All Caleches

Places in Egypt that you don't recommend members or guests to visit, stay, eat , drink or shop for souvenirs and necessities.
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All Caleches

Post by hatusu » Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:20 am

Id had an appt at the new Medical Centre, then done a bit of shopping at Arkwrights. I usually walk back to the motorboats from there but my bag was a bit heavier than expected. So when a caleche hailed me outside St Joseph Hotel I succumbed.
After a couple of minutes he turned round to ask me if I was happy and saw the 5LE in my hand. He said it was 10LE not 5, so I answered him in Arabic and told him I wasnt a tourist, I lived here and knew what the price for a caleche was. I told him if Id wanted to pay 10LE I would have taken a taxi. He got very angry then and started ranting and raving at me, so I told him to stop the caleche for me to get out. I paid him the 5LE but told him I was going to take his number. He said he didnt have a number showing, and sure enough he didnt. After taking my 5LE for a third of the journey he shouted at me that this was HIS country and for me to get out. This when I was giving him business. What is the mindset of these people? This is not the first time somehting similar has happened with a caleche driver, and I will not take one again. The taxi drivers seem to be fine, they dont seem to be as nasty as the caleche drivers. I wouldnt recommend anyone to take any caleche, take a taxi instead. A wonderful way to attract tourists to their town and country!



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Re: All Caleches

Post by TonyC » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:00 pm

May only be a rumour, but a police crackdown on unlicensed caleches is supposed to be imminent. I wouldn't advocate a boycott on all caleche carriages – if there is a licence number you can report troublemakers to the drivers syndicate and the governor's office.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by hatusu » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:10 pm

How would I get in touch with the Driver's Syndicate? This man is causng trouble for all caleche drivers.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by Chocolate Eclair » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:15 pm

Hatusu, you have every right to feel aggrieved, these people should not be offering a public service at all. I never use caleches for this reason they all think that once aboard they can charge what they want. the quotation this is my Country is correct, but what he failed to realise its not his Countrymen that feeds his family. I do hope the Police crack down on these people, its them that is ruining Luxor. I find that 80% of Caleche Drivers are abusive and intimidating, and what i do not like is the swearing they do after you make it clear you do not want their service.

Have you noticed the new canopies for the Caleches opposite Luxor Temple, they look nice and tidy that corner up. Now lets hope they are kept an eye on by the Police!! seeing as they are in the same nieghbourhood.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by Scottishtourist » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:48 pm

I wouldnt recommend anyone to take any caleche, take a taxi instead. A wonderful way to attract tourists to their town and country!
Bit harsh!!
If you were only offering him 5le,then I'd reckon he probably sussed out you weren't a tourist!
I pay approx 10-15le for any one way trip,sometimes more if driver has been pleasant.
Can't say I've ever felt ripped off!
Bit sad really when some members of community are advocating that tourists to the city avoid a whole other sector of the community (caleche drivers!)
I'll continue using caleches and enjoying the experience!

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Re: All Caleches

Post by timetraveller » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:43 pm

I have to say I can see both sides of this one. I have also experienced some very rude and aggressive behaviour from Caleche drivers. One actually climbed down from his Caleche, grabbed me by the shoulder, spun me around to face him and then yelled 'Why won't you get in my Caleche?' right in my face! Fact is I was only crossing the road from St.Joseph's St. to change some money in the Sonesta. On the other hand Hatusu, 5le is not much money nowadays, even in Luxor. And I can't see why the going rate for a Caleche ride should be half that of a taxi. OK, they don't have to buy petrol but they do have to feed the horse! The problem with Caleches, and this was true pre-revolution but worse since, is simply that there are far more of them than the market will support. Hence, they have no business, get frustrated and aggressive, and tourists end up feeling besieged and hassled. The solution to that is simple, but unfortunately with insufficient alternative employment options far too many men opt to drive Caleches, licensed or otherwise.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by hatusu » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:13 pm

