Our adventures at the mighty Pyramids
Trip Start Aug 14, 2010
31Trip End Jan 20, 2011
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But before we can get nice and clean it’s truck cleaning time! But before we start the truck clean it’s time to clean down our tent as it’s the second to last night we’ll be using it - no longer will we need to inflate our beds before going to sleep, but how we will miss hearing Ish and Pat (the former more) laugh at 30 Rock all night ;o)
It’s our first truck clean of the trip as we missed the Addis clean when we were off on our side trip. The clean involves taking everything off the truck - including for some reason the chairs, we think the boys just like to faff around with the electric screwdrivers etc as there was really little point to this exercise other than letting them be ‘men’ whilst the rest of us scrubbed and wiped down the entire contents of the truck! After dreaming about pot cleaning and buying special cleaning liquids, Jules was all geared up (and sadly excited) to get going on the, dreaded by most, pot cleaning duty. Cooking on charcoal turns everything black and the aim is to get it all back to silver. You all know how Jules loves her cleaning. But sadly this time it wasn’t meant to be as the pots got hijacked by Sonja - not sure why given the noise she made about doing them last time but each to their own. Instead Jules gets stuck into the plates, cutlery, mugs, knives etc. with Allison and this turns out to be much more enjoyable. I opt for sticking my headphones on to block out the crap music playing on the truck stereo (really Coldplay/Radiohead genre music is hardly motivating for a truck clean!) and get stuck into cleaning all of the chairs and stools that are pulled off of the truck.
Having checked our ‘effort metres’ are at a respectable level and not being able to put anything back on the truck as the boys are still messing about inside it, I head off to test out the showers. I manage to fight against the three dozen or so mosquitoes living in the shower to get undressed and under the smelly water without getting bitten or scalded by the temperamental water temperature. But hey it’s hot water and I’m soon on my way to being reasonably clean again - note you are never truly clean on an overland trip, dirt soon becomes embedded in your skin, under you nails etc and it’s a bitch to get out, even for us that clean as often as we can. We can’t understand how Kenji, who has had only 6 showers the whole trip (yes the whole 3.5 months to date & half of them have been in lakes/sea!!!), is not a festering mess and actually smells very respectable (most of the time!)
So now the truck is clean, we’re clean and after a wicked dinner cooked by Kenji and AK, we’re fed! It’s an early night as tomorrow we head off to the pyramids!
We leave to head to the pyramids at 7.45am but unfortunately due to a detour in town we don’t arrive at the site until 8.50am and hence miss out on the first release of tickets for entry inside the Great Pyramid. Tickets for this go on sale at 8am and are limited to 250 in the winter and by the time we arrived they were all sold out. The tickets go on sale again at 1.00pm so we head off into the site to explore the other pyramids and the sphinx until then.
The site is massive. The main pyramid towers over you as you enter the site. At the peak of the second pyramid remains some of the original smooth veneer but the rest has fallen off to reveal the simplistic network of stones that create the pyramids. It’s quite a sight and as the morning fog clears (when we arrived we could barely see the pyramids at all!) the magnitude of the pyramid is breathtaking and we’re all left wondering ‘How the heck did they build these things!!’.
We have tickets to enter the Menkare pyramid which is the smallest of the three. Inside you climb down into a small corridor with a small alcove off to the side. There is another small alcove down some more steps but there’s really not that much to see. It’s cool though being right in the middle of the massive triangle of stones that you know is on top of you. The ticket price is pretty cheap so if you miss out on getting a Great Pyramid ticket then it’s worth going into which ever of the other two are open (the second and third seem to take it in turns but the ticket desk should say which are open, although don’t expect a polite response from any of them!!).
After some obligatory holding of the pyramids shots we head off to the Sphinx. The area directly in front of the Sphinx isn’t open to the general public, instead you get to access an area to the left hand side that is raised but still quite a bit away from the statue. But we mange to negotiate our way around the crowds to get the obligatory kissing photo - this was quite pain worthy to get right and also quite embarrassing as we take turns squatting down with our lips pursed moving ‘left a bit’, ‘up a bit’, ‘back a bit’!!
After the Sphinx we attempt to regroup with the truck as was supposed to be taken to the look out point at 11.30am. We turn up just after 11.30am to find that the truck is gone. Ah well we’re a bit late so we’re ok with that until we later find out that it was gone at 11.20am when Ish turned up to meet them - him being by himself makes that a whole lot worse - and we find out that they thought we were ‘doing our own thing’ so just buggered off when they wanted to go to the lookout. Surprise, surprise, African Trails & co not giving a sh*t and doing things when they want to do them. Cheers guys!
So now not knowing where we’re supposed to meet the truck to get back to the camp we have no choice but to do our own thing. We mess about for a bit whilst waiting for the ticket office to reopen. When it does we’re near enough to the start of the line to get tickets for the Great Pyramid. We noticed though that there were a lot of tour groups who already appeared to have their tickets for the Pyramids yet hadn’t queued for them so who knows how many actually get sold on the day to the general public.
We head off to check out the inside of the Great Pyramid and after handing over our camera, cautiously, at the entrance (not allowed to take them inside) we start the hard climb up. There are 216 steps to climb, split into two halves. The climb up is pretty impressive as you can pretty much see the whole way up and the whole way down. We’re not sure how high up we climb but it’s pretty cool to be right up in there. At the top there is a small tunnel to crawl through that takes you into a small plain room. The room is pretty bland with no carvings etc just a small, plain sarcophagus but the climb up and down and the fact you’ve been inside the Great Pyramid makes it worth a trip in our opinion.
A bit knackered after the climb we decide to call it a day. Jules’ new friend, Ahmed, is kind enough to take some photos of us and in return we head off with him to his family shop to check out some souvenirs - oh and he did mention Pizza Hut and KFC are on the way… As we descend the hill to leave we notice Roxy parked up in the furthest away car park. We find out that the plan is to move in the next 15mins or so - lucky us for our timing. We sneak a quick order in at Pizza Hut and whilst it’s cooking check out Ahmed’s souvenirs but nothing takes our fancy and we thank him and say bye before collecting our pizza and heading back to camp.
We’re a bit worried that no one has seen Ish and with no way to contact him we’ve no choice but to leave since he didn’t find out the plan either after getting left behind for the lookout earlier. We’re not overly impressed since we knew he would have been on the truck heading back with us if he’d known where to find it - despite the ‘oh he was doing his own thing’ crap that’s getting spouted as an excuse for being selfish pricks. We’re very happy our boy turns up at camp a couple of hours later, both in one piece, filled with McDonalds and not too much poorer for the taxi journey. Although it wasn’t all smooth sailing as the taxi got lost a couple of times on the way and Ish looks a bit tired, definitely beer time!
After another great feed from Spencer and Hendrick and a few more beers for those that are drinking (I’m now in week 5 of no booze post malaria) we call it a day as the next day we’re up early and off for the short journey to Cairo where we’ll spend the next 4 nights.