show me around a bit. I agreed, he was super nice and it was my first real connection in Egypt. What was suppose to be a 20 minute drive took about 45 min in total. He showed me around several part of town and finally drop me off in the middle of the market. I thanked him for being so awesome, he smiled and thank me for the chat too. He left and I started wandering the streets, amazed by everything around me. I was transported in ancient times, with the stalls and small shops selling gold, lamps, scarf and dresses. It was smelling a thousand and one spices, the music coming from every shops melting into one symphony. I was expected to be harassed even more here than anywhere in the city, but to my biggest surprise -I wasn’t at all. I received tons of smiles, of “welcome to Egypt”, but not a single person trying to lure me behind their shop. I stayed about three hours, sat in a small coffee shop to get a typical egyptian tea, wandered the narrowed alleys full of sellers and finally bought one scarf for my trip to the mosque, the next day. I absolutely loved the market. I took an uber back to the hotel, a smile on my face. I felt asleep pretty quickly after my shower, ready to go explore the coptic and islamic neighbourhoods the next day.

I wokeup with the prayer piercing through my earplugs. Long groans passed through an ancient egypt auto-tune, an actual nice way to wakeup, I felt like. I had a quick breakfast and was greeted by my guide for the day: Ismael. He told me to call him Johnny, I said Ismael was fine, but he told me, laughing, that he did like the name Johnny a lot. He explained to me the plan of the day. We were going to start with the visit of the mosque. Then, we would go visit the cathedrals and the coptic areas. Finally, we would end with the museum of civilization. We hopped in the car and I knew right away I would have a good day. Both the driver and the guide were hilarious- and actually the guide made me think of my dad. He was so kind and funny and he kept wanting to help me find the best deals for some upcoming activities. We arrived at the mosque, he took some pictures of me and explained the history but also talked a bit about how things were changing for women here. I don’t recall why, but I also ended up knowing he was doing a coin collection from all over the world -so i gave him coins I had left from all the countries i’ve visited so far. We then went to the coptic area, where he told me I could pay my respect to the virgin Mary. I told him I was an atheist and he got very surprised. “Why?” “I believe in myself and it’s enough for me”. He smiled. “Lots of european and American are atheists nowadays”. He was all fine with it, which I really liked. We continued the tour, while I was asking questions about the muslim religion. We arrived to the museum where he explained to me several pieces, but I had to go downstairs alone to see the mummies. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures, with or without flash. So if someone can explain to me how the mummies survived inside tombs that were burning hot (I can testify, since I was in it in Luxor), why is it so bad to take a picture of them without a flash? There are also a few in the Egyptien musuem and in the valley of the dead, that you can photography. So, it’s a mystery why the ones in this museum -you can’t. Being a rebel by nature, I still tried. I was unsuccessful as a guard spotted me on a camera and forced me to delete everything. Oupsi. I finished my tour and went back up to meet with my guide. I had one major question: why do the mummies almost all have ginger hair? He replied that hair contains a mixture of black-brown-yellow eumelanin and red pheomelanin. Eumelanin is less chemically stable than pheomelanin and breaks down faster when oxidized, which explains why a lot of the mummies were ginger. If it’s true or not, I am still looking through reddit to confirm. The tour ended back at my hotel, where I said goodbye to my guide and driver and went up to refresh. I went back down not too long after, to walk to an Italian restaurant nearby. The food was delicious and the atmosphere very nice. I walked back home, full and happy about the day. Showered and went to sleep straight away.

