On our fifth trip to the Giza pyramids in three years, my mother and I were forced to take our American family friends, Angie and Jessica, there for a tour. We had tried to explain to them that the experience really wouldn't be as special as they thought, and that it would be enough to see the pyramids from afar and take a few pictures, but they insisted on going anyway. As my mother and I stood impatiently, sighing in boredom and exhaustion, we couldn't help but notice that there were more unqualified "tour guides" walking around the pyramids than there were tourists. Then, we noticed one of the so-called tour guides walking up to Angie and Jessica, impulsively introducing himself as "Tamer, the best tour guide of all of Cairo", and awkwardly pulling them by the arm as he dragged them towards his collection of "authentic pharaohnic stones". We quickly hurried after them, and stopped the man at once, telling him in Arabic to get his hands off of them, and that they were uninterested in buying any of his fake "merchandise". He immediately let them go and quickly answered back in Arabic "I'm sorry, Ma'am! I had no idea they were with you Egyptians. I thought they were here on their own, and you know how simple farmers like us make a living off these uninformed, wide-eyed tourists!" My mother and I, shocked at his response, and Angie and Jessica, shocked at how angry we got at him for what they thought was just him selling them authentic souvenirs, all stood in silence. Tamer just smiled and giggled as he walked away, telling us to enjoy the rest of our day and that he had to go find more "customers". This brought my attention to the fact that one of the most destructive side effects of the Egyptian revolution was the decline in both the quantity of tourists and the quality of tourism in Egypt.
Most of us Egyptians have watched the black comedy film "Assal Eswed" in which Ahmed Helmy, a popular actor, plays the role of a man with a double Egyptian-American...
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