The Pyramids are on most everyone’s bucket list. When we were ending our time in Nepal and looking for our next destination, we were thinking of India. Upon closer investigation, we realized that the super-hot season was on and I’m not my best in 100 plus degrees (everyone who knows me can attest to that!!). We decided to go another route and catch India and possibly Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia in the Fall. So, Egypt was a great trajectory, the weather is very pleasant in May and….the Pyramids were calling.
Arrival in Cairo was one of the most difficult ever. Not to be dramatic but, we arrived at 3:00am and it was complete chaos. People everywhere, shouting, pushing, no sense of a queue….Quite unsettling for a sleep deprived, sign following, rule abiding American. However…embrace where you are, right?
We made our way through immigration whilst watching the extremely clever methods of line breaking. Really fascinating, honestly. Every now and again shouting would break out but it was usually between two of the airport security guards…disagreeing on what? I have no idea. An hour and a half later, we were heading to baggage claim. In view of the situation in the Immigration line…you can imagine this free-for-all.
After gathering our bags, considering the time and the local customs involving “who’s next”, we decided to call an Uber. We hiked for half a mile to the Uber pick up point and met a super nice young driver with great English. Score!! It’s now about 5:00am and we breathed a sigh of relief. Safe in an Uber and hotel-bound. We were staying near the Pyramids so the travel time was about 40 minutes…on paper.
The highway has no lines therefore no lanes. The highway has no rules….the highway has no lights…the highway is a scary place. Egyptians laugh about this and acknowledge it as a way of life….or death, as it seemed in the early morning hours. One and one half hours later, after several wrong turns, we finally made it to our hotel. Most of that time, I spent clinching my entire body and reviewing the beautiful things that had happened to me in my life, all the people I love…because I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it to my destination in one piece. If you’ve read my other blog posts, you’ll see I’m not prone to high drama… (at least not in my writing…lol) believe me friends…this was frightening.
Morning bread delivery, Cairo style!
After a good night’s sleep, things looked brighter and Ancient History was on the menu. We engaged ArchAngel tours and a beautiful guy, Mina Medhat picked us up for our tour. We headed to the Pyramids and on the way were given so many great insights into Cairo, the culture, the different religions of the area and the fact that the motorway was beyond understanding…even for the locals!!
The Pyramids began to appear in the distance and as you might expect, got bigger, and bigger and bigger. Soon they were towering over us as we stood at the base.
We learned from Mina the theories about their construction, the players in the game at that time and the general conditions of the country and culture 4500 years ago. Another moment where the history books come alive and you realize these were real people, living their lives and creating something that would endure for eons.
We took some time just to look and try to feel the magnitude of this undertaking and it was overwhelming. There is a palpable feeling of the past interacting with the present….or maybe I was just really personally moved by the whole experience.
The Sphinx was our next visit and she is much more majestic in real life that a photograph can convey.
She’s 73 meters from paw to tail. With the body of a lion and the head of a human, she is dramatic. The question that comes to mind, as soon as you see her is, where is her nose?? The conclusion seems to be that a ruler of the time was angered because the peasants were making offerings to the Sphinx in hopes for a good harvest. He had his men drive long rods into her nose and pull it off. He was later hanged for vandalism. There’s also the Napoleon Bonaparte theory…that he blew her nose off with a cannonball but, there are many renderings of her way before his time so that explanation seems unlikely. In any case…she is all that!!!!!
Mina and I at the Great Pyramid
The rest of our time was spent exploring the city and just feeling the pulse of things. Our visit to a Papyrus factory was amazing. We watched as they took fresh reeds and made them into what was the paper of ancient times. So cool and of course all done by hand. We were then able to see lots of gorgeous Papyrus Art and I couldn’t resist buying a few pieces. It’s like a coming together of history and art and will be a great memory of Egypt. I’m not buying many things along the way because of the length of the trip and the weight of my suitcases.
This however, conveniently rolls into a tube and nestled nicely in my bag! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it….
The final segment in Cairo was a visit to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. The treasures of King Tut are displayed here as well as Mummys, crypts and an overwhelming amount of artifacts dating back 5000 years. I’ll let the photos do the talking.
The three Amigos…old school!
Cairo was an amazing glimpse into Ancient History and they have done such a great job in modern times of preserving their treasures. I feel so lucky to have been able to see the Pyramids and the beautiful Sphinx. I sincerely hope Egypt can keep growing a better economy for the people and keep senseless terrorism at bay…after all, they are the caretakers of something larger than all of us.