I woke up later than usual, with no plans for the day. After a quick search on google, I decided to go brunch in the neighbourhood of Zamelek, then walk around to the cairo tower and finish by a dinner at the ritz (I wanted to experience a real fancy Egyptian feast). I took an motorcycle uber, which I regretted instantly as the driver was a fucking maniac. He was driving so fast and I had no helmet, because Egypt. I finally made it, in one piece, to the brunch place. It was very pretty. I ordered pancakes but was soon met with the awful smell of cigarettes. Turns out you can still smoke inside buildings and restaurants, here. My pancakes arrived after about an hour of me getting smoked -and at that point I could barely taste anything else than ashes. I ate quickly and went out to catch some fresh-ish air. Pollution is a big thing in cairo, but this neighbourhood was fortunately very green. It was also a nice area to walk. I went to buy a new usb plug for my ipad and then ended up sitting in a coffee for a an hour or so. I then decided to start walking in direction of the cairo tower, which ended up being a massive deception. It seems new from outside but the inside is old and smells awful. The windows are a bit dirty which makes it hard to see the view -and on top of that I was asked to move in the elevator to be “with the women” -in the back. I stayed about 5 min total, in that tourist trap. I then decided that I would walk over the bridge to go to the ritz restaurant. While I was about three quarter into my walk, a guy walking next to me started to chat. I was trying to be very brief in my answer, but after a few minutes it did felt like he was just making conversation while we waited for a gap between the cars to pass. He said he was here in visit, coming from the usa. We crossed the street and he asked where I was heading to. “Just walking”, I said. He then tried to make me follow him to his family store -surprise, he was from here. I said no, but he insisted again and again. I had to finally swear and say “I fucking said no, how many times do we need to tell you before you fucking understand”. He got surprised, apologized and left. I was once again left with an awful feeling of annoyance mixte with pressure and feeling bad for snapping at an other human being. But seriously, fucking leave the tourists alone, insisting after a “no” is not egyptian hospitality -it’s harassment. I was once again, fed up by my encounter. I arrived at the ritz, took a drink in the lobby until the restaurant open and tried to convince myself that overall my trip in Egypt was positive. The truth is that, overall I felt exactly like during my last toxic relationship. I really wanted it to work- but i felt like I was walking on eggs and was pressure to do or be someone i’m not. I was about to leave to another city the next day, so I wanted to open myself to the idea that maybe Cairo was the problem. Maybe Luxor would be different. I ate the meal (that was fine but not worth the price) and I walked back to my hostel. I felt asleep hoping that my next destination would be the perfect opposite -like Hoedspruit was to Cape Town.

I had a hard time to wakeup, because I felt like I wasn’t excited by anything. I dreaded going outside and having to avoid people again. But- I knew I had to push myself to do it. I took the uber to the airport, and about two hours after, I was sitting in the plane. The plane a/c was broken. It was legit 45 degrees inside and even the most prude were starting to unravel themselves. The crew had to pass and give bottle of water several times during the flight, which was only an hour. We finally landed, after the worst flight I had so far, and my patience was already very thin so I was really hopeful that Luxor wouldn’t pull a Cairo on me.


I was a bit stupid and forgot to look at if there was uber available in Luxor (the answer is no), so I ended up needing to take a taxi. I called my hotel first, to ask them what price I should pay, and they told me not more than 500 egyptiens. I went down to the taxi area and they told me 800 egyptiens. I had to argue with them for about 20min to finally make the price go down to 650. I was so fucking annoyed, because I knew that I was being robbed. And the taxi driver knew that I knew. How do they expect us to say good things about the country, after? A mystery. Anyway, so we were now at the hotel and the taxi driver was trying to sell me tours. “Are you joking?” I’m not going to take a tour with you, you just made me pay more than I should for the ride. Comon people, fucking use common sense here. I went out of the taxi, feeling like this was going to be a second Cairo. I was received like a queen at my hotel. It was a compound in the middle of a farmer village, on the west bank of Luxor. There was a restaurant, several rooftops, a garden and a pool. I was able to see the view of the nile from the rooftop and suddenly everything felt more serene. I asked my host to send me the available tours for the next days, and he replied that he was going to send it to me in a few minutes. I settled in, ordered food at the restaurant and ate it, watching the sunset on the rooftop. Finally, a tranquil place that I was enjoying. I was now about to go bed but still haven’t received the available tours. I had to chase my host around the compound for him to finally send it to me. I selected two tours -two mornings in a row. The first one was going to be the next morning: I would stay on the west bank to visit the valley of the dead. Then, the following morning, I would go to the east bank to visit Karnak and the Luxor temple. I went to bed, with a better feeling than in the morning.

