August 8th, 2009, Cairo
Ok, that whole thing about not taking many photos of well known and over-photographed sites? Forget it. I went nuts at the Pyramids of Giza. It was totally surreal to be there beneath the hulking masses of stone rising out of the desert (which, by the way, is right at the edge of an overpopulated and under-sanitized city suburb). It felt like we were in a movie.
Because the pyramids are a fair distance apart, and because the temperature is over 100 degrees in August, many people get around the pyramids on camel or on horseback. When I first heard this I thought it was a cheesy tourist scam, however the heat and the desert make it a genuinely helpful service. We toured the area on horseback. (I rode a camel once in Morocco and quickly realized I never needed to ride another again in my life. It is extremely uncomfortable.)
Neither photos nor words to justice to the enormity of the structures. Each individual stone that comprises each pyramid is taller as me.
In hindsight I wish I had lingered longer, but the heat was totally overbearing. I didn’t buy any pyramid souvenirs. The one thing I wanted to buy was a postcard for my sister (with whom I still promise to visit the pyramids someday) but the high-pressure sales directed at tourists quickly became intolerable. I did not notice it so much my first day because we were not staying in a very touristy area. However, at the Pyramids and throughout Egypt, the hassle given to tourists unfortunately threatens to ruin the experience and prevents any meaningful conversation with locals. One thing is sure: when I someday return it will definitely be in January or February.