Sunday, October 26, 2008

Let's have a quick Giza.

I woke up the next morning feeling like mild death, but the show had to go on, because today I was visiting the pyramids at Giza and Saqqara and Memphis. It really wasn’t shocking throughout the day, but it certainly wasn’t the most comfortable I’ve been in my life. I started off with a trip with my guide Haitham, and my driver Ahmed (the same guy from the cruise last night) to the archaeological site at Memphis. Generally, it was a little overrun by tourist shops/stalls, but there were wonderful statues of Ramses II (my hero). In particular, this one huge one.

It’s about 26 metres tall.

The next stop was Saqqara and the pyramids there. This site features the first pyramid built in Egypt. Designed by that clever little architect, Imhotep for the Pharaoh Djoser. How fitting, as these were the first pyramids I visited. Boy, was I mesmorised! I could see the step pyramid from outside the enclosure, but the real hit of excitement came when I walked up the corridor of the temple leading through. Then…….pyramid.


After learning interesting info from my guide about how the pyramid was constructed (the step pyramids are actually just tombs stacked on top of each other – called mustabas) we left the miraculous site and made our way to Giza.


I was almost tempted to buy a carpet at the Cairo carpet school that we stopped at, but then I realised I had no idea what the house that I move into in London will look like. Not that I am capable of any decent sort of interior decorating, mind you.


I had that same feeling as earlier (no, it wasn’t gastro), and one similar to what I felt walking up to the Acropolis in Greece, while we drove to the site of the Giza pyramids. I’m sure Haitham was telling me something as we gazed at the 3 ancient giants from the car window, but I don’t reckon’ I retained any of it. That was ok though, as he passed on plenty of valuable material when we got there. The dimensions of the ‘mids are amazing, but they mean nothing on paper.

Seriously, folks – if this sort of thing interests you at all, you gotta go see ‘em. They are more untouched than the ruins at Greece (well, it looks that way) and the mystery of the place is breathtaking.


I took in the ‘atmosphere’ for a while and then wandered into the pyramid of Khafre. You walk down a shaft for a while, and then reach a little room that is freakin’ hot.

After escaping the underground sauna, we made our way to the Sphinx. I read somewhere just the other day that this particular monument is smaller than it looks in photos, and I think I can agree with that to a certain degree. I certainly never put it on par (size-wise) with the pyramids, but I did think that it had more grandiosity than it does. This doesn’t mean I didn’t love it – noooo. I was not disappointed in any way, shape of form.


There is also a stunning lookout at the Sphinx, where you can see the other pyramids.


AUTHOR’S NOTE: I felt and looked like dog’s breakfast at this point.

The best way to explain the experience of visiting the pyramids is to say that it was like getting closure after wanting to visit Egypt for about 12 years or something (my folks can attest to that length of time). Plus, then you have the natural mystery and majesty of the country and the wonder of these ancient sites.

My food poisoning had well and truly reached its peak by this point, so it was lucky that we were heading back to the hotel. I made a quick stop at one of the papyrus academies, which turned into a mildly lengthy shopping trip.

Even though I was in absolutely shocking shape by the end of it, that day was amazing.

The entirety of my next day was spent sleeping and lying around to recover, which means that I don’t have to blog. Nyah.

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