Cairo - Day Three

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Not to be confused with the Trapezoids of Tripoli...

Note: This has been moved into the normal “blog stream” and out of the comments…

Well, I got it out of the way: Today I went to the Giza Plateau, home of three tall, pyramidal structures that have dominated the popular consciousness for centuries… And the Sphinx. And it’s odd. Because they’re so built up as this great thing, but when you get out to the Pyramids, they’re quite large, but there’s really not much to them. Almost definitionally, I guess. I spent about 1:30 walking around them (the main two, at least, Cheops and Khafre) and went down inside of Khafre through the 4-foot-high, 75-meter-long, narrow, dark tunnel that leads in one side. But that’s about it. Then I walked down to the Sphinx. They’d closed the tour part, but I could still get close enough to see the statue well. It’s quite small compared with what I had expected. The head’s maybe 12-15 feet tall. And the head’s just slightly off-angled from the body, supporting an intriguing theory presented in my guidebook that the lion’s body predates the head piece by several millenia. They do look quite different, but then, the body had been buried beneath the earth for centuries (which adds to the smallness of the site, since it’s actually sunken into the ground up to the neck). So, interesing. I might go back some evening to see it during sunset and watch the laser light show (heh) that the guidebook cheekily recommends. Um. Otherwise. Yesterday went to the Egyptian Museum downtown and saw the antiquities there, including the Tutankhamen exhibit. I shared a table for dinner earlier tonight with two Danes who agreed with my observation that the tourist sites are basically devoid of tourists. I was one of maybe a dozen non-Arabs at the Pyramids today, for example. Mid-afternoon. I had expected the place to be clogged. So did the Danes. The baksheesh-seeking “tour guides” (who come up and just start talking to you, pointing out extremely obvious features, and then expecting tips — complaining if you don’t give enough), camel-riders, and miscelleneous Egyptians who made their money at the site vastly outnumbered the rest of us. And, once again, Josh got to learn more tricks of the trade for getting tourists to part with cash. By now I’m back in the habit of being semi-rude just to get people away, and it’s not actually as bad as, say, Petra, Jordan. Petra, as well, was more impressive on the whole than the Giza plateau. The Pyramids are undeniable, but Petra just has more fascinating stuff remaining to look at (and expectations haven’t been burned into the mind).

Anyway, my time’s about to run out on this computer, so I’ll wrap up…

More soon, I’m sure.

Hello Hey Joe

Posted Sat, July 16, 2005, 11:34pm EST by Meri

This is Meri - just wanted to tell you love the pictures! :)

More pics

Posted Sun, July 17, 2005, 2:26pm EST by Josh

Hey, howdy! I just put the first batch of Egypt pics up, so, y'know. :-)

Also (Brenna), apparently I wasn't hallucinating...