March 09, 2011

In Egypt, the living were subordinate to the dead

In Egypt, the living were subordinate to the dead. Stephen Gardiner

12 September 2010

First main stop of Egypt was Giza and the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

As we drove along the east bank to cross the Nile our guide was giving us a detailed rundown on the history of who built the pyramids. Khefru having built the biggest one, his son the second and his grandson the third. The first, like in many things is the biggest and the third is the smallest. It is thought the grandson ran out of time to finish building his pyramid though there are six smaller tombs for his wives.

Great Pyramid

This photo is taken at about 50 odd meters from the base of the pyramid.

Looking back to the Great Pyramid from the walkway to the Sphinx

We were allowed to climb part of the way up the first pyramid so we all took off to get as many pictures as possible. A few times the tourist police blew their whistles for people to come away but on the whole it wasn’t much. Ange and I look so excited in the pictures.
Ange and I on the Pyramids
Keepers to the Inner Tomb
Staring Me, Helen, Agnes, Ange, Sean, and Tambi

Bruno, Agnes & Random Dude who wouldn't get out of my picture.
The tour guide then took us up to a panoramic point where you can take all sorts of silly pictures holding, pushing or tipping the pyramids over. Some people in our group, I think were very creative in what they came up with. I took a photo for Sean and Tambi with Ange acting the fool in the background trying to get her arms held right.

It was good to go as early as we did cause while there were a lot of people it wasn’t too bad.
Panoramic view. You can see by the "tinting" how bad the poultion is.
Feeling weary in the heat
Pushing them back into the ground
Walk like an Egyptian, way oh way oh!!!
The tour came back to the second pyramid. A lot of the group had decided to climb inside. I didn’t go because there is nothing left inside and you can’t take any photos. Ange and I went instead to have a look at Khefru’s solar ships. The ship that was supposed to carry him around the afterlife for all eternity.

It cost 50LE to get in or about $6 Australian. When you’re inside they give you canvas booties to put over your shoes. I overheard people say is was ironic for the ship to be buried under sand for a thousand years only to be protected from it like this, now. Only this is, while sand is abrasive, out of it you have sunlight and humidity to deal with too.

The ship itself is incredibly well preserved. It’s also huge! 100 and something meters. Really quite astounding.

On our way to the ship Ange and I had a street vendor come up to us offering “gifts” of “traditional” Egyptian headdresses. Right on queue his mate rode up on a camel and they wanted to take pictures. Once this was done they started demanding baksheesh for the camel even though we’d told them from the start there was no money. I ripped my headdress off and threw it at the guy, called for Ange to do the same as I was walking off and told the vendor and camel guy to f*!k right off.

Rear of the Solar Boat.
From the front
We caught up with the tour and continued on around to the Sphinx. The Sphinx is exquisite. You see it so many times on the tv and in books and it never seems quite real. Then, when you’re standing there, almost physically next to it, the feeling becomes even more surreal. I really wanted to just stand and stare at it. To look at it for the incredible piece of monument that it is and have no one else around to talk or interrupt. The Sphinx is still one of my favourite Egyptian icons.

All of this we did in the space of roughly three hours.

From here we went to a traditional Egyptian perfumer. They brought us hibiscus tea, we watched glass blowing and sampled some of the various scents. I ended up buying the Egyptian version of Issy Miaki. Beautiful and really cheap. 75LE so about $10 Australian.

All of this done, we went to lunch in a pretty flash restaurant. Buffet style with plenty of food to choose from. After lunch we packed up and started driving out into the Western desert.

It took a couple of hours to drive and reach the spot and when we arrived it really wasn’t that exciting a location.

About halfway through my group (team K.BAB) cooking the evening meal the wind really picked up and the sand was flying every where. It was in our eyes, our hair, the food. It was miserable. I ended up sleeping on the floor of the truck cause I could be arsed dealing with it. Ange went out into the wilderness with the others.

From Ange

My adventure into the sand. It was a split decision – sleep on the truck over two seats (cramp city) or suck it up. I sucked it up – along with a lungful of sand. I grabbed my sleeping bag and hiked off into the desert with my little head torch, trying to keep up with Helen. It didn’t take long to climb over the sand dune and slide down the other side to our campsite. The boys had set out the mats and started a fire, it was all very cosy. It seemed to all die down until halfway through the night when the wind picked up again. I copped a mouthful of sand, spluttered it out, rolled over and went back to sleep. I woke up in the morning to find I’d slipped about two meters down the hill and about a kilo of Sahara sand dispersed through all my belongings. There was sand in places there should never be sand. It took me ages to walk back to the truck. About 700 miles – miles? Meters (There’s still sand in my brain). Sand is hard in thongs.


  1. Oh my goodness, I am completely in love with the solar ship...i have never encountered anything like it!

    (Please tell me that the 'b' in Tambi isn't silent, cuz that is one awesome name! I wanna keep saying it out loud on repeat.)

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