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Marco and I were sitting in a little air conditioned minibus, Egypt’s preferred method of transportation. Our guide from Egypt Fun Tours, Hani, had just picked us up from the airport and we were on our way from the airport to the pyramids, stop # 1 on our Cairo Layover Tour.  We were exhausted! We had just flown from the US to Germany, spent a day hiking in Germany’s mountains, and gotten up extremely early to catch a flight from Munich to Cairo. On top of that, it was h-o-t! We stepped off the plane in Cairo, were hit by the dry Egyptian heat that is so typical for August. It was Ramadan and Hani told us that the pyramids area had closed early, so that the Egyptian workers could get home on time for Iftar, the evening meal that breaks the daily fast. But, not to worry, we would still get to see the pyramids: at the Kentucky Fried Chicken with the best view in Cairo, smack in front of the pyramids and the Sphinx – see pic below for the view that Hani had in store for us.

After getting comfortable in the minibus and handing each of us a water, Hani started telling us about the history of Egypt, Cairo, and the pyramids. His English was really good and we had no trouble following – until he started telling us about the research that was going on right now in the Great Pyramid. “Ribbits” were being sent in there to scope out the small channels humans didn’t fit through. Marco and I looked at each other. Ribbits? We asked Hani a few times to clarify what ribbits were. We honestly didn’t get it… until one of us exclaimed “Hani, are you talking about rabbits?” and he answered “yes, yes, the ribbits”. No way!! Trained rabbits? Those white fluffy, dumb little creatures? Were they putting little cameras on their fluffy heads and sending them in? Maybe even equipped with little GPS sensors? Luring the little bunnies in with food somehow from the other end? Could it really be that the Egyptians had trained rabbits and sent them into the Great Pyramid for research? About five minutes later, Hani said “…and they programmed the ribbits to do….”. Programmed? Marco and I looked at each other and just about fell off of our seats with laughter. Robots! Hani was talking about ROBOTS! Robots were being programmed to explore the Great Pyramid!! You know what the sad thing is? For about five minutes I actually thought that the Egyptians were using rabbits to research the inner working of the pyramids…

What brought on this funny memory today? I just read a short post on Gadling that a robot discovered secret writing in the Great Pyramid in Egypt. This transported me right back into the minibus and I actually laughed out loud at the memory of the funny misunderstanding on our way to the pyramids. My first thought when reading the headline was: They did it! Those little critters really did it! 🙂 Good job, bunnies!

PS: Hani was a great guide with really good English skills and we had so much fun on our tour with him! I blame our wild imagination & childish laughter on general exhaustion due to jet lag, soreness, and sudden exposure to the Egyptian heat 🙂 Want to read more about our Cairo tour? Check out my post from last year, 7 Steps to a Great Layover Tour in Cairo.

flying into Cairo with a view of the pyramids

view from the KFC in front of the pyramids

the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid

the Sphinx

Hani enjoying his Shisha at El-Fishawi at Khan-El-Khalili

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22 Comments

  • Carla says:

    I loved the ribbits! 😀 I laughed right along with you. By the way, is that last picture the one of the KFC over there? AWESOME!

    • Sabrina says:

      Thanks Carla 🙂 I had tears in my eyers from laughing so hard remembering everything again 🙂

      No, the KFC looks like a regular boring KFC inside – until you go to the rooftop and see the view (as in the second picture). I took the last picture at the end of the day in a small coffee shop called El Fishawy at the bazaar Khan-El-Khalili.

  • R. Sherman says:

    Great post which brings back memories of my college trip to the Middle East too many years ago. At the time, I wanted to visit Israel, Egypt & Jordan, but had to fly to Cyprus to get back into Egypt from Tel Aviv.

    Good times.

    P.S. I’m not going to show my wife (ehemalige C-Mannshaft Skifahrerin) your Berchtesgaden post, or she’ll have me quit my job and move back to the Obersalzburg.)

    Cheers.
    R. Sherman recently posted..Holiday Weekend In The Hinterland- A Culinary Report

    • Sabrina says:

      Thank you 🙂 Your wife is from that area? I had never really spent time there until that weekend. Really gorgeous! You guys should move back 🙂 I can only imagine how much fun skiing there must be!

  • Maybe they were robotic rabbits? 😉
    Leslie (Downtown Traveler) recently posted..UPDATE- Bride says YES to street art marriage proposal!

    • Sabrina says:

      Maybe they were 🙂 Seriously, I still see fluffy bunnies with cameras duck-taped to their heads… Maybe a little flashlight too 🙂

  • This is a great story 🙂 I had a similar experience but right here in good ole USA!

    Seems kind of tragic there is a KFC so close to the pyramids.
    Debbie Beardsley recently posted..Musings on European Rail Travel

    • Sabrina says:

      Thanks! You did? What happened?

