When I Met Abdoula

I had walked only 5o feet from my guest house.
He encouraged me to step inside his shop, which primarily sold papyrus paper Egyptian prints, but the store also had some nice perfumed oils. We talked a bit and I was soon offered and accepted my second cup of tea of the morning. I had walked less than a block.

Abdoula, the father of five and 60, has these two large growths on his face and he reminded me of Aaron Neville. He was persistent about me buying some lotus oil or a papyrus print or hiring him as a guide. “Tomorrow, maybe, later. We will see. I will come back.  Let me think about it”.

He was as persistent as I was evasive. I call it the traveler’s dance.

Back and forth, over and over, round and round.

Abdoula was not the owner of the shop, but the cousin of the owner. The owner was Gouda, and when I met Gouda several hours later after walking around, I was more than impressed when – after telling him I was from Oregon – he mentioned the Grateful Dead and said that he was good friends with the late Ken Kesey. If you do not know about Ken, take a few minutes and read a little about him on wiki.

Oh, that guy. I guess I have heard of him.  That was a great movie……..

Gouda gave me black market rates – a 10% premium in my favor – on the exchange of $100 USD to Egyptian pounds – 1 to 9.5 – and then later introduced me to Hassan, who took me 6 blocks through the narrow backstreets and alleys of Giza – by car – dodging potholes, donkey carts and storefronts – to purchase several beers.

I was shown the guest house rooms that Gouda owns above the papyrus shop and they are 3 times more spacious, $10.00 cheaper and have softer mattresses. The rooftop view of the sphinx and the pyramids is unbelievable. I think I will stay here in Giza for a few additional days and enjoy the hospitality of Gouda’s guest house after my four nights are complete at Pyramids View Bed and Breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, it was a days worth of food. Yogurt, 2 hard boiled eggs, filafals, bread, butter and jam, coffee, cheese, and more. I ate only half of what was presented.

After the beer run with Hassan, I sat in the lobby of the papyrus shop and sucked down a cold one and showed Hassan pictures of salmon and redwoods. When Abdoula returned from the mosque and mid day prayers, we again started the traveler’s dance. Tomorrow – 8 AM, camel ride, tour the pyramids, go inside the great pyramid, etc. etc. “Maybe, we will see, let me think about it”. As a last resort he invited me to have dinner at his home.

Now that was an offer I could not refuse.

So tonight, after watching the pyramid laser show from the rooftop of Gouda’s guest house, I will meet Abdoula at 8 PM and go to his home for dinner.

And, of course, I will go for the camel ride tour of the pyramids with him at 8 AM tomorrow.


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