Im happy to pay the correct price for any service. The correct price for a caleche within Luxor is 5LE; the price for a much quicker ride in a taxi is 10LE. Why should I pay more than the going rate for any service. My hotel at the moment is selling rooms for half price - I dont demand double from anyone because the hotel needs the money! And I dont expect foulmouthed aggressive behaviour from anyone when Ive given them business.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by Teddyboy » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:50 pm

"there are far more of them than the market will support"

That is sadly true of just about all the tourist related businesses in Luxor, and before the revolution too! It seems that very few businessmen in Luxor are innovative in their entrepreneurial ventures. If one phone shop is busy; then another will open two doors down, thus halving the trade! The same goes for coffeeshops, shoe shops etc. As far as I can see, it also goes for boutique type hotels on the West Bank. While the Sheherezade is lovely, there seems to be more and more competition springing up every time I visit the 'Dark Side'. There is a saturation point, even in the best of economic situations, and we certainly aren't in the best of those situations at the moment!

In my experience, the caleche men in the southern part of town are much more aggressive than those in the town centre. Fortunately, I found mine about ten or twelve years ago, and have stuck with him ever since, although I do overpay him simply because I know that he and his family are struggling.

It's such a shame that so many of them are horrid, as I think a caleche ride through the town, or out through the villages, is a great way for tourists to see a little of Egyptian life and maybe a few cultural titbits.

Judging by that which we are reading about President Murci's exploits; he might eventually get around to sorting the bullies and con-men among them out, via better regulation and proper policing. Let's hope so!

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Re: All Caleches

Post by LivinginLuxor » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:36 am

"You know how much? 5 pounds" - that's exactly what the drivers say, so Hatusu is not being a skinflint. Fortunately, as I'm allergic to horses, I can't ride the benighted things.
I might agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong!
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Re: All Caleches

Post by Dusak » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:17 am

The drivers, on the whole, have become a right royal pain in the arse from the beginning of the revolution, I know of intimidation, threats and assaults towards tourists and ex-pats. To my knowledge there is only one old man that has kept his plate on. To my way of thinking, he is a trustworthy one. His carriage and horse are both in excellent condition. Most of these men became chancers after the revolution, invading Luxor to make a fast buck. I personally wouldn't use one until they are re-regulated and all have plates. Some are the scum of the earth with their deplorable attitudes towards people. And this attitude of theirs do eventually keep people in the hotels, especially the St. Joseph. The West Bank has the right idea, they have none.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by TonyC » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:25 am

timetraveller wrote:5le is not much money nowadays, even in Luxor. And I can't see why the going rate for a Caleche ride should be half that of a taxi. OK, they don't have to buy petrol but they do have to feed the horse! The problem with Caleches, and this was true pre-revolution but worse since, is simply that there are far more of them than the market will support. Hence, they have no business, get frustrated and aggressive, and tourists end up feeling besieged and hassled. The solution to that is simple, but unfortunately with insufficient alternative employment options far too many men opt to drive Caleches, licensed or otherwise.
I agree 100 per cent. The caleche trade was allowed to get completely out of hand long before the revolution; the Luxor authorities then turned a blind eye to unlicensed carriages and drivers – and the problem of high unemployment was probably one of the reasons why they did. When business took a massive dive, hundreds of people faced desperation. In an interview the drivers' syndicate boss gave some months ago, he said Luxor had 340 licensed caleches but more than 1,000 were on the streets.

I must say I've never experienced any aggression, though plenty of persistence! But I keep smiling persistently and saying "La shukran" persistently, and off they go. I used to get plenty of attention from the Sonesta/St Joseph Street crowd but after a couple of chats about bad business and the poor state of their horses (this was before the Brooke Hospital feeding initiative), now I'm not bothered ... and two or three even smile and wave!

On prices, I run the risk of being at odds with friends! Yes, some drivers are calling, hopefully, that it's "just 5 pounds" for a short trip, but they are expecting a good "tip" too. That price was never bandied about when business was good – and I bet it's not offered to tourist groups! So I cannot agree that 5LE is the correct price for a caleche in Luxor. I go along with Scottishtourist that 10-15 is a fair price.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by hatusu » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:47 am

"I go along with Scottishtourist that 10-15 is a fair price."

