The Great Pyramids of Giza prove to be closer to Cairo than I had ever imagined. The Pyramids loom over your head as you head down a busy road filled with houses and people going about their business. The roundabout is crazy and hectic with cars honking, cars crashing into one another before going on to their final destination. Then amidst all this madness, the Great Pyramids suddenly appear before you as if it were just another construction. An extremely large and over-powering one though.
I get off the car and look up at the Great Pyramid. It is indeed far bigger than I could have ever imagined. Stones used to build this is said to weigh on average 2.5 tonnes with some stones at the base said to weigh as much as 15 tonnes. The pyramid is perfectly symmetrical yet it was built over 5,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians had understood geometry since times past. Fascinating. I rub its rocks and am dumbfounded as to how the ancient egyptians could have imagined such a construction. They seem smarter than we who now populate this earth. I feel as if we lived in different worlds.
I walk around to the front towards the entrance to the Great Gallery. Although the original entrance is now blocked, there is a lower opening through which one can climb through. Of course who could resist having come all this way around the globe? I had to climb in. Inside I discovered a very steep upward sloping passage way 9 meters (30 feet) high. There’s light, but the area is so small and cramped its definitely not suited for those who fear heights or have trouble breathing.
The worst part is not climbing through the passage way, but how you must somehow push yourself to one side to let others coming down pass you by. I dare not think what would happen if someone lost their grip. It also becomes a dilemma as to how you should descend. Should I climb down backwards? or should I face forward and slide down on my backside. I never know. All I know is I somehow got through. Up the steep shaft, which my guidebook tells me used to be a slipway for the huge blocks that sealed the passageway, I find myself in the King’s Chamber.
This chamber, hidden far inside the pyramid, is sparse except for an empty sarcophagus. Hieroglyphics are carved into the walls but the colours have all faded and all I see around me are stone walls. It must be so quiet and dark in here when all is sealed. An oversized coffin it seems. Protected by these enormous slabs of stones and small passageways, I imagine why anyone would want to get themselves in. The desire for wealth must have been so great. Money had always been equated to power.
Outside, as I walk around the pyramids, there are of course camels for you to ride. Though probably not the best ones around, I just had to be the tourist and ride a camel. After negotiating with the camel owner, I got on and had some photos taken. It was bumpy and much like riding an elephant. You get a few pushes to the front then back and then the camel is up on its legs. The ride goes by so fast I wish I could ride it longer. If you plan on having a camel ride, I recommend paying for the ride after you get off, for if you pay before, you might have to pay again to get off the camel. Also prepare exact change, for there is most likely no change if you have large bills.
Looking at the pictures the colours of the hand embroidered camel saddle catch my eyes. They stand out against the colours of the desert sand so beautifully.
I look around me and see the sand being blown by the desert wind. It’s beautiful….the horizon grows hazy amidst the sunlight and scarfs flutter in the wind. I’m covered with sand and then in a blink of an eye, I suddenly realize why those living in desert countries wear robes. With robes, the sand just slide off your clothing whilst my western clothings, full of nooks and cranies, are filled with sand.