A Day in Egypt
By Kellen L.
I’d never been out of the country before, yet here I was in the bustling city of Cairo – having no idea where to go. The street I was on wasn’t very spacious as streets go and was bustling with people going on with their lives. I weaved my way in and out of the crowd, trying to locate my hotel amidst all the buildings in the scorching sun’s presence. Finally, I found it, nestled in between two other buildings. I checked into the hotel and left my luggage in my room before heading back out onto the street.
Even though my hotel was having someone guide a group of tourists through Cairo, I decided to head out on my own to enrich my vacation further. Besides, the group wasn’t going to leave for another hour or so and I was eager to go and get a bite to eat. I walked around casually, sticking out amongst everyone else in my shorts and t-shirt.
I soon saw an inviting café and quickly strolled into its refreshing atmosphere. I ordered something to eat and sat down at a nearby table to enjoy it. Before I had a chance to do so, however, a wealthy looking Egyptian casually made his way through the café’s open doorway and made a beeline for me.
“Hey, are you a tourist, by any chance?” he asked in a strong Egyptian accent.
“Er…yeah, I’m a tourist,” I responded, wondering why he would ask me such a question.
“Well, let me ask you this,” the man began, “will you be taking a tour of the city and its extensive history?”
“Of course I’m go-“
“Well, do not do so.” The Egyptian replied firmly, cutting me off. “Let me guide you and you’ll see much more and for a much lower price.”
I quickly pondered the offer I’d been given. “All right, sounds good.” Quickly, I devoured my meal and hurried out after the Egyptian.
“So where would you like to go...” my new-found guide asked.
”It’s George,” I explained, “I’d like to see the Great Pyramids, I’ve head they’re absolutely grand.”
“Oh ho, so you are dying to see such structures then?” he questioned, “Fine then, I know a closer and just as grand site.”
I was left speechless and taken aback by my guide’s sudden rashness which was a far cry from his earlier kindness.
“Follow me!” the tall Egyptian commanded, rushing into the sea of people.
“Hey wait for me!” I exclaimed, dashing in after him.I tried desperately to look for the enigmatic, bearded man but could not find him amongst the many people – I was too unfamiliar with the twists and turns of the streets to know where I was going. I looked around for any of the familiar street names or buildings as I tried to trek back to my hotel, but my search yielded no results. I was lost.
Out of desperation I tried to ask some of the people on the street if they knew how to get to my hotel, but none of them seemed to understand me. I sat down on the edge of the sidewalk with my head hanging low and wished I’d never ventured out of my house.
Looking up, I noticed a group of tourist-like people following a tall, bearded Egyptian through the street. It occurred to me that it may very well be the group from the hotel I was staying at. Thankfully, some of the others in group recognized me from the hotel and I joined their group.
I noticed that all of the people in the group were all wealthy looking and our guide looked very familiar to me. I couldn’t quite remember who the guide reminded me of and I soon dismissed the thought, thinking it was just a coincidence. We followed our guide through the afternoon rush, which became smaller and smaller as we drew closer to the city limits. I could tell from the other’s expressions that they could feel the sun’s heat which was even stronger out in the open. After what seemed to be hours, we finally arrived at a large ruin filled with all sorts of stone remnants.
“You may look around,” our guide said, “just be careful you do not get lost, as this is a very large ruins site.” He then pointed out the large layout of the temple whichappeared to be pretty shadowy, even though it was mid-afternoon.
“That’s funny,” I thought, “aren’t guides supposed to keep their group together?”
The tourists dispersed rapidly, eager to view the eroded walls and columns. I sprinted up to one the impressive pillars and looked up at it in awe. I could just make out a set of carvings made into it and began to view them.
The carvings seemed to depict a tomb which belonged to a once mighty pharaoh and was filled with treasures and other items he would need for the afterlife. The following carving revealed two people breaking into the tomb. The next carving depicted the two people robbing the tomb of most of its possessions and smashing its occupant. Intrigued, I stopped looking at the carvings and began to search for the other tourists, to see what they were looking at.
I searched the ruins but, strangely, I couldn’t find a trace of anyone anywhere. Alarmed, I began to panic.
“Anyone still here?!” I shouted. Suddenly, I saw the tourist guide walk out from
behind an obliterated wall and walk towards me.
“Do not be afraid, I am still here,” he said, stroking his beard.
“Where is everyone else?!” I demanded.
“Do not worry about them,” he began, “you should be worried about yourself.”
Suddenly I realized that this was the same man from the café. Then it occurred to me as to how he got his wealth.