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  • Day15

    Beware: Of Horse Carriages & Knifefights

    January 23, 2019 in Egypt ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    Okay, drama time. Note, all's well that ended as well as it could have, but this is one evening no leader would ever want.

    Let's start with the lady who went on the horse carriage ride. It was supposed to be an hour. We left her just before 4pm and no one had seen her. Strange and worrying as she'd inquired about being dropped off at the hotel after. I had a picture of her and the driver, but it's only a false comfort. What to do...

    Then back in our room, I get a message on Facebook from another girl on our tour. She asked if we were at the hotel, which we were. She said, good. Don't go out, there's something happening in our lobby. I didn't know what was going on and whether she meant the building lobby or the hotel lobby. I checked the hotel lobby but all was calm, so my roommate and I sat there waiting for the lady who'd gone with the carriage.

    Moments later, our tour leader hurried past us. Strange we thought, what was going on? Minutes later (and some recapping) we found out what was happening. Some locals were gathered in the lobby of the building (I did say it looked sketchy looking), arguments ensued a knife was pulled. Boy, our safety travel bubble was popped. I can't begin to imagine the scene that unfolded. But it was distressing enough for the rest of the girls to call the tour leader and ask if he could escort them up. Needless to say, they didn't go out again that night.

    Time goes by, our carriage friend still had not turned up. We made the choice to knock on the tour leader's tour to voice our concern, but he has no way to contact her. We'd find out later she didn't bring her phone either. But there was little we could do but wait. When we saw her later, about 730, you cannot imagine our relief. Apparently the carriage driver had gotten "lost" and took her around the city, even trying to get her into shops, his place, and a restaurant for dinner! On top of that, she now owed him $50 US instead of the $5 US, wow, scammer! So friends, please do not get into a carriage and if your companion is considering it, discourage them like we should have done. If you want a carriage ride, it sounds like Aswan or Luxor is the place.

    In the end, our tour leader brought down 300 Egyptian pounds to the driver who was waiting downstairs because the lady didn't have that much cash with her. A good thing, so he has to take her back to the hotel if he were to get paid. 300 Egyptian pounds is about $18 US. The guy refused at first because of the difference, citing a 6hr ride (which made no logical sense) and that he had bought her dinner and beers (a lie, she paid for dinner and he the beers). Luckily we had our fearless tour leader, who talked him down starting with the discrepancy in time. We left her before 4, it wasn't even 8pm, how could it be 6 hours?
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