First, the dream. You are awoken at dawn in your Bedouin tent by a sonorous call to prayer. After a breakfast of strong Egyptian coffee, sticky dates and flatbread, you mount your trusty camel and follow your guide on a four-hour trek along the lush banks of the Nile into the heart of the desert. As you summit a massive sand dune, you catch the first glimpse of the Great Pyramid, flanked by two smaller pyramids and the infamous stone-faced sphinx.
Now, the reality. You are awoken in your Cairo Holiday Inn by the incessant honking of a billion taxi drivers. After a breakfast of watery instant coffee and instant scrambled eggs, you board an incessantly honking taxi for a traffic-clogged 35-minute ride across town to the Great Pyramid of Giza, flanked by two smaller pyramids, the sphinx and a combo Pizza Hut/KFC directly across the street.
Yes, the pyramids at Giza are easily the most impressive man-made structures you will ever see. Standing next to the colossal blocks of stone is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. Unfortunately, the experience is nearly made unbearable by the constant harassment of droves of men hawking camel rides. Our advice, if you can swing it: bring your own camel.