“You’re a Bad Tourist.” Words From Luxor Tour Guide

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And so it finally came to be. TPOL had enough of the shenanigans of the Egyptian tour guides and let his voice be heard.

But before I get into that, let’s rewind to how I came to this point. On the way to the hotel my taxi driver abruptly stopped to speak to a dude on a motorbike. Said dude came to the window of the taxi and inquired as to where I was from. I said Iraq by way of America and he replied that he was from Egypt, a common response with everyone I have spoken to here.

Instantly, he broke into his sales pitch of taking me to the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, and the West Bank. He said, “You can come as you wish, you can not come, either way you are welcome. We will not kill you.”

Reassured by his awkward kindness, I continued onto the hotel. At a tour of the Luxor Temple I met a woman who said she was a tour guide and could show me the Valley of the Kings for 100 EGP including transport and entry. The next day we went on the tour and her tune quickly changed. The 100 EGP would only be for her travel guide services and I would have to pay an additional 100 EGP ($12) to enter the Valley. While everyone believed that I was Egyptian and could have probably faked my way in for the local price of 10 EGP, Ms TPOL’s ‘European’ features killed that hustle.

Angry that I was paying double for what I bargained for, I voiced my displeasure to her. She tried excuse after excuse to rationalize her robbery to no avail. Sensing my frustration, she stated that in fact I was the problem. She said, “You are a bad tourist.”

Perhaps I should have been insulted but I took it as a compliment. If being a bad tourist means questioning why what we had bargained for was not honored then I accept the title of bad tourist. If being a bad tourist means refusing to pay more simply because Ms TPOL doesn’t like Egyptian but I do, then I’m a bad tourist. If being a bad tourist means not submitting to the injustice of being overcharged regardless if that is one dollar or one hundred, then damn it I’m a bad tourist.

To that end, I advise all TPOL readers to become the worst tourists of all time and not fall victim to price discrimination regardless of the excuse you are given.

Oh and if you do visit the Valley of the Kings don’t bother with a guide as they are prohibited from entering the tombs with you. All they can do is give you a wikipedia presentation and send you on your way. That’s hardly worth $2 let alone $12.

View of the West Bank, a place thought to be bad luck by ancient Egyptians. Now I know why.
View of the West Bank, a place thought to be bad luck by ancient Egyptians. Now I know why.

8 COMMENTS

  1. ahah sounds like my pyramid adventure. Paid however much it was for a camel ride and pyramid/sphinx tour. Guy forgot to mention that we were going to ride our camels through a sneaky broken part of the pyramid border fence. “I want a picture in front of the sphinx!” I said. “Well you’ll have to go pay to get into the real entrance because that fence doesn’t have a hole in it!”. And then they want the baksheesh! Oh man I wanna go back, i’m jealous.

    • That’s not even proper hustling. That’s cheating. They even use the word ‘hustler’ when they want to say they aren’t hustlers!

      • At one point I told the guy harassing me to pay for a donkey ride (should’ve done it) that I didn’t speak english and was from germany. Lo and behold he spoke fluent german. Hustle game very strong.

  2. I like getting hosed by the chiselers as little as the next guy. This stuff really turns me off, and the harder the sell, the more pissed off I get. I guess it varies from country to country, but in the Luxor area, how much of this is shortsightedness/desperation, and how much is cultural? I really want to visit the area, and given the safety reassurances of the guy on the motorbike, I feel safe already. But since my tolerance for shills is limited, I don’t want to just hide out in a hotel to avoid them. Cancun’s level is about my max. I’ve heard of the tactic of hiring one hustler to keep the others at bay. Any thoughts on this cunning plan?

    • Lol that plan is still a con. They are all in on it. I ended up paranoid after the visit believing that the guide probably coordinates with the person who comes up charging a big price so when the other person shows up with a lower price, my guide will look like she’s doing something to my benefit. It’s the largest, best coordinated game of good cop bad cop. Who knows where the corruption ends. It’s like True Detective, season 2: none of it makes sense and everyone is out to get you.

      I think the basic hustle of a tourist town has been warped into this shitty con as a result of the economy imploding. I see no hope for restoring it to the good old days when you weren’t robbed too badly. If the economy improves they’ll just inflate the same tactics now for more profit. Glad it’s over!

  3. I avoid tour groups anywhere I go, but in Egypt, I recommend it.
    After I was exhausted from the permanent hassle sightseeing on my own, I joined a large bus tour with a foreign guide for the Valley of Kings – and it was paradise! They didn’t stop at any shops, no hassle and they kept all the other hustlers at bay, all day.
    I don’t remember the price of the tour, but being able to see everything in peace and quiet and enjoy the amazing sights was priceless indeed!

    • Sounds much better than mine. I was so annoyed at the lousy guide that I couldn’t enjoy where I was or appreciate the significance of what I was seeing.

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