Trip to Saqqara, Dashur, and Memphis!

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

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday morning, (the new Saturday in Egypt) dawned waayyyy too early as my roommates and I got up and drug ourselves to the bus for a feild trip at 8:00am. We had arrived home from a night of fun and dancing at approx. 2:30 am the night before; therefore, no one in the group was a pretty sight.
We headed out to Saqqara, about an hour bus ride outside of Cairo, to begin the fun-filled day. The sight of interest at Saqqara is the Step Pyramid Complex of King Zosur of the Third Dynasty (aka OLD). It really is a complex with a gated entrance and pillars surrounding the perimeter of the pyramid, which looks extremely awesome in my opinion. We walked through the complex with one of the Egyptology professors who basically knows way too much information about everything in Egypt. At about 9:30am in the morning the sun started to get really hot and for the first time it actually felt like a desert...and deserts are HOT! it was only 9:30 and it felt like it was 90 degrees out.
After touring the area we stood in front of the pyramid taking pictures and getting a little crazy- Garret decided we should make a mini pyramid in front of the pyramid and somehow I ended up as the one on top. I quit gymnastics when I was six, and it blatantly shows. I made it up, but it was awkward looking and people were staring at us (I don't know why) and it took way too much energy. I also didn't know how I was going to get down until Lindley decided to let go of my leg and Garret continued to hold on- that made for a good picture of course. Good times. Then a couple of the girls proceeded to do cartwheels and handstands in front of the pyramid and we made sure we lived up to the crazy American stereotype as people continued to stare (what else is new?). Then we got back in the bus and made our way to the next city stop of Dashur. The significance of this place is...the pyramids of course! There are eleven in all, but the two most important are the ones built by King Seneferu, the father of King Khufu who built the Great Pyramid aka biggest pyramid in the world (see entry 3). We headed towards the Red Pyramid of King Seneferu which was built approx. between 2575-2551 B.C!!! Pyramids never cease to amaze the heck out of me, and this one was no different. After inhaling a packed lunch on the bus (everyone got 2 sandwiches, juice box, and chips- my PB&J was delectable) we got out and stood in the sweltering heat -it was only about 11:00am. We were given the choice to climb down into the Red Pyramid, with warnings of intense heat, little air, small spaces, and a mucho amount of climbing. But who comes to Egypt and turns down a climb inside a pyramid?? not me, heck no! So we started our walk up the pyramid to reach the opening which was located in the middle of the pyramid- we reached the opening and I was already winded. Then I bent down and began the climb into the dark narrow tunnel, clinging to the railings, with my feet searching for each slab of metal, while the rest of my body was bent down at an awkward position. It was a good long climb down, about five minutes (which is long considering the circumstances) until I finally we reached the bottom. It was immensely hot, and it smelled odd, and my legs were like jelly- but hey I made it! We walked further inside only to find an ungodly large staircase going up- we needed to climb this next in order to see the actual tomb. uh ok sure. I mean why not? After reaching the top I looked down to where the body would have been (it wasn't even there which is kind of boring) and then due to lack of good air, decided to turn right around and head back up. Excuse me- head down, then up, then down. By the time I reached the tunnel to climb back up I was using my arms on the railings to drag myself up, since my legs were spent. I finally reached the top and emerged outside. I was dripping with sweat and looked a hot mess all over- but I had just climbed a pyramid so who cares? Lindley and I stood a good ten minutes up at the top resting before we headed back down the outer steps to the bus. We then understood why they packed us two sandwiches and I immediately chowed down my second PB &J and juice box.
We rode on the bus to our next and final destination (I, in fact, was ready to go to sleep for ten hours) called Memphis, which used to be a rather grand city in ancient Egypt. The big attraction here was the unnecessarily huge statue of Ramses II. Nobody needs a statue that big of themselves, king or no king. But the only thing I remember and love about Memphis was the stray puppy we found there. While there are stray cats and dogs crawling all over Egypt, it was sad to see such a little puppy in the midst of a museum center all by himself. He was very timid and shy, and I spent the whole lecture trying to figure out how I could take him back with me,where he would sleep, how I'd fit him on the plane, etc. He was obviously hungry, so someone got an extra sandwich out of the bus and we fed it to him- a lot of historical stuff was being said to me, but I just wanted to hold the little guy in my arms. In conclusion, we had to leave, the dog had to stay (he had fleas, tics, and who knows what else) :( I'd tell you more historical facts about Memphis, but all I remember is the puppy (and the unnecessarily huge statue of Ramses II). We got back onto the bus, and it was only about 1:30pm when we started the drive back to Cairo. I now understood why we started at 8am, since by 1:30pm the heat was unbearable. We arrived back in Cairo around 2:30pm, walked off the bus, and literally every single one of us headed straight for our beds- exhausted was the understatement of the day. It was a good day overall- good PB&J sandwiches, cool pyramids, cute puppies- but moral of the story is- don't stay out until 2:30am in the morning before climbing pyramids at 8am the next day- just some words of wisdom to live by.
Next up? a trip to Siwa!! Siwa is an oasis in the Sahara Desert, about 10 hours from Cairo, near the border of Libya. This weekend is the Prophet Mohammed's birthday so we're celebrating by skipping town and relaxing in an oasis (yes, we are off of school for his birthday- I like it). Many more stories to come I'm sure :)
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Dad on

You look like you are having way too much fun! I'm jealous

Nancy Radcliffe on

What a great experience! Love reading your blog. Keep on enjoying this wonderful adventure.

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