I woke up early and was picked up by Adham, a very nice local who was going to be my driver for the tour. He drove me to the Valley of the Kings and gave me some advices to avoid the horde of sellers that were clearly going to see me as an easy target. Cleaverly enough, I had to pass through a market to access the ticket booth. I managed to avoid everyone and proceeded to buy my ticket. I made my way inside, and passed the next three hours walking around the tombs. From the one of Tutankhamun to the ones of Ramesses and Sety, I was just amazed by the amount of work that was put into it. All the tombs were found inside the cliff of a mountain -and as we were going down to the main chambers, the heat was cranking up more and more. I remember wondering how the mummies survived that long under this temperature -while they were in a tempered enclosure in the museum. There was almost no tourists, as it was very early still. I felt almost the same feeling as back in Cambodia, when I had the temples all to myself. I was so grateful to be here, looking at thousand years old hieroglyphs and paintings. There were yellows and golds, reds and blues -so many vibrant colors and amazing designs everywhere. They were more than workers, they were great artists. I texted Adham that I was almost done, walked back to the parking and hopped back in the van, with a smile. Our next stop was the temple of Hatshepsut. It was a grandiose temple built inside the cliff of a mountain. It was absolutely majestic, but I liked my experience less because of the amount of tourists there was by the time we arrived. I quickly went around and then made my way back to the van. Adham asked me if I wanted to continue the day with lunch or with another tour -this one was now over. I told him no, thank you. I was still feeling very exhausted by my previous days in Egypt, and I felt like I needed to just have some time alone to recharge. He understood, but still tried two more times to make me agree to a sunset tour. I had to tell him no, two more times. He saw me getting annoyed, and he apologized. I did like Adham a lot, so I told him that tomorrow, we could do the east bank in the morning and then the sunset in the desert at night. He smiled and agreed. He brought me back to the hotel. I ate there, chilled a bit under the sun, tried to swim in the pool but the water was freezing, and then decided to go for a walk in the small village. My host told me it was safe, to just be careful for stray dogs. I dressed up more modestly (I was currently in a swimsuit lol) and I started my walk. I walked about an hour before finally stopping into a small local restaurant. It felt like this was in the backyard of someone’s house. I ordered a coke and a shisha, and I passed the rest of the afternoon just chilling and filming to create a promotional video for them. I really enjoyed the place. The boy serving me was so happy to see my video that he wanted to gift me some potery. I had to say no (because this was going to break in my backpack -me coming back only in May). I thank him for his hospitality and left. As I was going out of the restaurant, two local girls wearing hijabs saluted me. They were smiling and looked so happy. We exchanged our names, I told them I was from Canada. They wanted to take a picture with me. I agreed, and they wanted me to follow them into their backyard, now. This was just in front of the restaurant, so I decided to go. There, I met their father (A very smily man that was working on building a small room for his chickens) and their mom (that kept laughing because her girls were trying to make her come into our selfie). I had a full on photoshoot with everyone, while I was discussing with the dad (He spoke english -he also had a boat and was giving tour to tourists). I left about thirty minutes later, thanking them for the chat and for showing me their home. I walked back to the hotel, had dinner, watching the stars, and thinking to myself that this day had been the best in Egypt, so far. I went to bed early, as I had to be ready in the morning for my next tour.

At 8AM, I hopped back in the van with Adham. He started driving us to the east bank, with a smile on his face. I am not sure why, but we started to talk about religion. I know this is a touchy subject, but Adham wanted to talk about it and hear my opinion. We agreed that we could discuss it, only to the condition that the person would listen fully to the other. He was going to start, explaining me why he believes in God and in life after death. Then, I was going to talk and explain to him why I didn’t believe in any Gods and why I thought there was no after life either. Then, we could ask eachother questions. He started by telling me that he was like me, before. He didn’t believe in any of that. Then, his dad died and he started a depression. He was aimed to an Iman (a priest, but for muslims) that basically told him that his dad’s soul wasn’t gone and that he would see him back in the after life. Adham then explained to me that everyone had two angels with them -one counting the points for when you do good, one counting the points for when you do bad. He told me that if you did bad, you could apologize three times and this was going to erase the “bad points”. I told him that I felt like it was cheating. He laughed. He explained to me that there must be someone driving that big ship and that all the