Wednesday, May 04, 2005
The PyramidsThe second and third days of our trip we spent admiring pyramids. There are 119 pyramids in Egypt and we tried to see a few of them.
The second day we headed to the "Great Pyramid." It is truly a wondrous sight. We hired a cab and tour guide for the day and it was just as amazing as I thought it might be. Our Egyptian guide was so proud of the pyramids and you do have to wonder, how did they do this 5000 years ago?? The Egyptians were brilliant for being able to construct such magnificent edifice.
People refer the "trio" of pyramids -- large, medium and small. King Khufu (2609 - 2584 BC) ordered the construction of the "Great Pyramid," the largest pyramid. In fact, for four thousand years it was the tallest building in the world. The Great pyramid is the only survivor of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Khufu's son, King Khafre ordered the medium sized pyramid -- in deference to his father it was made smaller but on higher ground :) -- during his reign. Khafre's pyramid complex included the Sphinx, a Mortuary Temple, and a Valley Temple. The interesting thing about this pyramid is that the pyramid casing survives at the top. It's the only pyramid with part of the casing still intact.
The grandson of King Khufu, King Menkaure, ordered the construction of the smaller pyramid. As we were heading to the pyramid plateau my son noticed that there were a few smaller pyramids on the horizon. I thought there were only the three -- but low and behold -- there were three small pyramids for the Queen mother, wife and other children of King Khufu.
At the pyramid panorama spot, about a mile away from the pyramids, we took lots of pictures and a 10 minute dromedary ride. Now that was fun. While out riding on the camels we were able to take more pictures of the pyramids. We all agree that riding the camels at the pyramid plateau was one of the highlights of our trip. Here is the family.
After the dromedary ride we were driven to the medium pyramid to take a peek inside (the only pyramid on the plateau you can walk into a little), but there was a long line so we skipped it. We then headed over to the Sphinx. The Sphinx is grand and beautiful. We sat down and just stared at the view for a few minutes. I felt very lucky to be there to see such a magnificent sight. The interesting thing is how (relatively) small the sphinx is. You always see pictures like this one with the pyramid in the back -- but the pyramid is quite a distance away which makes the sphinx look bigger.
After that we headed over the government gift store, the Merit Center, not far away. I was going to visit the Khan al Khalili market, but since there was a bomb there a few weeks ago, security has been very high and we decided against a visit. The government store worked out well. I bought a cartouche with my name and some beautiful papyrus paintings with my children's name on them in hieroglyphics. They are wonderful souvenirs from our trip.
The Egyptian calendar with my son's name in hieroglyphics on the left and Arabic on the right.
After an exhausting day we went back to the hotel to swim in the pools. We called our American friends who were also visiting Cairo, but staying at a different hotel. They asked if we'd heard about the bomb in central Cairo that day. My friends were visiting the Egyptian museum when the bomb went off right outside. They heard the bomb. They were leaving the next day, so their plans weren't affected, but we were left wondering.... what should we do on our last day in Cairo?? Should we play it safe and stay at the hotel all day long? Or should our intrepid crew plow on? Stayed tuned ...
-- said Auntie M in Paris
# posted by mrsmogul : 9:27 PM
# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 9:49 PM
# posted by Margie : 10:36 PM
# posted by Anonymous : 11:05 PM
# posted by Becca : 11:17 PM
Your children are incredibly lucky, but what's so great is they really appreciate it. I've seen kids who get to travel so many places and just don't quite appreciate it. I always did, and it shaped my career choice and everything.
I can't wait to hear how you reacted to the bomb and all. Should be interesting!
# posted by Joe : 11:18 PM
CMAC, One of these days I have to go through the pictures. My daughter is already complaining that there are only photo albums of my son... none of her.
Becca, I really felt fortunate to be able to make this trip to Egypt. Egypt, the pyramids and pharohs were things that always fascinated my mother so I heard about them a lot while growing up.
Joe, I'm not sure how much my kids appreciate the travel, but I think they appreciate taking trips with their parents because so many of their friends get left behind with babysitters.
# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 8:03 AM
# posted by : 8:13 AM
What is the flight like from Paris? Short? Terry in SF
# posted by Anonymous : 2:17 PM
Only later on when you think about it do you really appreciate it. And I think they probably will later on when they realize how lucky they are. In any case, as long as they have fun!
# posted by Joe : 9:05 PM
Terry, I think a direct flight is about 4 hours. We didn't take a direct flight because we wanted to save money and we wanted to get miles. Our trip was much longer than necessary as a result.
Joe, I hope you are right.
# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 9:34 PM