Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cairo. It's got pyramids (Thursday, May 27)

They are grand, they are awesome, they are crawling with tourists. They - we - ruin everything. Seriously. The breath and sweat and dirty hands of tourists create a fungus inside many of the tombs and pyramids that erode the stone and muddy the carvings and paintings. And still, these structures are awesome. Gabe and I agree – once he builds me a Taj Mahal, I’ll get started on his Great Pyramid.

The step pyramid – one of the red, white, and black pyramids – was basically a practice round. It is the world's EARLIEST stone structure. Unbelievable.

The Red Pyramid. It rises up out of the middle of nowhere, part of a collection of pyramids in Dahshur that includes the Bent and the Black Pyramid. The oldest true pyramid.

We climbed up the side of the pyramid, to then crawl down an equally steep tunnel into the pyramid, which is damp and smells like old, wet bathroom. It is claustrophobic and scary and totally worth it.

Giza and the Sphinx. How to explain? The Great Pyramids are enormous, gorgeous pieces of antiquity, overlooking the smog of a giant African city. The tourist police expect baksheesh, or tips, for just standing around in uniform. The kids with camels expect baksheesh if you say no to a ride. The locals standing around the entrances and in key spots around the pyramids expect baksheesh for “letting” you access (after you’ve paid atrocious official entrance fees). It’s gross. And still, amazing.

No comments:

Post a Comment