messagers (Jesus, Moises, etc.) were the proof that God existed. Okay. I hear you. Now, it was my turn to speak. I explained that I needed proof to believe that something existed. That is why I believe in science, and in the big bang. This was something you could tangibly see. I explained that, there was nothing that ever proved that there was a life after death. And that writings were not a proof that something ever existed. Maybe the people that wrote were crazy. Maybe they invented it. Maybe there is some truth but it is embelished. Regardless, someone telling a story is not proving anything. He heard me. Now, it was time to ask questions. I was actually enjoying the way we were exchanging. It could have been a total mess, an agressive conversation where we would both try to force our idea onto the other -but instead, it was a discussion led by curiosity. We both knew we weren’t going to change eachother’s mind. We were just curious as of why the other person was thinking the way they were. Adham made a parallel with knowing your dad is your dad, without having proof. I told him that we had proof, we could do a DNA test to prove it. The test would than state if your dad was your dad, or wasn’t. You couldn’t do that with their God. There was absolutely no signs, excepts scripts, to show the God ever existed. He asked me: “Then, how do you know you have a soul. You can see your heart, you can see your brain, but you can’t see your soul. It is the same thing with God.” Yeah, ok. I hear you, science wasn’t able to show us where is our soul yet. “I was like you before. I didn’t believe. But maybe with time you will grow and believe too.” Okay, now he is pulling the “I’m older than you therfore I know better” card. It makes me laugh internally. He thinks that I am dumb for not believing in something that has no tangible evidence of- while two minutes ago he didn’t knew about DNA, he thought Canada was next to Belgium and that the Atlantic Ocean was as small as the Nile. I was about to argument about how religion (alongside lack of knowledge) was invented to control people, and that seeing Egypt it is clearly something they need to maintain in order to not have a civil war -but I got stopped by a thought from the past. I remembered, when I was a kid, my parents and I visited New York and ended up in a gospel church, one morning. We were listening to the people singing and dancing, and I asked the woman next to me why she was believing in God. I was confused as of why someone would preach something they had absolutely no proof existed. She answered me: I need to believe that there is something more. It shut me up, completely. This answer was now resonating in me. I was back in the Van, with Adham, trying to figure out why he had such faith into something he had no proof existed. But the answer was there. He was at his lowest, when he met with the Iman. He had just lost his dad and he was at the peak of a depression. He needed to believe that his dad wasn’t dead for nothing. He needed to believe he would see him again. Religion saved him. Sometimes, people need to believe that there is something bigger, to go through their days. And it’s okay. If believing made him happy, I had no right to make him doubt with my very cold and sad views of the world. Imagine someone telling you that you believe in something because you have been brainwashed while you were in a vulnerable state of mind, that your whole country is based on a religion which is made to control you, that your hopes of seeing the people you loved that passed away are never gonna be met cause there’s nothing after death. I don’t see how this would have played out correctly. Instead of launching a debate with my arguments, I made a joke and we continued the discussion with a light heart. He dropped me at the Karnak temples, and before I left he asked me if I was angry. “Of course not. I liked our conversation! We can disagree but still be respectful and nice to eachothers. Are you mad?”. “No, I am not. I have learned that this is not my problem if someone does not belive in what I believe. I liked our conversation too. You are a good person.” I left the car, feeling like this whole conversation was a very interesting one. We both ended up thinking the other was wrong, but still. The way it was handle and that we kept it light and fun, gave me faith that it was possible to discuss sensitive topic without wanting to slap the other. I once again had to avoid all the sellers, as they had cleverly put a market right in front of the ticket counter. I was almost to the entrance when I saw a man spotting me from afar. No, mate, I am not even making eye contact with you. I hear him yelling, and in the end he grabs my arm. “Don’t touch me”. He apologizes. “The ticket counter is outside. You cannot enter without a ticket”. I look up. Fuck, the ticket counter IS outside. “I’m sorry man, I thought you were another guy trying to sell me stuff”. He laughed. “There is a lot of that, I’m sorry.” I told him it’s not his fault. I go to the ticket counter and I buy one. I go back towards the entrance, and the man comes to me, showing me the card around his neck. I thought he was about to show me he was working for the site, but he starts to tell me he works for a tour company and to follow him that he will make me a good price. “Oh fuck off”. He WAS someone who was trying to sell me something in the