So you think Im going to pay that price for a slow caleche when I can get a quick trip in a taxi for 10LE? I just wont bother at all, I'll walk, as I have done on most occasions. So the caleche drivers lose out.
And dont forget Im not talking about taking the scenic route through Luxor, Im talking about the short drive from St Joseph St to the motorboats.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by hatusu » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:50 am

I reported the incident to Dr Dardery and tthis is tge reply I got form him -

"I am so sorry that this happened to you. It is out of stupidity on his part. I suggest you push your case to the Tourism police office and keep me posted of what it does. I also suggest you report to the police station itself. I will talk to the governor again today.
Please advise others not to take caleches without numbers anymore.

Salam / PEACE
Dr. AbdulMawgoud R. Dardery.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by Who2 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:24 pm

With an estimated number of 53 thousand unlicensed min-cabs in London and a metropolitan police force of 37 thousand, they don't seems to be doing much of a job, here's hoping Luxor has better luck..:cool:
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Re: All Caleches

Post by Gopha75 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:06 pm

very sad to find people fighting over what is really pennies - sorry, but from an outsiders view, i find it very sad

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Re: All Caleches

Post by hatusu » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:37 pm

Gopha75 wrote:very sad to find people fighting over what is really pennies - sorry, but from an outsiders view, i find it very sad
For those of us living here on pensions the pennies ARE important Gopha. And as Ive already said, why should I accept aggressive abuse from someone Im giving business to? This is important for the whole of Luxor, not particularly for me personally. These bullies have to be stopped from behvaing like this, because it definitely affects return tourism. The Number One complaint from the vast majority of things tourists dont like about Luxor is the constant hassle, and the main culprits they say are the caleche drivers. This has to be tackled.

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Re: All Caleches

Post by hatusu » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:53 pm

Gopha75 wrote:very sad to find people fighting over what is really pennies - sorry, but from an outsiders view, i find it very sad
Can I ask you a question Gopha, and its not a rhetorical question, I really am interested in your answer. If you came to my hotel and were charged 10LE for a 5LE cup of tea, would you say anything about it? And if you did, would you be happy if you received a stream of aggressive abuse if you did complain? Or seriously, would you just happily pay up the 10LE?

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Re: All Caleches

Post by HEPZIBAH » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:33 pm

I think there is another point which, as far as I can tell, has not been mentioned. There are set fares for calleche and taxi's and if not set in stone there are certainly good guideline figures which are given out by local people and regular visitors regularly on all sorts of tourist information sites. No one is suggesting paying less than the realistic cost of the service - well not here although there unfortunately some individuals who seem to think 'haggle' means beating someone down to the absolute last penny/piastre! However when people regularly pay considerably more for the service than what is the accepted normal level, it becomes the benchmark price that the drivers want. When people are paying these higher prices without even a question, it is artificially inflating the economy. What may seem like pennies to us on holiday is in fact pounds, and often quite a lot of pounds in reality, to the local. Is it any wonder that the 'five pound' quoted when you get in a calleche suddenly becomes £5 and not LE5 when you want to get out!

I am not for a moment suggesting people be mean, but I am suggesting that people should be realistic in what they pay - no matter what the service. The same goes for tips in my opinion!
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Re: All Caleches

Post by Scottishtourist » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:56 pm

I'm in no way,shape or form wanting to "steal"question from Gopha75!
But...most hotels display prices!And,if I was charged 10le for cuppa which was priced on menu as 5le...then yes,of course I'd be annoyed.
Unfortunately,I don't ever see caleches displaying price lists and tariffs on their horse's backsides...and if I did it would probably be in Arabic anyway,which very few of us can read!
I still personally think that for approx £1/£2,a caleche ride is a damn good bargain.
Sitting alfresco in a horse drawn carriage and trotting along at easy speed,enjoying the sunshine and the sights is my idea of luxury!
I've done it in Blackpool in the pouring rain and paid £20 for the "priviledge!"
Believe me...there's no comparison!

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Re: All Caleches

Post by Gopha75 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:03 pm

for once i agree with scottish tourist :)

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