Pyramids and Camels- American Style

Trip Start Jan 22, 2010
Trip End May 29, 2010

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Flag of Egypt  ,
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This past Saturday marked the big trip to the Giza Pyramids that I'dbeen waiting for for so long! It was nothing short of surreal, majestic, andamazing. I had seen so many pictures and videos of the pyramids before I came, and to see it in real life- well I literally couldn't believe it. We took ashort 20 minute bus ride to Giza and were still cruisin down the main road when….oh hey!There’s a pyramid out my window! They are so close to the city and streets of Giza! Itis fascinating to see the Desert and then right outside the entrance see a Pizza Hutand Kentucky Fried Chicken (I’m never too far from home) along with the regular Cairo crowds and pollution.

I’m prettysure my mouth was hanging open from the minute we arrived until the minute wepulled away. It was around 9:30am in the morning and for some ungodly reason itwas COLD! Last time I checked, I was in the Sahara Desert and could have sworndeserts were hot. Wearing my fleece jacket and shivering kinda ruined the imageof me hiking and sweating in the bright sun around the desert like aprofessional Middle Eastern nomad. It was extremely windy and cloudy as well- Iwore my sunglasses all day- not because it was sunny (nope not in the desert)but because it kept the sand from blowing into my eyes- a rather unpleasant feeling in case you were wondering. Wewalked over and in front of my very eyes was the largest pyramid in all ofEgypt and one of the last remaining seven wonders of the world. In pictures each block looks so small-up close they are bigger than me and weigh about 15 TONS each- there are about2.8 million of these blocks in the entire pyramid. I am stunned to know howmany men and how much labor this would have taken, especially without anytechnology, metal, or steel of any kind. Even today while there are many theories, no one is 100% positive as tohow Khufu’s Pyramid was built without collapsing in on itself and retaining the ability to stand 4,000 years later. Absolutely genius, these Egyptians. I had to hold myselfback from climbing up, and from going inside the entrance. You can go inside, butwe were not able to unfortunately. We moved on over to the mini pyramidsresiding along the eastern side of the Great Pyramid- these were tombs for someof the people associated with Khufu the Pharoah, but obviously not as deservingof a large scale monument. It was in these smaller ones we were able to descenddown into and look around inside the tomb. I can honestly say I am still physically recovering from this endeavor. When I say descend, I mean descend- whilecrouching down in a tiny narrow hole, with no steps, only little metal slabs toplace your feet on as you climb down. Luckily there were railings for me to gripthe life out of, as well. It was stifling hot and when we finally reached thetomb…well it was just that- a tomb. A hollow room inside the pyramid for a dead body- luckily the body was gone but once a creepy tomb always a creepytomb. We were told not to take photos down there, so we naturally startedsnapping away. We each posed on the ladder before we made the long hard trekback up. Thankfully I do not haveclaustrophobia, but I was about to develop it if I didn’t get out of the narrowtunnel very soon. When I reached the top – my legs felt like jelly and I’m prettysure they invented new muscles to use. After more touring (we went inside the same tomb as Obama did when hewas in Egypt- he noticed a heirolgyphic that resembles himself and commented on it excitedly- thishieroglyphic character is now famous, thus, I took a picture). We trekked overto an area where you are able to see a panoramic view of all three of the greatpyramids and did the most touristy things possible. Such as- picture with myfinger touching the top of the pyramid J Next on the agenda- CAMEL RIDES! The camels were simply relaxing around one areawith their Middle Eastern owners, waiting for their next customer. I was ledover to my camel and a young boy held out a stirrup for me to climb up- this iswhile the camel was sitting. He told me to "Hold tight, lean back, hold tightlean back!" And up the camel went- all of a sudden I was higher than high. Each person in our group had their own camel and the guides hooked us together and we began ourride into the desert. First thing we did- go downhill. First thing I did-dropmy new camera in the sand where it waited to be smashed by the oncoming camelfeet. Luckily, after hearing my cries, a little boy found it, picked it up andgave it to the boy walking with my camel- he kindly held onto it for theduration of my ride- I was a lucky girl. While riding my camel and looking outinto the endless sand and desert in front of me and riding so high above theground, I truly felt as though this is what life is all about- life is all aboutexperiences like this that make you feel blissful and happy to be alive. We had about a half hourride, and on our way back the guides decided we were pretty good with thecamels and gave us the rein while they walked nearby. While doing this Ilaughed with Rebecca who’s camel was sniffing my camel’s butt and heard someonesay "Yella!" (this means Let’s go! In Arabic and is one of my favorite thingsto say) so I decided to loudly say "Yella! Yella! Yella!" Unfortunately camelsknow Arabic and mine started to go at a galloping pace as I clung on and said "just kidding! just kidding!" My camel guide was able to slow himdown and then took the rein from my hand and did the rest of the way himself.Needless to say this was the most exciting and amazing experience I have ever had in my life.

Next we walkeddown to see the Great Sphinx- very cool! There were a number of straychildren wondering around asking for money or selling things to tourists formoney or taking pictures for a nice tip. I have no self control when it comes tobegging children and I was snagged by a young boy who offered to take mypicture. One picture turned into six and then I got annoyed. I said enough,took my camera back and gave him one Egyptian pound. He looks disgusted at meand says “what is this? This is nothing. After all those nice pictures madam.One pound? One pound?! Then I was really annoyed and grabbed it back and said“ok fine, if you don’t want it, I’ll take it.” Then he followed me around,wouldn’t leave me alone, until we were about to leave and he finally agreed totake the pound rather than be left with nothing. One thing I’ve learned in Egypt is how the kids in thestreet can manipulate you very quickly, the little con artists. They are too cute and too cunning. This ended my crazy exauhsting, exhilarating day at the pyramids- a mostamazing experience that will go down in Ann history. Now it is Tuesday, and mylegs continue to be unnaturally sore after my climb + camel ride, and I hobbleawkwardly down stairs, and around the city. Buuut I’m pretty sure it was worthit! J
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Ashton on

hahaha The leg soreness is bad isn't it! Now you know how I feel after starting gymnastics again!
Duuude that is seriously hilarious that the camel knew to go fast after you said "yella". bahaha Wish you could have snapped a video of yourself in some way!

AMD on

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is totally amazing! I love the stories and the pictures are incredible-- I can see how this was the most amazing thing you've ever done, and just think, it is only the beginning :0 hope the classes are going well and that you are feeling more and more at home!

Elise on

Ahhh these pictures are amazing! I still can't believe you're over there experiencing all of this! Live it up, girl, and have the time of your life while you're there :)

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