Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

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    The desert beyond Giza.
  • 1310956
    My first approach.
  • 1310958
    Camel having a roll after I got off of him.
  • 1310961
    How to feel inferior.
  • 1310968
    Just a guy trying to be cool.
  • 1310972
    Walking along the pyramids. The rocks laying around are those that have fallen after from the mortar that once made them smooth.
  • 1310978
    The Great Pyramid of Giza.
  • 1310979
    The Great Pyramid of Giza.
  • 1310981
    Moulds for ships. Now I am not certain of things, but according to my guide, this is where he seemed to think the ships for carrying the rocks for the pyramids were built.
  • 1310988
    A small temple and Camel waiting around for me to yell "Harg!" to him to get up and carry me off.
  • 1310989
    Khafre Pyramid. See how the top still has the original covering to show how the pyramids originally looked.
  • 1310993
    Side Spinx shot!
  • 1310995
    Oh, just a photo of the Sphinx, Giza and Khafre pyramids.
  • 1310998
    The Spyinx. The body of a lion for courage, the head of a man for wisdom, and the face of a woman for beauty.
  • 1320001
    Ummm, yea, that is pretty freaking cool!
  • 1320006
    An open tomb. So strange to see in real life... I am not sure if we should be doing that...
  • 1320007
    ♫ Hieroglyphics, let me be specific. ♫
  • 1320011
    A temple ceiling. Five point stars, for 5,000 years. Incredible.
  • 1320013
    The entrances of the tombs were designed very low so that you would be in a bowing position the entire time you enter. R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
  • 1320025
    Look at the detail in that work. The detail in the hair alone...
  • 1320028
    Tomb entrance. They say that they can not un-earth this pyramid for fear of it crumbling.
  • 1320039
    Djoser's Step Pyramid is the first structure made from limestone.
  • 1320041
    Djoser's Step Pyramid. It is believed that it was created around 2700 BC.
  • 1320044
    Drinking beer and cruising around Cairo!
  • 1310941
    My first view of Giza to the right and Khafre to the left. Khafre is the second largest pyramid, built by the son of the emperor who built Giza. With respect to his father, the second pyramid was built smaller, however the son built his on higher ground....
  • 1310948
    Camel and I.
  • 1310952
    Majestic.... And amazing to see with a person's own eyes.
  • 1320014
    Hieroglyphics and a small fraction of the story of Egypt. This story was one of hundreds that wrapped around a building.
  • 1310939
    The Great Pyramid of Giza. In the foreground is a workers cemetery.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt.
June 3.

I was up at 06:55. My alarm was set for 07:03 which would give me just five hours of sleep. It is incredible how a brain wakes itself up just before the alarm clock even when the brain knows it needs more sleep. How does the brain actually know what time it is when it is sleeping? How does it physically know when 07:03 is to wake you up just a little before? If I had not set an alarm for 07:03, I would not have slept hard and not awoke until at least 09:00. Paranoia of sleeping in for a planned trip make me wake up on time, but how is the sleeping brain able to tell time in such a way? The 24 hour clock is a man-made invention. Normally, I naturally wake up at 09:00. So, how does the brain know when it is two hours earlier than that to wake itself up? How does a sleeping brain physically tell time? It is not like your sub-conscience is staring at a clock the whole time to know when it is time to wake up… It is truly remarkable how that works…


Breakfast in ‘Wake Up! Cairo Hostel!’ was supposed to be at 08:30, but the male receptionist made breakfast for me at 07:55. Breakfast was a frozen piece of bread that was microwaved and thrown on a plate with a little bit of apricot jam. I am not sure if that was what you would get for breakfast at 08:30, but it is what you get if you want breakfast early because…you are touring the pyramids of Egypt!…

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

The Great Pyramid of Giza. In the foreground is a workers cemetery.

My driver, Magad, was right on time and he drove me to the village of Giza to sort out my trip to the pyramids.  He wanted to know:
“Do you want to walk it? Ride a horse? A Camel? It is up to you.”
“Well, I guess if I am here I might as well get the full package and ride a camel while touring the pyramids of Egypt!”

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Majestic…. And amazing to see with a person’s own eyes.

