Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 22, 2010. 8:48 pm Cairo Time

We arrive back in our room hot and tired after a long day in the bus.  From 'wheels up' in Calgary to this moment,  we have been traveling.   From airport to international flight,  Heathrow and another long flight across Belgium, Germany,  Italy,  the Dalmation Coast, Greece (Athens and the Marathon peninsula ablaze)  across the dark Mediteranian, obscured by clouds and night fall.
Arrival in Cairo went smoothly,  but for a bit of a slow start getting our visas to us.   David Robertson walked right by his own name displayed on a  proffered sign,  much to our amusement.  What would any of us do with our name up in lights?   Ignore it,  most of the time.
Greater Cairo is made up of two cities on either side of the Nile River.  Cairo itself is slightly smaller in population than Giza, but combined  there are 17-29 Million people living in the area.  To know the exact number, you can go count for yourself!   Every day,  there are several million visitors to the city area.  Several million.
And they ALL go to Giza to see the pyramids, and the Sphinx.
At least that was our impression.
We began our day,  Wednesday morning with a bus ride out to the step pyramid at Sakkara.   It was about 35C in the shade, and the humidity high.   We all gaped at the wonders of the construction, both of the funerary temple and the pyramid itself.  Here is where the pyramids began,  with a construction built for a kings last resting place,  a design which was modified and improved over time and with good design principles.  Many of us  were especially awed to be taken down a steep ladder into the burial chamber under a ruined pyramid,  where the artistry on the walls,  the colors and the  solemn burial vault stand as testimony to one mans life.  Overhead in the tomb are many starfish shaped stars,  a witness to the ancestors who watch over all of us.
The pyramids at Giza are some of the most famous in the world,  mainly because of their location in this major population area and the Sphinx itself.   Most of us had no idea that they pyramids had been buried, mostly, in sand,   and have themselves been excavated.  Poor Sphinx  has stood out in the desert and was a target over time for soldiers  and others who have marred its face.   Sweat dripping down our backs and  hawkers couldn't take away from the awe of the sheer size of the place.  The question is,  looking at all the sand that lies between Giza and Sakkara,  what is buried beneath?

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