This text was voluntarily translated by Ilan C. Kochen - Thanks!

From the minute I stepped into the city until the glorious moment that I got on the plane heading towards Ethiopia, I felt that myself experiencing some kind of scam. After nine hours by bus and cautious researches in my travel guide and with my traveling companions about how much should cost a taxi ride from the station to downtown, I got off the bus to hear an amount six times greater.

Regarding the attempts to exploit tourists, I must confess that I´m used to this from my experience in India. I think what affected me the most in Egypt was the basement of these lies. It is not enough to charge abusive prices. The strategy is to try to convince tourists that everything will go wrong and the best option is to rely on the new “friend”. “The bus? It´s no longer coming this way”; “Your hotel is closed”; “It´s too far, the bus is not coming and you better take my cab”.

I checked one information on the Internet, and then checked again in the guide, talk to backpackers and as I went out to the streets, everybody was trying to convince me of the apocalypse. Usually the hostel staff is very helpful and gives tips on how to avoid cheating. But not here. My worst enemy was the reception, which held me for hours trying to convince me to hire several services before checking the streets of the city. But I´m stubborn.

I left in the morning to withdraw some money and thanks to the inefficiency of my bank, wasn´t able to do it. The door was open for an ordinary passerby to approach and offer me the purest of friendships. After him, four others offered me exactly the same friendship, even with the same personal information and proposals. I came to believe that all people live in Giza (that´s where the pyramids are) and love to have dinner in the company of tourists like me. I believe I would have been one of the main dishes.

I ended up going to the pyramids by bus, following the unpretentious advice of a water seller, who could not take advantage of my question (because I had already bought water from him). Forty minutes later the driver shows me one of the pyramids that could be seen from the street. My Arabic is as fluent as his sign language, but it was clear that there was only one way to follow. Twenty minutes later, I´m facing the entrance complex of the pyramids. And was particularly perplexed.

I had heard that the pyramids were located right in the middle of the city, but had no idea how this influenced the climate, the topography and impacted the landscape. From one minute to another I found myself in the middle of the desert, with a bottle of water in my hand, shirt tied around my head and sunglasses. Among the crowd of camels, horses and all kinds of offers, I decided to explore the monuments on foot, saving my money and my patience. After walking for 20 minutes under the blistering sun I made an interesting geometrical discovery: pyramids do not produce shadows at any time of the day.

The pyramids are really impressive, but I confess that what interested me the most was the contrast between city and desert. Some steps climbed up in the second largest pyramid exposed this contrast: in the foreground a secular pyramid, an altar of celebration of the continuity of life, and behind, the urban expression of how this life continued.

I do not know exactly the ideological line and the real motivations that led them to build such monuments, but I feel that the ongoing discomfort caused to the tourists would not please them. There are endless offers of products and services in this area. I watched Japanese, Italians and Russians fighting with vendors and cops to get rid of unwanted services. The white cops provide a significant disservice: they offer the so-called best view of the pyramid, with photographs included, in exchange for some Egyptian "Bounds" (Arabic pronunciation, replacing the "p" with "b").

I then decided to return. A bus took me to the train, which led me to Tahrir Square. From there, I tried to enter the Egyptian museum, but due to Ramadan, the opening hour was changed and I was excluded from the experience. No problem, my interest in this single day was more focused in the square than on tourism itself. After all, Egypt is experiencing an interesting transition moment and I was there in the middle of the mess.

The presence of the police and the army is just for precaution. Another instance of Mubarak's trial is scheduled for the day and the nerves of the country rise. Trucks bring dozens of armed cops dressed in black, while camouflaged soldiers hold machine guns from the top of their tanks. No mess around, and after five o'clock a lull. I was told that people went home to watch the trial broadcasted live on national television.

I also fasted on that day, along with millions of Muslims for Ramadan. Fasting begins around three in the morning and ends with the sunset. I felt the differentiated taste of a Shwarma, but even with hunger the dish did not surprise me. It was interesting to walk and see different public events of breaking fast over the adjacent streets. Within minutes, the whole city turns into a huge restaurant, with everyone breaking their fast at the same time.

After struggling against offers to pay three times more in a taxi, I went to the bus station and waited. And I waited a little longer. After one hour and my bus never showing up, I decided to give up and get a cab. In a few minutes I was at the airport, ready to catch the flight to Ethiopia. I was surprised by the diversity of people on the plane on a flight in the middle of the week, at dawn, from Cairo to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital.

Obs: I decided to decrease my stay in Egypt because of the relevance of this country regarding my proposal. In other words, I was counting the days to get to Addis Ababa.