|An interesting scenario: just before sunrise near the Great Pyramids we're surrounded by grasping street vendors. In Cairo's early morning haze, we were the only tourists around because the Pyramids wouldn't open for two more hours. Left to ourselves, we could have enjoyed a peaceful Pyramid sunrise, but we didn't plan on the touts that were coming from all directions, attracted by two tourists standing in the road like a pair of pigeons. Soon we were hemmed in by horses, camels, and their owners who offered us a mounted tour. Things really heated up when we showed interest. Arguments broke out among the touts about who spotted us first, and we added to the mayhem by asking for prices and bargaining one tout against another. Deals made, broken, remade - remember to specify the currency type as well as the amount. After renegogiating for a final time, we were ready to make a 2 1/2 hour ride on horseback to the pyramids at Saqqara. These pyramids are much older than the Great Pyramids at Giza. We enjoyed cantering through the desert dunes and by the end of our journey we covered approximately 14 km. Since horses weren't allowed here, our guide dropped us off and galloped away before the local guards could demand some money. Apparently we were at the "back door" of this site, a long way from the ticket office. The guards started to pester us for money but we ignored them or demanded a receipt for payment which was a concept that escaped them. Alone in the desert we had no choice but to move forward. The guards tried to stop us but we saw a tourist bus in the distance and headed towards it at a brisk pace, hounded all the way by several guards on camelback. We've never been so happy to see a large tourist group. We rushed into their midst and the guards left us alone.