>Pharaonic journeys – day 3

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Ok, so now we come to the real beginning of my travels in these amazing lands… after a couple of days in Cairo to get a feel for the modern Egypt, it was now time for me to begin the journey into the heart of what this land once was – the home of a civilisation that in my humble opinion may well have been one of the greatest in history and one of histories greatest losses…

We start with a day trip out to Giza to see the 3 great pyramids and the famous Sphinx that has stsood tall and proud, surveyor of time and silent sentinal and witness to the rise and fall of civilisations.
(Note: as always, to really enjoy the shots, click on and enlarge the photos. cheers..)
When first making your way up to the 3 great pyramids, its a magnificent sight, but to actually stand at the foot of these monilothic structures is a most humbling experience. No amount of words can truly do justice to the sheer power, majesty and beauty of these testaments to mans potential. Even in this modern and advanced day and age, we can barely begin to guess at how they were constructed all those millenia ago.

Scientists and architects have long debated how these wonders were constructed, many theories have been given, for eg: one says that they built massive circular ramp-like frames and then used them to haul the massive 2+ tonne blocks on; another theory suggests they built huge earth mounds which they used to slide the blocks up – but in the end there is no conclusive proof of any singular theory. In point of fact, theyre not even really sure how the blocks were carried over those huge distances to Giza to begin with; sure they say they were shipped by the Nile, but so far there has been no find of any sunken boats or blocks in the Nile itself – I ask you, what are the odds that they carried ALL those many, many massive stone blocks and didnt lose even one along the way? Boggles the mind dont it?

Anyhow, the 3 pyramids were my first targets for years, all else is optional. I was allowed into the middle pyramid, but again as is a problematic rule here, no camera! So, after getting an abundance of shots from the outside, down I plunged into this (barely) 4 foot by 4 foot passage that dropped straight down at I think about a 45 degree angle for quite a distance, and then had to clamber up a slightly steeper passage that felt even smaller for a longer distance – until finally I was in the heart of it all! There I was in the centre of this awesome artifact, in the kings burial chamber (emptied of course!)! So I stood around and waited patiently for the few others in with me to depart and then sat on the cool stones near the stone sargcophagus that had once held royalty. On an urge, I climbed into it and lay down… I actually wish Id had a camera for that shot… sigh… So anyway, after I was done and satiated, I made my way back to the outside world. Incidentally, the top of the pyramids (as you can see here) still carries the original outer layer of limestone which at one time entirely covered them from top to bottom. I tremble and disappear in thought as I imagine what it might have been like to imagine them in all their lost glory…
There was also a small structure near them that was closed to the public which housed the remains of the ceremonial barge they had recovered, which had been used to carry the dead pharaoh to his rest. Sorry again, no photo possible.. 😦

Moving some distance away from the pyramids, to a small rise we found what is the tourist trap marketplace where they charge you 2-3 times the price for stuff that you get all over the country. More interestingly, this was where they gave camel rides to those interested. Now moving away from all the clamour, I found a spot that gave me some excellent shots of all three pyramids – in fact I loved it because it gave me the open desert and the pyramids. As you might notice in this shot, with the lone camel rider it almost feels like it might be a picture of a different era, but if you look closely its got the city of Cairo visible in the distance. I loved this because its a picture that captures the past and the present all in one.

Next there was the the great Sphinx, the great lion with a human visage… Still after all this time, through tides of sand, wind and the ages and even being shot at with weapons of destruction, it stands proud. Again, like the pyramids themselves, its so hard to describe it. Why was it built? What is its significance? Is it meant to show us something, maybe house something? Or was it just something built on the whims of a god-king? But in the end, whatever it was meant to be, it remains a marvel to look at, a true thing of beauty. This particular picture was one of my favourite shots of the trip, (and believe me there were LOTS!) it took me forever to line it up and get the right focus and exposure for the lighting and to fit just enough of it in.

Even now there is constant reconstruction activity on and around the Sphinx and the pyramids, this much I’ll say, I have loads of respect for the Egyptians (as with the Turkish) for the care and love with which they preserve every part of their heritage. Unlike most cultures that preserve more as a show thing or for the collectors who truly care, these are people that do not follow or believe any of the things that made up those ancient societies, yet they understand that was where they came from, its a part of them and so to be kept and remembered and honoured. (and of course the pots of tourism income helps that commitment a tad)

Once we were all done with this magnificent site, we had some time and daylight left, so moved ahead to the site of the oldest pyramid ever made (no these arent them!) which is being restored and worked on. By size its smaller than the others but despite it all, is still impressive and more so simply because its older then the rest.