end. I just continue on my way, feeling fucking done with every encounter I have here. There’s a toilet on the left, I need to pee so I enter. It is absolutely abominable. There is no toilet paper, everything is dirty and the door doesn’t even close properly. I pee. I am done. I went out and a guy yells at me that I need to pay. Fuck no I am not paying for that shithole. There’s no paper and it wasn’t cleaned in ages. Plus, I just paid 30$ to enter the fucking site. IT’S ON THE SITE. I just can’t. I continued walking, playing deaf. I heard him scream in the background. Fuck this, y’all. I walked for a while, around and in the temples. It’s massive and impressive, but I am in such a bad mood that I decide to just sit in a coffee shop, in the middle of the place. I passed about an hour, just looking in the distance. I fucking hate Egypt. The word is strong, but that’s how I feel. I feel the same exact way as in my previous toxic relationship. I really wished it worked, but in the end I am walking on eggs and I feel like I can’t be myself. I feel pressure and that constant pit in my stomach. I just want to leave and to never come back. I force myself to breathe in. To relax. There is a few days left here, and I don’t want to live them with that mindset. I need to stay open-minded. After more than an hour and a half, I walked back to the van. I asked Adham if we could stop in a coffee shop for a bit, I needed to chill. He agreed and we stop for tea. We talked about what was next for him, his dreams. He wants to create a website with all the tours he can give and buy his own car, so he can be his own boss. I told him that when the website is ready, I can help him translate and share it with my network. He was happy. He walked me to the closest entrance of the Luxor temple. A man tried to make me go in his horse carriage and Adham yelled at him in arabic. He told me to go via the entrance. I tried but the police told me no, I have to go through the other one, further away. Adham got annoyed. He told me that the police said that only because they want to bring buisiness to the man with the carriage. I swear to god, if a person-pleaser comes to Egypt, he/she will end up poor. The sollicitation is just out of this fucking world. Adham walked with me to the other entrance, so I don’t get bother by more people. I walk quickly around the temple, and after about thirty minutes I go back to the van. Adham asked me if I want to go lunch, before we go back to the hotel. I agreed, but at the condition that he bring me in a local restaurant he would go by himself. He smiled. He brought me to a very tiny place, and we had several soups, meat and rice and some salads. Everything was delicious and I loved it. The owner was also very happy to see that I loved everything. After lunch, we hopped back in the van and Adham drove me back to the hotel. I asked if it is still good for the sunset tour in the desert. He smiled. “I was waiting for you to ask”. He didn’t want to bother me. I appreciated. I said that, yes, I am down for the sunset tour. He stopped at two local places to pick up tea and some cookies. We are almost half-way to the hotel when I noticed he started to be flirty. Sigh. WHY?! Can a fucking tourist just be nice to her guide without having him thinking theres a chance for some puss. Jesus fucking lord. “How much will it be for the sunset tour?” I want to emphasis the fact that I am paying for this. It’s a tour. Not a date. “Don’t worry about the money”. Nope. Nope. “No. Adham, I want to pay you correctly. I am your friend, but this is nothing more. It is not a date. I am not interested in more and I will not go to the sunset with you if it’s not in a professional context. I am sorry.” “Oh. Sorry. Yes, of course. There is no problem.” He tells me the price. He apologizes for having making this weird. I said it was ok, but I felt like cancelling the whole thing. But he just bought all the stuff, and I know he doesn’t have money to spare. My hotel also knows I am going with him, so I am not in danger. I decided to trust him. He dropped me at my hotel. I went straight to bed, napped for three hours, and then wokeup 10 minutes before we were meeting again. A part of me still didn’t want to go. But, I forced myself. A few minutes later, I was in the van with Adham driving us to the desert. The music blasting, the windows wide open. “Are you okay?” He asked me. “Yeah, I am.” I was actually a bit nervous, because he randomly started to say prayer out loud, in-between bitting his nails and putting calm music and telling me “it helped him think better thoughts”. “Are you okay?” I asked. “Yes! I am feeling good with you”. Fuck. This better be a friendship feeling because I am gonna make a scene if you try to pull another shit on me. We parked the car behind one of his friend’s house, in the desert. Then, we walked for about 45minutes. He asked me why I had reacted like I did earlier. I told him that I was not in the mood to be sexually or romantically involved with anyone. I was doing this trip for me, and I needed to listen to myself. I asked him why he had been flirty. He told me that he was looking for a second wife. I laughed. “First: that’s gonna be a no from me, doug. Second: you need to explain me that shit about having multiple wives”. He laughed. “I was in love with a woman”. He started explaining that in their religion, the oldest sibbling had to