We left Israel after midnight and hopped a flight to Cairo. Our hotel was beautiful, but we hardly used it… we slept a little bit and then met up with our tour guide, Mohammed. First stop: The Great Pyramid of Giza! For years, it’s what I’d really wanted to see! I had told myself years ago that with all these trips to Israel, I MUST make it to Cairo to see the pyramids. This trip I persisted — and even though it meant a little less time to spend in Israel, it was so worth it. Interestingly, a lot of my Israeli friends scared me a bit with stories of security. That made me a little nervous… but when I finally got to Egypt, it was just fine. In Israel, I feel comfortable to tour by myself and set my own itinerary (after I all, part of my job in the army was being a tour guide.) In Egypt, it was nice to follow someone else’s itinerary, meet a guide, learn and just take it all in. (Not to mention have transportation and hotels all taken care of.) I really loved the pyramids. There was a moment when I said to myself I have to remember everything I see here because there’s no telling when — or if — I’ll ever be back again.
We weren’t allowed to take cameras into the Great Pyramid, so I’ll have to settle with describing what it was like inside. We had to climb up a tunnel to the death room housing the cercophogus that once held the mummy, here. (King Cheyops, I think.) The tunnel was uncomfortable and difficult to climb. We had to walk up on a diagonal in a very small space in which we couldn’t stand up. So basicly, you’re pretty much hunched over for most of the time until you get to the big room. It was quite clostrophobic and could be a bit scary if you were trying to climb up the tunnel and then you saw someone coming down in your direction. There was a lot of squeezing through and touching. Once we finally got to our destination, I remember feeling relief and awe. From the tunnel, we walked into a big, dark room. At first, we couldn’t see anything and had to rely on our sense of touch to feel the size of the room. It was cold and comfortable (especially compared to the extreme heat outside. We’re in the desert, after all) and I remember thinking we were probably breathing 3,000 year old pyramid air. Grace and I took a seat on the opposite side of the cercophogus. We both told each other later that it was a little creepy to sit next to what was essentially a coffin. That cercaphogus was the only thing in the room besides the people. After a while, our eyes began to adjust. Our guide Mohammed, who was waiting for us outside, had told us about the “Power of the Pyramid.” It has something to do with the energy of the stones and the pyramid shape. We decided to sit and try to meditate for a few moments, but I wasn’t that good at concentrating. More and more people shuffled in and out of the room. Many talked and commented before finding a spot to sit on the floor against a wall. As our eyes adjusted, it became amusing watching the tourists. Some didn’t seem to notice they were breaking the silence in an otherwise quiet room — or a room that was meant to be an eternal resting spot for a king. Grace and I whispered to each other that it sort of felt like we were invading someone’s privacy in their bedroom. It was interesting to watch others as their eyes adjusted and see their reaction to the room. It was a really powerful moment. After all, we were inside the Great Pyramid! Had we not been in good health able to climb inside, there’s no way we would’ve been able to sit here. I was thankful for my health and physical ability to climb. We sat for a while. Part of the reason we weren’t in a rush to leave was first of all, we were in awe being there. The other reason was we weren’t looking forward to the narrow climb down. Plus, it felt good to sit. The hot sun can really zap your energy. Neither of us watched the clock. When we finally made it down, Mohammed told us we made him a little nervous because we sat there for 45 minutes. He said he kept seeing people come out who had climbed in after us and was wondering what happened. What happened was, we were feeling the moment. This video (below) was shot quickly on our way out as we exited the pyramid and ran to our next educational location on the site.
This is the boat that took the body of the King up the Nile river to his final resting spot. What’s amazing about this boat is that it’s made of wood — wood that still survived after thousands of years! Grace says, that’s like finding actual food that was eaten back then. Wood is one of those things that generally doesn’t survive thousands of years. I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised — after all, this is the country that’s home to the ancient mummies…. we’ll get to that, later.
Another Pyramids View
In Giza there are 3 pyramids of the Kings and 6 pyramids of the Queens. There are many, many more throughout the country. This is a viewing point in Giza. At this point, I was still amazed to be where I was and to have covered so much ground so far on this crazy trip.
This is a view of the Sphinx, which is located on the other side of the Great Pyramid — like a guard dog of sorts, protecting the Pharoah in his afterlife, at his eternal resting spot.
This restaurant was incredible. Andrea’s restaurant, not far from Giza. Yum! Amazing.
A private moment to blog and wrap up my thoughts of the past couple of days.