      Well, the KFC kind of blends into the area. There are other shops around it too. And it’s not as flashy as they sometimes can be. I didn’t take a picture last year 🙁 Next time!

  • Laurel says:

    LOL – well I agree, rabbits would have been much cooler than robots 🙂
    Laurel recently posted..Stuttgart Lapidarium – One of Stuttgart’s Quirkiest Attractions

    • Sabrina says:

      I know, right?! Marco and I were really astonished for about 5 minutes how the Egytians managed to train freakin’ rabbits! 🙂 Amazing!

  • I want to go to Cairo SOOOOOOO bad! Kali is still holding out because he thinks Egypt is dangerous (ok, civil unrest will do that), but I’ll convince him. 😉
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Photo Essay- The Oregon Coast

    • Sabrina says:

      I love Egypt! I lived there for a year after high school (aaaaages ago :)) and have been back almost once a year ever since. Now my mom lives there for part of the year and I have even more reason to keep going. I’ll miss out this year and I am bummed out about that. I don’t think Egypt is dangerous… even now. During the height of the protests I wouldn’t have wanted to be in Cairo, but even then the Red Sea resort towns like Dahab, Sharm El Sheik, Hurghada, Safaga etc. were really quiet. I would totally feel safe going now. When you go, make sure to take lots of pics. I always enjoy your photo essays and that way I can live vicariously through you 😉

  • Sabina says:

    That is hilarious 🙂 I love the miscommunications that result from tangled tongues. I’m glad you got to see a bit of Cairo. It is a city like no other, I think. I couldn’t even walk across the multi-lane streets by myself when I was there, the driving was so chaotic!

    • Sabrina says:

      Thanks 🙂 Cairo was so much fun! I’ve been before, but only for a weekend. I hope to be able to spend more time there if and when we go back to Egypt. There are so many places I still want to see there, like the Citadel, Coptic Cairo, etc. But you are right! Driving is freaking insane there. Must the worst traffic in the world with the weirdest traffic rules like honking once means this and honking twice means that, being aggressive fives you the right of way, etc. 🙂

  • Venezia says:

    The ribbits was really funny…But you visited Egypt in the wrong season. August is the peak of summer and people living in this part of the world just tries to escape the scorching summer heat by visit other countries. And you guys decided to do it the other way round:) Nov, Dec is the right time to visit Egypt.

    • Sabrina says:

      Thanks 🙂 And you are so right! We almost didn’t do the layover because of the August heat, but we couldn’t resists and really wanted to see some of Cairo. My mom lives at the Red Sea for part of the year and we try to visit once a year. Unfortunately there was no other option than August last year… The worst part? We knew what expected us and did it anyway 🙂 Silly, I know. But you are right. We’ll really try to go earlier or later next time. My preferred times of the year are April/May and late September through early November. We scuba dive a lot and the water temperature is perfect, the sun nice and warm when you come out of the water. I love it!

  • Giulia says:

    Yep, at first I thought he meant rabbits too! hehe, Egyptian pronunciation sometimes is hard:)
    KFC/Pizza Hut at the pyramids is one of my favorite spots in Cairo, great sunsets from up there! When people asked me to take them to the Pyramids, I took them to that little rooftop…
    Giulia recently posted..Photo of the day- When others take pictures of me…

    • Sabrina says:

      It is, isn’t it? Yet, I’m so glad they speak English (and some German, and some Italian, and some Russian – depending on the tourists in that area) at all, because I wouldn’t get very far with my 20-50 words of Arabic 🙂

      A sunset from the KFC/Pizza Hut sounds amazing! …. and it’s on my list now 😉

  • Going Kraut says:

    Very cool! I need to make it to egypt someday. That would be really funny if the Egyptians were training hundreds of bunnies with cameras on their heads to find the hidden secrets of the pharaohs.
    Going Kraut recently posted..Photo Essay- Monschau- Germany

    • Sabrina says:

      I know 🙂 Can you online imagine? I can totally picture it! If you want to go to Egypt, you’re in luck. It a fairly popular destination for Germans and therefore, there are many flights from Germany to Cairo and Hurghada. Look into it. Especially with Condor (Fliegenpreise) you can sometimes find really good deals.

  • Suzy says:

    Ha! I feel like traveling in a foreign country you encounter this problem a lot. My host dad in Italy used to always pronounce things wrong that I would be utterly confused and then I would have the “oh, robots” moment as you did.
    Suzy recently posted..Lake Tahoe- California Wishes You Were Here

    • Sabrina says:

      The joys of travelling 🙂 It’s good to laugh about yourself once in a while… I still wonder how I could honestly BELIEVE for about five minutes that they sent rabbits in the pyramids 🙂

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