Cairo – Beware the camel trade
When travelling it is always best to keep your wits about you – particularly when confronted by a local trader looking to make a quick couple of quid.
I tend to shy away from the large, corporate travel trips and try to explore the goods and experiences the people of the city or area I’m in are promoting.
But it can be a route fraught with danger.
For example, walking through a city rather than catching a bus or taxi is often a good way of seeing it, especially those areas to be found away from the beaten tourist track.
But spotting a sign to the San Siro while in the centre of Milan and deciding to take a stroll to one of Europe’s most impressive football stadiums doesn’t seem such a good idea after a four hour trek in 30 degree heat.
A tuk-tuk ride in Bangkok is a wonderful, white-knuckle experience, but it comes with the danger of being ferried to the nearest suit maker, gift shop or even brothel.
I have also heard tell – any verification gratefully accepted – of a disturbing ‘trade’ in cows in Vietnam and Cambodia.
This relates to the nasty of business of selling tourists the chance to take potshots at a cow with a rifle.
The gun’s sites are deliberately offset so that the animal isn’t hit, but it must get pretty shell-shocked.
In order to do this the cow has to be first sold to the tourist – he or she is allowed to shoot their own cow. After they miss, they are left with a cow, which they obviously can’t take home, so they give it back.
And the whole process starts again.
I must add that I haven’t seen this myself, but have heard it from more than one traveller.
One trick that I have seen in action came in Cairo.
Outside the famous Pyramids of Giza, scores of locals offer tourists the chance to ride on their camels.
“Free, free,” they tell them reassuringly.
But that is only half the story. Once safely up on the camel there is one catch.
You have to pay to get down…