Saturday, December 6, 2008

Egypt 2008: Giza: the Pyramids, part two

October 11th.

So, we left the lookout point in our car and drove back down to the pyramids. Felt pretty weird knowing that in a moment we would be standing next to them. :-D During the drive, Hatem told us that if we wanted to, for an extra 25 Egyptian pounds each (LE; worth about the same as Norwegian crowns) we could go down into the tomb underneath the Khefren pyramid. Did we!!? I was so there. :-) CH was a little more ... well, meh ... because as I said she had already been down there 13 years ago. But hey, why the hell not. :-) She had hoped to be able to enter the Cheops pyramid, but Hatem explained that it's only open to a limited number of visitors per day - I think he said 150 - and you have to be super early to get a ticket, etc. So then & there it was Khefren or nothing. That's what you call a no-brainer, as far as I'm concerned. ;-) So even though CH said there was nothing much to see there, just a long low corridor and then an almost empty room, we all got in line. I mean, hello. It's a pyramid. :-o

While we were waiting, there was of course plenty to look at ...

Approaching Cheops ...

Approaching Khefren ...

Waiting in line to get in. The line was pretty long, but it moved fast, so we didn't have to wait that long. Which was good, because it was pretty hot out in the open like that.

I wanted to take some pictures inside, or ideally even film the walk, but alas, this was not allowed. To the point where we had to leave our cameras outside. Poor Hatem had to hold all of them, it was quite a juggling act. :-) This is the last picture I took before I had to surrender my camera. Can you tell that the corridor is very narrow indeed, and that the people in the picture are very very hot? Or I might even say over-heated? Probably not. But it was SO HOT down there ... !! We saw people coming out with sweat literally dripping off their chins, young strong men red-faced and almost staggering ... and both CH and I thought to ourselves (as revealed in conversation later :-) that come on, it can't be that hot. It can't be. Those guys are just wusses.

But yeah, it was that hot.

The corridor was very long and very narrow - most of the time we had to walk bent almost double - going first down down down, then flat for a while and then up again, until we entered the burial chamber of king Khefren. o_O Although as CH had said there wasn't much to see there, except the unadorned stone sarcophagus (which, 13 years ago, she was allowed to sit down in!! times have changed!), it was still rather a special feeling to be standing there. Knowing what I know. There was some 19th-century graffiti on the walls and I would have loved to be able to take some pictures down there. But, alas, it was not to be. Fortunately, I was to have more chances at graffiti over the course of the trip. :-)

Afterwards we wandered around outside gazing at the scenery and taking pictures. Here's a closeup of the side of the pyramid, with some of the many birds who rested in the shade there.

It was very impressive to be standing there and seeing it all ... and looking up ... o_O

You aren't really allowed to get right up close to the pyramid; like, onto it - there is a rope barricade around it - but the tourism police allow it anyway if the guides ask nicely. Which of course Hatem did. As long as you stay on the bottom levels of stone they have no problem with it ... but one guy (a total stranger to us, fortunately) decided to climb up further and that made them freak. Too bad that we couldn't climb on it, but I do understand that not everyone can be allowed to do that - that would probably be hundreds of thousands of people every year - so of course no one can. Anyway. Here we all are, sitting on the Khefren pyramid. :-) Einar in front, back row left to right me, CH, Sissel, Inger-Lise, Berit. Photo by Hatem. :-)

There were remains of other structures too, here and there, but there was too little left of them for us to be able to tell what they had been. Just bits of wall. Still impressive, though, size-wise. And look, people out horseback riding. :-)

The peak of the Cheops pyramid. Even thinking of the number of stones used to construct it makes me tired.

Khefren again. Wow. Just wow.

To see more pictures from the pyramids, go here.

Next up: the Sphinx!! :-)

6 comments:

Paz said...

beautiful

Leisha Camden said...

Yeah, it was pretty good ... :-)

Margo said...

Cool! I want to go to Egypt :)

Leisha Camden said...

I want to go back ... ! :-)

John said...

that whole pyramid thing is craziness!

the close-up makes them look not very pyramid-y, though, after all these years.

and you say it was a little warm in there?

Leisha Camden said...

You're right, close up they do look rather like giant piles of rock. If you look at the pictures of the Khefren pyramid, though, you'll see the remains of the outer layer that used to cover the structures entirely - this is only preserved on the peak of Khefren today. When this was intact, they must have looked very different.

When I say a little warm, I mean incredibly hot. Really incredibly hot.