The last stop for the day was to whats left of the famed city of Memphis (no not the one in bloody Tennessee, that was Elvis!), though sadly there is little of the city itself left any longer. What was once such a major centre of the Egyptian civilisation is now no more than a small open museum housing its remnants. It goes without saying of course that the artefacts themselves are amazing, but its very sad nonetheless… one of the things of note here is a small alabaster sphinx, though i think its really not all that impressive, so instead Im putting this picture that I think is a whole lot nicer! (oh yeah, thats my sis standing like she’s in the firing line! :P)

Well, there it is! My first big day in Egypt! After such a long day trekking through the sand in the desert heat and through the humid and hot pyramid and all that, it was time to lay back with some simple local foods, a couple of chilled Zakara’s (yes, I really liked it a lot as you can tell!) and call it a night before getting started with what was to be one really fast paced and intense trip over the next few days…

Till next time folks, Cheers…
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10 Comments Add yours

  1. mystic rose says:

    >these pics are awesome! and wonderful write ups, enjoyed reading this and the previous one.

  2. Renovatio says:

    >Fine, I’ll admit it. But there has to be more. Much much more. I’ll be more than happy to read it all if you put it all up.

  3. The Dude says:

    >mystic rose:Im glad you liked the pics so much, I had a total blast taking them! if you saw the number of them I have youll realise how completely I lost it there! If you enjoyed this so far, stick around, theres lots more to come!renovatio:dude, I am truly and honestly thankful – I humbly acknowledge your humble/grudging acknowledgement! And dont fret, theres much, much more yet to go – like I said in this post “we’re just gettin started!”cheers…

  4. Smita says:

    >I remember being interested in Egypt as a kid – while reading Tintin and the Cigars of the Pharoah. With all the mad potions and maharajas. Your pics give me more reason to want to go there ;D

  5. Aditi says:

    >the great pyramids are on my list of must see places too…i cant believe u actually got into the sarcophagus…

  6. >you’re not back from egypt yet?? oh how in envy thee! but this is perfect then coz now you can listen to the clapton song atop the sand under the moonlight. how fantastic!lemme know how you liked it. and thanks for dropping by. 😉

  7. The Dude says:

    >smita:glad to be of assistance! you wanna know anything, please feel free to ask. and i still read tintin all the time.. ;)aditi:i know! i cant believe it either, but there you have it.hobo:oh im back actually.. came back, went for the aerosmith concert and now back to the old grind, but egypt remains fresh and strong in my mind.. im just really lazy thats why this is all delayed :)but ill check it out and get back to you!Cheers…

  8. >So tell me honestly, how many people did you fight with to be allowed to shoot? lol..It happened to me way too mahy times, ‘and just WHY can’t I click pictures?’

  9. Isha says:

    >Omg there are a million things i wanna say to you .. my heads gonna burst… neway ill just start in the sequence they popped into my head.. hoping they’ll all be in place…first of all the message you left on my blog.. >> Whoa so deep!!then the id itself .. the dude.. strangely hot for some reason i cant yet decipherthen thers the “about me” where you vaguely abstractly discussed placement and displacement and the queens undies…oh and on the multiverse hitch hiker ..i feel like that too the length of your posts.. breathtaking the fact tht you travel to awesome places like egypt.. envy arousing

  10. The Dude says:

    >lostlittlegirl:hey… i did my share of ass whooping for these prizes. actually i just smooth talked them into letting me take pictures wherever i could and where i couldnt (like at the museum), i just sneakily took a couple a shots ;)isha:wow, thanks, lemme answer one at a time…first, glad you liked the comment i left, always happy to help..second, thanks loads for that – i like my nickname too and the about me is just too much fun! :Dim happy you enjoyed the post, stop by anytime, there are gonna be lots more of these (among others)..i dont always get to travel to these places, its expensive, but if you really want to see a place, then when the opportunity arises you jump at it… hope you get the chance to do the same..cheers…

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