How the Bent Pyramid Really Got its Name

If you're under 18 years old or easily offended, then please click this link.

OK, so there's a little more to my visit to the Bent Pyramid than was fit to be written up on a page meant to be viewed by the general public.

In particular, let's pay close attention to that nice Egyptian policeman on the camel who I mentioned on the main Bent Pyramid page.   To refresh your memory, here's the same photo of the Bent Pyramid from the west, blown up so you can see the policeman a bit better.

Now if this were a musical website then there's no question but that the theme music from the movie "Jaws" would be playing right now.   At the time I took this photo, I didn't realize this, and you can bet that the tourist on the right-hand side of the photo is also oblivious to the fact that he's being stalked.

As it happens, that tourist's innocence, or perhaps craftiness, spared him the experience that I was about to undergo.   In short, he paid no attention to the policeman's kind offer when he approached, and walked off stage left to safety.

I, on the other hand, walked up to a spot not very far to the right of where the tourist is standing, and took a couple of photos of the pyramid.   The policeman turned away from hapless tourist number one and came towards me.   I had just taken the photo above from fairly near the fence which marks the new boundary of the military area at Dahshur so, fearing some infraction of Egypt's paranoid security laws, I paid close attention to what he was saying.   "Do you want to go around the pyramid?".   I wasn't sure what to answer, since I hadn't thought about the question before now.   My taxi driver was waiting in the little parking lot just to the north-west of the pyramid, and he was wanting to go off to Friday afternoon prayers, so up to now I had been in a bit of a hurry.   "Go around the pyramid."   What could be so exciting around the other side of the pyramid?   I didn't know, but if he was so insistent, then why not go?   After all, I was here in Egypt to see stuff, and I was the one paying for this little excursion, not the taxi driver.

OK, so here's another photo of said policeman, heading towards the smaller secondary pyramid which is next to the Bent Pyramid.   And why is he so far ahead of me, if he's meant to be accompanying me?   Is it merely that he continued ahead while I took this photo?   Or is there some more devious reason - like he wanted to hide the fact that we were together?   You decide, gentle viewer, you decide.

Well, I was still innocently tagging along, and we got to the small pyramid, where he got his camel to kneel down at the bottom, and then he encouraged me to climb to the top.   So up we went.   It was a pretty good place to get some photos, so I shot off a few and then he took a few of me with the Bent Pyramid behind me.

We headed back down the pyramid and then IT HAPPENED.   He asked me for some baksheesh, which depending on how charitable you're feeling and how you choose to translate it, is either a tip or a bribe.   I'm a pretty charitable sort of guy, so I think of it as a tip for people who really are poorly paid, and in fact I'd already set aside three or four Egyptian pounds separate from the large and smelly wad of notes (bills, if you're American) that I was carrying.

I handed them over, and then we fell into a type of exchange which I got pretty used to by the time I left Egypt, two and a half weeks later.   He asked for some more.   I figured I'd already given him plenty - after all, a taxi ride from my hotel in Cairo to the railway station cost only five pounds.   He kept asking and said in what little English he had that he had three daughters to feed.   I said a simple "no" in a polite voice, though in my mind I was thinking rather less politely that I should have given him condoms rather than money, so he wouldn't end up with even more mouths to feed.

I turned around to leave and that's when he shifted to plan B.   I was already walking away, so he got on his camel and came alongside me.   "You want?"  he asked.  "Want what?" I asked.   "You want?" he asked again, and that's when I noticed that he was giving the universally recognized sign for - a hand job!   I smiled and said, "no thanks", but he wasn't quite finished with me, so I had to turn down his kind offer a few more times.

OK, then, if that's the way it's going to be then let's pull out all the stops and go for plan C.   "You want sucka?" he asked.   I was still not quite with it, perhaps it was just so unexpected or maybe I was still suffering from jet lag and several nights of not sleeping - "Sorry?".   "You want sucka?".   Well, it might be one thing not to understand what he was saying, but from his actions and in the context of what had just happened, it became crystal clear that he was now offering me a blow job.   I turned him down a few more times and then he must have finally decided that I wasn't going to be much of a customer, after all.   "No problem, right?"   Now he was covering his tail to make sure that I wasn't going to report him and get him in trouble.   "No problem", I said.

I'm pretty open minded, and I really didn't feel threatened by him, even though he did have a gun, a camel and three daughters.   If he wanted to earn a bit of extra money, and if he was able to find willing customers around the back of the pyramid, then why should I care?   From my point of view it was just a funny incident, and part of the whole experience of visiting Egypt.   It certainly put the initial interaction with him into a different light; now I knew why he was approaching solitary male tourists - he must have figured that they were the ones who were most likely to be gay and to be open to his offers.   In a way I think it's endearing, because the western view of muslims is fairly black and white, and we imagine that they're all fanatics who want death for anyone who is "morally impure".

Some time later I joined up with a group of backpackers and I mentioned this story to them.   One of them, James, said that it wasn't surprising that this happened, because there was a long history of buggery in Egypt.    It occurred to me to suggest that he do some research and write a book with that title, but then I thought better of it and just kept quiet.   But he explained that young Egyptian guys "help each other out" because extra-marital sex is hard to come by, and you need to have a bit of money before you can get married.   So I guess they can be a bit more sexually experienced and tolerant than we usually imagine.

See the main Bent Pyramid page.