marry first. Because his brother was taking too much time, his best friend ended up backstabbing him and he married the girl Adham loved. He was heart broken. Years later, he ended up meeting a friend of his sister. In their religion, you aren’t able to date somone before marriage. You can only meet the person with a chaperon there too. So he met that girl, once, over a cup of tea. Through this thourough evaluation (?) he then agreed to marry her. But obviously, after a few years he realized he wasn’t happy. She wasn’t good for him. He divorced her. But now, his and her whole family are angry at him and they stopped speaking to him. He re-married the same woman, to buy peace with the two families. He had children with her. He still feels miserable now. He explained to me that this is one reason that their religion allows man to have multiple woman. I said it’s a bit of a double standard tho, because woman aren’t allowed to have multiple husbands -He said it’s because if the woman sleep with her two husbands on the same night, how do you know who is the baby’s dad. Here we go again with them not knowing DNA exists.. I told him this was a very sad story, and that was also why I wasn’t religious. None of these rules were made to make him happy. They were all made to control him. He tried to refute this, at first, but I was like comon man. Hear yourself. You cannot marry someone you love, when you want it. You cannot divorce without loosing your whole family, even if you feel miserable. You are force to marry people you don’t love. That’s fucking insane. He smiles, but his simle is darker now. I tried to changed subject, but now he asked me if I am married. “No. I was never. I had several boyfriends, but none of them was husband material. I do not want to marry someone, unless we enhance eachother’s life. Otherwise, i see no point. I am happy alone. I have friends and my family, to help. I have tinder and toys, for sex. I have unconditional love from my pets. I do not need to be trapped in a relationship that isn’t bringing me joy.” We start discussing the difference between our countries, and their support system. In a country like Egypt, you have no choice but to marry and make a family -that IS your support system. If you don’t do that, you end up alone and the government is not gonna help you. You are just going to die, sick and miserable. In Canada, we have multiple support system. You can still die alone and miserable -but you can also get the help from other people than just your family. I explain that in our country, it doesn’t matter if you end up never getting married, or never having children. It doesn’t matter if you end up single. Single doesn’t necesseraly mean alone. And even if, sometimes alone is better than unhappy with the wrong people. I looked up -we missed the sunset. We are now sitting on a carpet, on a sand dune, drinking fresh tea Adham’s friend had brought to us. The conversation was very interesting, and once again was done with real curiosity and genuine interest to know how and why it works differently in these two countries. Two worlds clashing, within the same planet. “I need to pee”. Adham tells me his friend can bring me to his home, for the toilet. He will wait for me here. I brought back all the tea stuff with me, and then Adham’s friend walked me to his house. It was made of some sort of clay. The toilet is very rustic -a hole in the ground with a water bucket in front (to flush). I peed. When i went out, the man wanted to introduce me to his whole family. I said hi to his daughter, his wife, the second wife (?), the baby and the boy. I was about to leave when he showed me a bread he just made. I said it looked yummy. He broke a piece and gave it to me. I ate it. It was very yummy indeed. I thank him. I gave him money. He was happy. He wanted to show me how he made the bread, now. He show me the different steps, with gesture. And then, showed me the clay oven. That’s pretty fucking amazing, if you ask me. I told him it’s awesome. I thanked him. He wants me to have more bread. I said no, thank you. But he insisted. I took it, thanking him again. I went out the house and Adham is walking towards us. “I’m sorry, I met the whole family”. He laughed. I shared the piece of bread with him. We said goodbye to his friend and went back in the van. Adham drove me back home. We said goodbye and thanked eachother again for the great conversations. I go in the shower and then fall asleep immediately -I need to wakeup at 5AM the next day to go catch a flight.

The next morning, I wakeup exhausted. The night was very nice, but I still feel some kind of bad feels inside. I decide to cancel my trip to Alexandria and just use my last two days to chill at my hotel in Cairo. I do not feel like driving 6 hours to get harrassed in another city. I board the flight, and I hear neighbour explaining to the guy next to me how he hated Egypt. He said it looked like a country after a war. That he travelled to 120 countries and this is the worst. He said he saw two dead horses next to the pyramids, when he went for his camel ride. I feel less bad to hear another tourist feeling the same as I do. I do not regret cancelling Alexandria. I need to rest and make sure my mindset change before switching countries. I do not regret coming to Egypt, but I also know I will never come back.

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