A Day in the Life of an Egyptian Tour Guide
This week, I met someone in Egypt who is very friendly! His name is Solomon Mohammed and he is a tour guide in the capital city of Egypt, Cairo. I’ve only been in Cairo for one week, but I have already spent many hours with Solomon. He has taught me so many important things that will help for the remainder of my journey here. He has guided me through the Egyptian dessert to the ‘high hills’, and throughout the massive complex of the Pyramids of Giza. The Pyramids of Giza are the most famous pyramids in the world. They feature the Great Pyramid as well as the Sphinx, which is a large lion sculpture with the head of an Egyptian man. Thanks to Solomon, I was able to see and learn about these fascinating marvels with my very own eyes! I interviewed Solomon about what it is like to be a tour guide.
Solomon can speak English very well, which is lucky for me, because my Arabic is not very good. Arabic is the language that is spoken mostly throughout Egypt. Most people are Muslim, or practice the Islamic religion. Solomon is a Muslim and prays to their god, Allah. He has taught me some Arabic that I use every day now!
Solomon told me that he comes from a family of tour guides. His father was a tour guide. Even his grandfather was a tour guide! When I went to the Pyramids of Giza with him, he gave me some insider help. He told me to tell the security guards that I was with Solomon Mohammed if they asked me for extra money. Normally, to go inside the Pyramids you must pay the guards extra money. However, when I told the guard that I was with Solomon, he responded by saying, “Okay, you are with Solomon, you are a brother”. I guess that means Solomon is a very well respected tour guide!
Solomon took me on camel and horse rides! We went through the desert at a pretty slow pace on the camels. When we rode the horses, however, we got to go fast a couple of times! At one point I thought I might fall off we were going so fast on the sandy terrain. Luckily, I was able to stay on. I got some great video and photos of everything. I can’t wait for you all to see! Thanks to my new friend, Solomon Mohammed, I am having a great time and learning experience here in Egypt. What’s great is that my journey has just begun! I have until April 28th to continue learning, experiencing new things and meeting great people just like Solomon! Keep reading to learn more about the questions I asked him!
Interview with Solomon Mohammed, Egyptian Tour Guide
How do you get around?
I drive a car when I am picking tourists up from their hotels. When we come to the pyramids, I walk or ride my horse.
What is your job like?
My job is very traditional for my family because my father AND grandfather were tour guides. I guess I just have tour guide in my blood!
What is your family like?
My family is very beautiful. I have a wife and two children. My children are ages two and five. Sometimes I am sad that I must work so much because I miss my family. My first daughter’s name is Nanak, which translates as ‘queen’ in English. My second daughter’s name is Haneen, which translates as ‘good heart’ in English.
What types of clothing do you wear?
I like best to wear western-style clothing because it makes me more acceptable as a tour guide. If I wear traditional Islamic robes, some people don’t feel comfortable with the foreign clothing. So I like wearing western-style clothes because people that I give tours to are comfortable with them.
What do you do in your free time?
In Egypt, I don’t have free time because I work all the time! I must work to take care of my family. However, I do enjoy my work. Sometimes, my work is like free time because I get to meet new people and talk to them. It’s always a good time to go to the Pyramids and make people happy!
What language(s) do you speak? How do you say “Hello” in your language?
I speak Arabic and English, and some French as well! To say ‘hello’ in Arabic, one would say “Assalam Aleikum” (aa-sa-lam-aa-lay-EE-koom). This doesn’t exactly mean ‘hello’ in English, but this is how we commonly greet one another. In English, “Assalam Aleikum” translates as, ‘peace be with you’.
Do you have pets?
I don’t have any domestic pets like cats or dogs. However, at my shop for tour guides I have camels and the horses!