Magad drove and took us to a small and dirty room where I negotiated a 620 Egyptian pound ($34) two hour guided camel-ride trip through the area with six pyramids and the Sphinx down. I dragged them down to 400 Egyptian pounds ($22) for it all. It felt like I negotiated hard, but maybe they started at an atrocious price based on foreign skin-tax and I was still overpaying at 400 pounds after fighting for that price. A person should not fight over $12, but last night my driver told me that I can rent a regular apartment in Cairo for 700-1000 Egyptian pounds ($38-$55) or a fancy place of luxury for 3000-4000 ($166-$222). So, I had no intention of paying nearly a month of someone’s apartment rent in Cairo for a two hour camel ride touring the pyramids, even if it was the only chance I might ever have… So, I went through heavy haggling and false premises that I would shop around before they would give my the trip for 400 Egyptian pounds.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Camel and I.

With that worked out, 
♫My guide headed into the desert on a horse with a name.
Behind on a nameless camel I came…
La, la, la la la la, la la la, la laaa….♫

I planned to name my camel for touring the pyramids, but I ended up coming around a giant gate and there were the pyramids! In plain view. The pyramids were just barely out of the city! They were too distracting to remember to name a camel.

My guide was trying to tell me things about empires, but I could not really focus on his words, too captivated by the energy around me.
The pyramids were mesmerizing, and it was really amazing to have them in my sight-lines as I rode along on ‘Camel.’ Words can not really do the pyramids justice, so here are some fancy photos that my camera battled to capture in between moments when the desert dust had it hesitating and fussing. I figured that if the desert killed my camera today, well, what a swan song for the that wonderful piece of technology!:

At Camera Heaven:
Gate Keeper – “What were your last shots before you came here?”
Nikon D5600 – “Uh, well, some photos of drinks at a bar, a plate of pasta and then some drunken make-outs.”
Gate Keeper (acknowledging my camera) – “And you?”
Panasonic DMX-TZ40 – “Uhhh, of the Pyramids in Egypt.”
Gate Keeper and Nikon (same time) – “Whoa…!”
Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

How to feel inferior.

It was pretty great to camel-walk touring the pyramids and it was cool to touch the stones when I walked around them with my own feet.

I had my hands on The Great Pyramid of Giza!

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

The Great Pyramid of Giza.

Every hustler in Egypt seems to be hanging out in the area and wants to sell you carvings, paintings, or camel ride when you are not on your own. So, you have to be ready to say ‘no’ an awful lot or else you must learn to be unresponsive. I chose the latter after the former began to tire me.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

The Spyinx. The body of a lion for courage, the head of a man for wisdom, and the face of a woman for beauty.

We were inside of temples, tombs, and then visited the Sphinx. It was all incredible. If I could do it again, I would have gone touring the pyramids without a guide so that I could be there my own time-frame rather than the schedule of a guide. But, going guideless would have meant sacrificing a camel-ed pyramid approach. Life always seems to find some kind of balance by giving some and taking some.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Ummm, yea, that is pretty freaking cool!

Some words in Camel:
– “Hhhhhhaaagggh” (The sound of clearing phlegm from your throat) Will make Camel stand up.
– “Harg!” That will make Camel squat down to unload me so that I can get off of his back on the ground.
Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Djoser’s Step Pyramid. It is believed that it was created around 2700 BC.

I returned ‘Camel’ in town two hours later after touring the pyramids.  My driver then took me to Saqqara where the oldest temple in the world is located. I went deep inside a tomb where the ceiling was carved in perfect five point stars. That really got me thinking… We still draw stars the same way today…with five points. Of course there are other shames, but the five-point is standard. That means man has been drawing stars in the same manner for at least 5,000 years. Why five points? I do not really see points when I look at the stars in the sky. I see blotches of light. And if I squint, I can see points, but it is not five of them that I see. Yet, the international symbol through humanity for a star is generally a five pointed light. Interesting.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

A temple ceiling. Five point stars, for 5,000 years. Incredible.

My brain was like a full bucket of water and all of the new drops were just overflowing down the side.
My driver raced to get me back to the city after Saqqara so that I could go to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It was full of mummies, caskets and tombs. It was fascinating, but my brain was like a full bucket of water and all of the new drops were just overflowing down the side and I could not take any more information in. So, I headed to the hostel to sleep for a couple of hours to decompress and try to mentally reset for the day. I made a friend in the hostel from the US and he joined me for beer and dinner. Because of Ramadan, our waiter would not even touch the beer we were ordering. My friend Kaleb had to go behind the bar. The waiter would open the fridge and Caleb would have to grab the beer himself!

When it was time for me to start heading towards the airport, I asked for our bill when a guy our age sat down at a table behind us. He told us he is Egyptian and because of Ramadan taking place, it is illegal for him to buy beer. He asked if we would buy beer for him if he paid us. Of course…

We ordered six beer to go for him!

