"" Writer's Wanderings: Giza, The Pyramids

Monday, September 25, 2023

Giza, The Pyramids


As we drove to the next stop at the Pyramids, I looked out at all the camels and their owners. Some were riding across sand dunes and at one point there was a Christmas card moment with three of them on a hill silhouetted against a blue sky. Soon enough though, we were back in a midst of cars and buses and vans vying for a spot to stop. Of course any spot worked since there were no lines spaces. I guess with all the sand, lines would have disappeared quickly anyway.

The guide had handed out tickets to several of the guests who were brave enough to want to venture into the pyramid. Apparently you can go into any of the three large pyramids but it is less crowded and less expensive to do one of the smaller ones. Today however with it being Friday and the place as crowded as it was, it was going to take some time for those going in to stand in line and then make the journey. Again we had a time limit of thirty minutes. I think she knew it would take more but at least she would get some of us back earlier.

We had passed on the idea of going inside the pyramid long before we’d boarded the bus in the morning. The ship had offered several sessions of explanation about the excursion and of course there were always the comments of those who’d gone before. The passage to the inner room (which has nothing in it) was said to be narrow and with a very low ceiling. One person in the Q&A about the excursion had described it as a crab walk. No matter, we didn’t relish the idea of feeling claustrophobic in a tomb. We passed.

There was a bit of a walkway to this pyramid but somehow we missed it and ended up weaving in and out of camels who were resting, waiting for their next rider. The walkway had a double chain stretched from post to post and when we got to it, we looked both ways and decided we’d better go back to find the beginning of it. A nice Egyptian gentleman in robe and kaffiyeh (cloth headdress) offered to lift the top chain so I could pass between them without having to climb over both. Wasn’t that nice? Hmmm.

We were no sooner on the walkway than he was handing us plastic bags with material inside and telling us it was a welcome to Egypt gift. Then he proceeded to open one and place the white cloth on top of Bob’s head, tie it and anchor it with a band. He started to do it for me and I backed him off. He did however say that he was selling them for his children and could we give him something. I reached into the pocket of my purse and tried to hand him about three or four Euro coins. He insisted I had a twenty in my purse. “No,” I said, “I only have a five and I showed him.” He took it and said he was sure there was a twenty in my purse. I must have been tired. I shook my head and said no only another five.

Tombs of the builders of pyramids

This nice gentleman took my other five before I could think about how stupid I was. Then he knew I had those coins and asked for one, “For my children.” He smiled nicely the whole time and we walked away with postcards and the two kaffiyehs that probably weren’t worth the ten dollars. Bob hadn’t brought more than $15 and some Euro change so we weren’t souvenir shopping any more.

We walked up to the pyramid as close as we could get without being hassled by camels and hawkers. (Boy, I thought the Caribbean was bad.) Finally we gave up on a close personal touch and walked over to another spot where we could get a selfie for posterity with the other pyramid in the background.

It was getting pretty warm, hot in the sun, so we started back to the bus. Thankfully there was a gentle breeze blowing so at least there was air circulating and the humidity was low. If the breeze had been more though, we’d have been really dusty from the sand.

We sat on the bus and waited for those who’d ventured into the pyramid. Some said it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be. Others came back talking of how hot it was but worth the trip. Maybe I’d have thought about it a few years ago but I rather enjoyed viewing the pyramid from the outside.

I haven’t mentioned yet that among the camels and horses there were also plenty of merchants set up with the usual souvenirs for a dollar or two or three. I liked the answer one guy in our group had. When asked if he’d like a wooden souvenir he said, “No mate. Can’t take wood back into Australia.”

I turned to him and said, “Boy, I could be Australian.”

“You wish!” he said with a chuckle. Ah, Aussie humor.

Next: The Sphinx

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