The CI IRC channel, a user by the name of amouge posted a link to his blog sharing an awesome tip on how to read this variable with your PHP code. The example he posted is addressed to CI users, but it can be used by any PHP developer using apache and mod_rewrite.
The code is as follows:
You can now either parse the $_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’] variable now, or in CI use: $this->uri->segment();
Hope someone else finds that useful!