Check that off the bucket list!!!
Trip Start Dec 18, 2010
20Trip End Jan 04, 2011
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Met Mohammed and our tour guide, Heba in the lobby. I like her...she's about 5'2" and full of spunk!
Our trip began with the usual crazy traffic on our way to the ruins at Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt in the times of Pharo. We saw "The Alabaster Sphinx" which was just awesome, and a gigantic statue of Ramses II so big, they left it lying down when they found it and built a structure around it to keep it safe. Just awesome sights.
Then it was on to Sakkara, where we saw the famous step pyramid of Zozer (yea, Zozer, like in Ghostbusters!). This was the first tall building known to man. It was built in the 3rd dynasty of the Pharos...there were 30 dynasties. It was actually 6 mastabas (burial chambers) of decreasing size, built on top of one another, not unlike a wedding cake. They are refurbishing the walls now. They let you go down into one of the nearby pyramids...Sandy and Laura, yes...me, no...claustrophobia. Got halfway down, and said, I can't breathe, let me out of here. Then we went into the actual burial ground. Tremendous hieroglyphs!
Did I tell you it rained on us today? They get 8 inches a year and we got sprinkled on today...didn't figure it would happen in the desert.
Then it happened. Our guide, Heba, said she has been a tour guide for 30 years. She is very strict about the rules around guides...it's her profession. We were in the burial ground (which had high walls, so I had no problem with my claustrophobia) when she saw someone take a picture and someone touching the wall. She went off on the person guiding them and lectured her about "no indoor pictures" and "no touching." Apparently each picture and each touch subtracts 10 days from the life of the hieroglyph. Be that as it may, very cool place.
Heba says there are 15,000 tour guides in Egypt and many don't know what they are doing or talking about. And she's not happy about it. Guess you have to have a degree to be a tour guide and it has to be in Egypology, and you have to be Egyptian. Interesting.
We stopped by a carpet school where children between the age of 12-20 work 3 hours a day (and go to school 4 hours a day) making some beautiful carpets. The magic carpet as they call it looks one color one way and if you turn it around, it looks a different color. Very cool...very expensive...we didn't buy.
We went on to the treat of the day and one of the treats of our trip. The pyramids at Giza! We were navigating our way through the traffic when Laura turned to me and said, "Look." And there they were. They pyramids of Giza. The ones you see on TV. We parked, got out and took a ton of pictures (I know I'm torturing you!). We walked up the pyramid wall about three flights of stone (all they will allow). And it was worth every minute, every view, every picture. As cool as I had hoped they would be. The pyramids of Giza built by Pharo Khufu.
We went on to the second pyramid and the third and past it a bit, before coming to an area with a lot of camels. Yep, we did the tourist thing and rode them...complete with pictures. Great time!
Then it was on to the sphinx! It was as awesome as I had imagined as well. Great pictures.
After another buying opportunity at a papyrus and gold/silver dealer...we did buy some things there, it was back to our hotel fighting the traffic all the way. Great driver...he'll get a good tip tomorrow.
With no lunch, we had an appetizer in the bar...and happy hour (2 for1) drinks! The girls went on up while I went to another restaurant in the hotel for another appetizer...babaganou (eggplant dish...very good!). Back to the room and wrote this update.
Tomorrow, we tackle the Cairo Museum...and more. What an awesome trip. Check the Pyramids off the bucket list!!!