Pyramids Day!!

Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
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Trip End Mar 01, 2008


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Flag of Egypt  ,
Sunday, November 18, 2007

Waking up moderately early today, we hired a taxi and trekked off for a day visiting all of the pyramids around Cairo.  Although everybody often just thinks of the Giza pyramids, there are hundreds of them, both standing and collapsed.  I had seen several flying in, including the step pyramid and the bent pyramid, both of which we planned to visit. 

Riding on the "highway" in a taxi was an interesting experience.  Although the lanes appeard to be more adhered to, our driver zipped and wove, stopping briefly after each time we protested with "shwaya, shwaya".  Making it out into the suburbs was another welcome break from the city.  Things were green, and agricultural plots and palms grew with support from the Nile aqueducts. 

Our first stop was Memphis where, among other things, we saw a giant statue of Ramses, the biggest colussus around Cairo.  We were also accosted by vendors assuring us that it was free to look at their trinkets.

On the way to Sakara (the bent pyramid complex, but also one of the two beers that they sell in Egypt), we passed numerous carpet "schools" and papyrus "museums, basically gimmicksto sell more crap to tourists.  I had been approached in Cairo and asked if I'd been to the papyrus museum, but fortunately I had heard the story from Natasha (one of Katie's friends) who had been basically coerced into buying 600 Egyptian Pounds of papyrus, which was charged to her credit card in dollars!

Anyway, the step pyramid complex was completely awesome (see pictures once they're posted).  Apart from the actual pyramid, the intricately carved tombs were everywhere!  We wandered the complex, stopping to look at a pharaoh status here or a 3000 year old tomb there.  We even ventured down in the burial chamber of one of the collapsed pyramids.  Nowhere else would you be able to go down into an unprotected structure like that, and we could wander throughout, touching anyting that we wanted (I refrained, Mom).  Going into other tombs, we saw carvings that still had their original (millennia old) paint!

Next stop was Giza, where the harassment really peaked.  Vendors jumped into our taxi, telling us that the complex was closed and that we needed to take their horses to get in.  We battled off a few, but our driver finally started to yell at them in Arabic, saying "go away, she speaks Arabic, she knows everything", referring to Katie.  Quite a compliment!  We looked around Giza, gawking at the three pyramids, and finally seeing the Sphinx.  It looked kind of small and seemed just to be morphing into the sand that surrounds it.  Nevertheless, impressive.  During our whole time in the complex, we were followed by this group of young girls that kept wanting to take pictures of Katie and me.  They were particularly obsessed with Katie, but were nice and gave us gum.

That was about it for the day.  It was pyramid-filled, and has made me more excited for the rest of Ancient Egypt.  Luxor tomorrow!
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