|Up at 6:45 and pack, then take bags to lobby and have breakfast. We all pile into the van and head off to the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Arrived about 9:00 and was impressed with the size and scale of the monuments. Alos by the huge number of buses and vans parked in the lot. Provbably 2000 people at and around the great pyramid, including several hundred hucksters. The pyramid was huge! Said took us to some shade and chatted about how pyramids were constructed, how various places and things were found, and warned us again about the husksters.
Of course, when Alice and I went off immediately a guy came up and gave Alice a small gift and a short ride on his camel, then he took some pictures of us, and, oddly enough, asked for money... Gave him about $10 but he kept arguing with me about how little that was... Just walked off. Walking around the pyramid was cool – a nice breeze was blowing, and the sand was warm. Three small pyramids to the side (the wives) were being climbed on and there were crowds of people. We avoided a couple other attempts to part with out money. Alice went off with her new friends and I went to where the architects were buried – still some hieroglyphs in the stone exposed to the elements. Paid a nice huckster $3 to take my picture in one of the sarcophagi. Met up with the group and we bused over to the “panoramic” view where everyone was having their pictures taken with the pyramids in the background, some pretending to hold them up... Another batch of hucksters, not quite so aggressive, were also there. After some picture taking Alice wanted to buy some of the trinkets for her friends. I gave her 40 LE and she went and bargained a guy down from 50LE for one set to 40 LE for two sets! She (and I) was quite impressed.
After that we went on a short camel ride – down a track to behind the third and smallest of the Pyramids. Camel was well behaved but almost threw a couple of us as when it stood it's back went to a 45 degree angle. The side to side gate was hard at first, but we settled in pretty quickly. Afterward, back on the bus and go to the second pyramid. Here we got to go into the pyramid itself. Down a steep incline aour four feet high for 100 yards, a 50 or so foot section where you could stand up, then up a 45 degree four foot high incline to the burial chamber itself. Damp and sticky, but as large as a living room. I tried to stay quite for a moment but the kids were running around wanting to leave, so we reversed the process. Quite the experience going through a chamber made 4500 years ago.
Back the the bus and traveled to see the Sphinx. Much decayed through time and abuse and pollution (the government is building an electric train track around the complex and cars and buses will no longer be allowed in the area). Reconstruction in limestone blocks is being done, though the original was carved from on piece of stone. Impressive, but way too many people.
Back on the bus! - stop and pick up a felafel we went o the Egyptian Museum – streets as insane as always. Went inside to see a replica of the Rosetta Stone and some amazing statuary of ancient Egyptians – Pharaohs, mayors,administrators and others. Artifacts were stuffed everywhere – boat models, sarcophagi,jewelery, toys, and, for an extra fee we got to see the actual mummies (Arabic word for salt...). Tried to get the kids to stop and looked at the wonderful exhibits, but it was hot and muggy so we left.
Rode to a small Egyptian resort for a shower and for some a swim, then a meal of a great variety of foods. Then back on the bus one more time and to the train station. After about a 45 minute wait the train arrived and we were assigned sleeper cabins – two bunk beds per cabin. On our way to Luxor. The kids watched “The Mummy” in Said's cabin and the adults chatted about trips they had been on in the past. Finally, after another meal was served on the train, we tried to sleep. We left at 8:00 PM and should arrive at 8:00 AM. Busy but exciting day!