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Drinking beer and cruising around Cairo!

Well, that transaction established a friendship. Our new Egyptian friend, Acro, told us that he had been to several places in the city today trying to get beer but he kept on getting singled out as Egyptian and was constantly rejected. He said he this bar/restaurant was his final try. So, we bought his six big beer, one for Kaleb, and two for me. Arco told me that he had a friend with a car outside and they could could drive me closer to the airport. I asked if he planned to drink the beer right now. He said that was his motive and after I said I decided to go with him, he invited Kaleb to come along as well. Arco took us to meet Zachy who was waiting in an Austin Mini. I hurried to get my backpack from the hostel and then we raced through Cairo in the Mini, drinking beer along the way.

Our new Egyptian friends were really cool guys! I told Arco that I like to collect license plates from cars in foreign countries to give to a friend at home for his hot-rod garage. Zachy said we could easily find one and drove us to a dark parking lot where he and his friend regularly go to smoke pot. I found a license plate on a car that had two screws that were easy to remove and I stuffed the metal Egyptian plate in my backpack. It was super sketchy of me, but my new Egyptian friends really enjoyed what I had just done in front of them! Yes, I am a little bastard sometimes, but it is for the greater good of a friend at home! Arco then walked me to the road and found a taxi for me to take me another 10 minutes to the airport where I checked in and caught my red eye flight to Abu Dhabi.
Egypt, that was a very fast and fascinating 36 hours! Pyramids…touring the pyramids of Egypt!  As if I just got to do that!  Amazing!

Some More Egypt:
– There is a city and a bridge named ‘6th of October.’ That is the day in 1973 when the Egyptians won a war against Israel.
– Driving in Egypt is: Cabbies on mobile phones, bus drivers smoking cigarettes, and cars with 1990’s ‘No Fear’ stickers pasted on them.
– The stones for the pyramids were brought down the River Nile during the seasons of floods that typically lasted four months. During the floods there was no work so construction of the pyramids for the king took place at that time.
– Whether correct information or not, I was told that: meat does not rot in the pyramids, flowers grow faster inside, and razor blades become sharper because of the static energy in the earth.
– The tombs were designed with very short entrance ways and walkways inside so that man has to be bent over when he approaches the tomb in a bowing position.
– The Sphinx measures 238 feet (73 m) from paw to tail, and 66.3 ft (20.21 m) high from the base to the top of the head. It is believed to have been built in a 16 year period from around 2558–2532 BC.
– Saqqara is the area of oldest complete stone building complex known in history, Djoser’s Step Pyramid. It is believed that it was created around 2700 BC. It is the first structure made from limestone.
– It is estimated that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built over a 10 to 20 year period and completed around 2560 BC. At 146.5 meters (481 feet) it was the tallest man-made structure on Earth for over 3,800 years!

 

Some final photos:

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

My first approach.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

The desert beyond Giza.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Camel having a roll after I got off of him.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Just a guy trying to be cool.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Walking along the pyramids. The rocks laying around are those that have fallen after from the mortar that once made them smooth.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

The Great Pyramid of Giza.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Moulds for ships. Now I am not certain of things, but according to my guide, this is where he seemed to think the ships for carrying the rocks for the pyramids were built.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

A small temple and Camel waiting around for me to yell “Harg!” to him to get up and carry me off.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Khafre Pyramid. See how the top still has the original covering to show how the pyramids originally looked.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Side Spinx shot!

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Oh, just a photo of the Sphinx, Giza and Khafre pyramids.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

An open tomb. So strange to see in real life…
I am not sure if we should be doing that…

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

♫ Hieroglyphics, let me be specific. ♫

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

The entrances of the tombs were designed very low so that you would be in a bowing position the entire time you enter. R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Look at the detail in that work. The detail in the hair alone…

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Tomb entrance. They say that they can not un-earth this pyramid for fear of it crumbling.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Djoser’s Step Pyramid is the first structure made from limestone.

Touring the Pyramids of Egypt

Hieroglyphics and a small fraction of the story of Egypt. This story was one of hundreds that wrapped around a building.

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5 Responses

  1. Essie Freeh says:

    The photos of pyramids! wow….

  2. Depola says:

    Your website is great!

  3. Pat Nedved says:

    Your writing style is awesome!

  1. October 25, 2017

    Wow, am I jealous of this trip! I hope to see those pyramids some day as well!

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