Yesterday, I repeated a story about eating Pizza Hut pizza at the Pyramids. Well, there's a follow up:
We were in Egypt, and like I said, I had no clue where anything was in relationship to anything else. We had toured the Cairo Museum (it was great!) ... and we were going over to the Pyramids.
Let me tell you first that the Pyramids are huge. I'd seen pictures on TV and in movies and such. They looked like, well, pyramids. But, when you are actually seeing them for the first time, it's amazing. I had mentioned that we saw them on the bus ride into Cairo. Actually, the bus ride was to Giza, and then to Cairo. But I couldn't tell when Giza ended and Cairo started. We were in a city with three huge Pyramids, took a left turn, crossed a bridge, and were in Cairo. That little thing called the Nile River is all I could see separating the two. It's like one town with a river running through it.
Anyway, after we finished the Museum, we crossed the bridge back to the Pyramids. We knew we were going that way because the name of the road was "Avenue of the Pyramids." That was the first clue. Plus, those big-ass pyramids taking up all the sky.
We stopped and ate at a local restaurant. If you read yesterday's post, you know what I ate. But others ate something at that restaurant. Anyway, after lunch, we took the buses over to the Pyramids. We got off and stood outside, looking at those big piles of rock. And that's all they are: big rocks. Actually, they are big stones. Cut stones. And each stone is huge. And they are stacked up, until they reach a point. And that's your basic huge-ass pyramid.
There were fellows riding camels around the Pyramids. I had a camera with me and stood back as far as I could in order to take a picture of the Pyramids. Well, the camel-riders just kept riding around. So I moved over to one side to get them out of the picture. I just wanted a picture of the Great Pyramid.
Well, no such luck. The camel-riders turned Clyde and rode right into the picture. So I watched for a while and noticed something. You know how every image you have ever seen of the Pyramids includes folks riding camels by the Pyramids? Think about it. Every picture or TV clip has them. That's why I thought the Pyramids were in the middle of the desert, because you needed to get there by camel. Nope. The guys were selling camel rides. Really.
What they were doing was riding back and forth waiting for some sap with money in his pocket to come by, then offer them a camel ride. And I made a mis-statement a bit ago. They don't sell camel rides. They give them away. A free gift to their "new friends from the USA, Hi-ho, Silver." Yes, that's an actual quote. So, I took them up on their offer of a free ride.
So I rode a camel around the Pyramid. When it was over, since I had accepted a free gift from him, he wanted a free gift from me. A green picture of a dead president would fit the bill, I discovered.
Anyhow, after the camel ride, I got into a group to go up inside the Great Pyramid. So, we climbed about a third of the way up the outside of the Pyramid, to an opening. Then we stooped down and went inside to an area where we could stand up and walk around. Some Egyptian was playing tour guide and said a group of us could go up further inside. We had to stoop down and duckwalk up an elevated passageway. About half-way up, we could stand up, then we had the option to go on further. So, we duckwalked even further up another passageway.
Now, I don't know if you have ever thought about Ancient Egyptian Electricians, but I don't think they existed. Some 20th century folks had run some electric wires inside the Pyramid, but, like everything else, it needs repair from time to time. It was repair day. So, it was dark. Some of us had chem-lights. I think you can buy similar things and they are called light-sticks or something. Anyway, we had a few -- very few -- of those for light. I was younger and actually pretty healthy and fit then, so I lead the way, duckwalking up a long passageway into heart of the Great Pyramid.
When we got to the top, it was pitch black. I didn't have a light, but some were coming behind me. I stood up and felt along the wall on my left. I slowly inched along, feeling the wall and shuffling along the floor. Still dark. After several tentative steps, I grew a little bolder, taking larger steps and moving further. Others came in, some with chem-lights. They stood back waiting for their eyes to get adjusted to the dark. I continued moving along, then felt the edge of the wall. Instead of reaching an inside corner, I had reached an outside corner. The wall on my left angled 90 degrees to the left. So I felt around the corner and stepped onto ... nothing.
The ground wasn't there! I had already committed to the step and couldn't stop. I was in an Ancient Egyptian Pyramid, it was dark, and the floor had disappeared. Every trap that Indiana Jones had ever encountered came to my mind. I was going to fall into a grave-robbers trap and never see anyone again.
All those thoughts came into my mind in the fraction of a second it took for me to realize the floor wasn't where I expected it to be ... until my foot actually hit where the floor was ... a drop of about 6-8 inches. I decided to stop until my eyes grew more accustomed to the dark. After a little bit, we could see better, and someone actually had a flashlight. Plus, my camera had a flash. But, no pictures are allowed. Unless you give them a green picture of a president. Then, they look the other way.
Anyway, we could make out the sarcophagus of Khufu. You've seen the thing. It's a large stone rectangular box with no top. And one top edge is broken off a little. And the ceiling is very, very high. I got lots of pictures.
We spent a few minutes in that very dark, very warm room. One of the soldiers with me was beginning to have issues with his lunch. He had chosen to eat at the local restaurant. Lunch came back up. Since he was by the sarcophagus, he just leaned over and blew his chunks into it. No, I'm not making any of this up. The guy puked into the Pharaoh's sarcophagus. I thought it was a good time to leave, since another tour group was going to be coming up this way as soon as they got the lights fixed anyway. We duckwalked our way back down and went over to the Sphinx.
Pharaoh got us back: none of my pictures inside the Pyramid came out.
However, not everyone has such bad luck. Khufu's curse had no effect on the pictures of this place. Those bottom six pictures give an idea of what it looked like.