Walk Like an Egyptian
Trip Start Apr 08, 2009
27Trip End Ongoing
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For those of you who thought the Pyramids of Giza were buried somewhere in the vast desert, as I did - I'd like to formally educate you now! Before reading on, however, keep this in mind - In the last 8 months or so I've truly tried to turn everything negative in my life into positive thinking, so please, don't scoff at the following. I just thought I'd share with you a little tidbit about the Pyramids.
Built 1,000's of years ago by hundreds of thousands of Egyptian workers for three Kings and their wives, the Pyramids of Giza, and the Sphinx guarding their entrance is quite the sight to see. So when the bus pulled off to the side of a busy hightway, along side fast food stands in the middle of Giza, I was shocked to see the peak of the largest pyramid peaking out from behind a low-rise strip mall.
Yeah. The Bubble was burst, big time.
So I felt a little disappointed. It felt like Disney world, really..... but worse. We had our cheesy "Giza Pyramids!" entrance tickets in hand and clumsily walked through the metal detectors outside the front gates and slowly made our way into the Pyramid Park.
So this is where my negative thinking turns positive. Although it felt a little like a circus, let's be serious, it's a tourist attraction. Cairo is the largest city on the continent of Africa, and all of the middle east. 20 million people hustling and bustling. It would have been difficult to keep those pyramids isolated. So I made peace with it and blocked out the apartment buildings speckling the back drop behind the Pyramids. I couldn't let it bother me.
We rode camels, took the pictures that everyone takes and marveled in the true magnificence that IS the pyramids. The Egyptians might have turned them into a spectacle, but you have to give them credit for building those suckers. For them to remain such an feat of engineering, and a mystery at that, is truly impressive. So, although it was a bit of a shock at first finding them in the middle of the city, that disappointment quickly gave way to awe.
We also were able to spend a few hours wandering around the Egyptian Museum in the morning. This was incredible! There were so many ancient relics from past lives and dynasties that it really was humbling. What I found most astonishing is that although everything housed in the museum was extremely ornate and detailed, decorated with gold and a trillion colors, there was a sort of simplicity to it all. Everything was earthly. Nothing was decorated with sparkling diamonds or gemstones. There was no light and sound show (save that for the cheesiness of the pyramids...), there were no rubies and emeralds or sapphires to speak of. There was plan brown papyrus leaves filled with ornate and detailed stories of their lives. There was beautiful turquoise and coral colored stones in necklaces and bracelets recovered from tombs. But it was all very simple, very down to earth..... very primitive. I think that is what made it all so real. It wasn't 'out of this world'.... it was believable.
Anyway, after 3 hours wandering around in there I still had not seen everything. It was really something to see.
An over night train ride and a morning by a pool puts me in Aswan, to the south of Cairo. Tonight we dine in a Nubian village, in someone's home.... I am more than excited!
More later (with pictures!),