Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Egypt (13) - So much hassle!

We met our guide at 09:00 after breakfast. She was a lively lady but most importantly we had her all to ourselves. The itinerary was ours to decide. We started with the Pyramids. The closer you get the bigger they get, Si had been spot on with this. She gave us a talk about the facts and figures and left us to explore. The usual array of beggars and vendors were around but I was not quite expecting the aggressiveness of this lot. They were rude, angry, pushy and we were very glad to escape them. These people are Egypt's biggest problem for tourism - we hated them.

We managed to evade most of them and headed for a walk around the pyramid. We saw 40m long pits dug for funerary boats and marvelled at how big each individual block was in the Pyramid. After the main one we went to the panorama to take pictures of all 3 together. Whilst here I met Charlie - a young and lively looking camel who, for LE30, was mine for a photo and a ride. Hey - when in Egypt!

I handed Charlie back and we head to the second pyramid. For a small fee you can enter this so K and I payed and queues up. Upon getting to the entrance it was obvious that the steep, long and 1.20m high tunnel was too small for K to be comfortable with. I bravely pressed ahead. The shaft ran down for many metres until it stopped at a higher hallway. Off this the lower chamber could be seen. I followed another small and narrow shaft up to the middle of the Pyramid. After 30m or so, maybe more I was there - the main chamber. It was vast with a pitched roof and a large sarcophagus to one end. I stayed for 5 mins taking the sight in before retracing my steps out. I have never been so hot and humid (and so cramped for space) in my entire life! What an experience though.

After the Pyramids we went to the Sphinx. We had been told it would be smaller than we expected by so many people that when we finally saw it it was much bigger than the smaller we had expected it to be :) After some photos we had time to kill so our guide took us to a small bazaar for a nose around. Lunch was on a boat on the Nile, it was mixed grill and included in the price for the guide. We watched a felucca sail past only to get in the wind shadow of one of the tall building and drift by again - he did this for nearly 45 mins.

After lunch we went to the Cairo museum. No cameras allowed :( Our guide gave us an hours walk thorough before leaving us to explore. Tut-ankh-amon's gold mask and coffin were unbelievable. Over 100 kg of pure gold and looking as new as the day it was made. After the museum we went to the famous market - Khan el-Khalili. It was like a film set. We got the usual hassle from the vendors and they liked my hat - "... you lost your horse Cowboy!" was heard more than once :)

In the evening we met B and S, the couple from Heathrow and exchanged stories. After than we met Mona, a work friend of K's who lives in Cairo but is about to move to Australia. She was a fascinating lady with lots to talk about. We ate Tex Mex and retired to bed - our last night in Egypt.

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