Our Family Blog

We waited until the midday sun had passed before we headed to the Sahara to view the pyramids of Giza once more, up close and personal.

Rather than take the usual taxi organised by the hotel, we decided on the underground and public buses – just to get a sense of the real way of life here.  We arrived quicker than we had the previous night and at a cost of only 20p each. Our ‘tourist’ taxi the previous night cost us £5 each.

We heard so many stories of people getting ripped off for the camels, it was a mission to get one at a reasonable price. After 20 mins of haggling, and having produced my out-of-date student card, we got our tickets and camel for E£200 (£20), the entrance fee to the pyramids alone costs E£100. Some guys in our hotel paid E£500 for just the camels the previous day – bafoons.  All saddled up we headed up the desert which took about a half hour to get to the pyramids. The camel was reasonably comfortable.

It was amazing to see them up close and to get a sense of the size and number of carved rocks it took to build these great monuments.  You will see on the third picture the indent in the side of the great pyramid Khafre where Napoleon blasted it trying to knock it down and and on the fourth, the granite frontage that had covered it at onetime – it must have been so beautiful. I took a close up of tip of the pyramid which shows the number and formation of the stones and how smooth it looks. When this face would have covered the whole pyramid, you can imagine how difficult it would have been to locate the actual and spoof entrances – an amazing feet of engineering.

CLASSIC FACT: Napoleon’s troops have long been blamed with blowing off the nose of the Sphinx in the 18th century, because it was an African nose and went against their belief that man descended from the fricans.

The local town and surrounding areas were steeped in poverty, it would bring a lump to your throat.  The whole place is filthy with graffiti markings on the base of the pyramids.  The locals, government officials, police, traders etc. are all milking the cash cow, but have no respect for the pyramids or the surrounding area, it’s a crying shame.  These monuments are truly inspirational and so beautiful you feel you want to kick somebody in the ass to get it sorted.  After all the years of construction, I can’t imagine what the Pharaohs would say now if they were to visit.  

This place is so worth a visit, it is indescribable unless you can see it with your own eyes.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #1

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Last night we took a trip over to the Pyramids of Giza with Frank and his Niece Paris to see the pyramids sound and light show.  We were really looking forward to it, having seen these amazing 4,000 year old monuments all our lives in documentaries etc. and it was truly inspiring. 

Their extraordinary shape, impeccable geometry and sheer bulk made you gaze in awe for hours.  Frank suggested we take in the show first before visiting the pyramids up close, as it would answers our never ending questions on ‘how they were built and why? in the form of a visual display.  It was brilliant – a bit too ‘Hollywood’ in some of the effects, but so interesting. It explained the importance of the Nile to both the pyramids and to the greater Egypt. It was difficult to take photos in the dark, so you’ll just have to come and see it yourself.

We are heading back today to spend another few hours walking around and, depending on the crowds and heat, visit the inside of at least one pyramid.  Each pyramid is constructed differently, so each tells its own story.  It’s been a long time since a tourist attraction has taken our breath away – we can’t wait to visit again today.

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Chill out day

July 23rd, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 01-Egypt - (3 Comments)

Last night we went out for a Greek meal with Frank, an American traveler .  It was so nice to sit down and chill out for the evening rather than having to eat a take away (or as Frank would say, a take out).  We had a lovely meal and a few beers, which went down a treat – then beat Frank in a few games of table tennis .  The total for the two us was £15 and that included three large beers each and 40 fags – it’s unbelievably cheap!

This morning we had a well earned lye in, had our usual complementary breakfast consisting of an egg, a few rolls, some Dairylea cheese and black tea – you get used to it!

Already today I’ve spent several hours trying to source and fix a problem with Windows Live Writer, the application I use to upload these posts, unfortunately with little success.  I downloaded another programme but it’s not nearly as user friendly.  We know how much you guys are enjoying our posts, so it’s frustrating when you write them and they won’t upload.  I will get to the route of the problem, so don’t panic just yet.

We’ve booked our flights to Mumbai, so to today we’ve got to book some accommodation, we fly out on Saturday at 04:30.

Me having breakfast this morning.  The other day I went to the barbers and this is how it ended up –  I look like a schoolboy from the 60s.  Trying to explain that I wanted a no.3 and not a shaved head was difficult – never mind, it will grow again. 

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The Egyptian Museum

July 23rd, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 01-Egypt - (1 Comments)

Yesterday we headed into the centre to visit the Egyptian Museum.  Just another tourist attraction you feel you have to visit, we though it was pretty disappointing, especially as we were restricted from taking any photos.

Once you’ve seen one tomb you’ve no need to visit 200 others.  We both think its a crying shame that all these artifacts were taken from the pyramids and are on show – grave robbers! – these people should have been left to rest.  Imagine Queen Elizabeth being exhumed in a 100 years for public display – I don’t think so!  It’s a gravy train.

I’m sure the pyramids tomorrow will be more interesting.

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Downtown Cairo

July 22nd, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 01-Egypt - (3 Comments)

It has taken a day or so to adjust to life outside of the UK, and now that we are here, we are loving every minute. This a quote from the lonely planet which sums up Cairo in a nutshell.

“Let’s address the drawbacks first.  The crowds on a Cairo footpath make Manhattan look like a ghost town.  You will be hounded by papyrus sellers at ever turn.  Your life will flash before your eyes each time you venture across a street.  And your snot will run black from the smog.  So blow your nose, crack a joke and learn to look through the dirt to see the city’s true colours”.

This is so accurate, but in a nice way.  We have been overwhelmed by the friendliness and attitude towards us and other tourists.  It is death defying trying to cross the streets, but when the police see that we are waiting for an opportune moment, they stop the traffic to let us cross.  Every 100 yards we are greeted with ‘hello, welcome to Egypt’ accompanied with a warm friendly smile.  The clapped out black and white cars are the taxis, a sight for sore eyes.

We are really enjoying having to haggle for everything, we have it off to a tee.  In our hotel in the evenings we share stories of our haggling abilities and many are impressed how much we can haggle the taxi drivers – we have been able to get fares for half or more than others to standard destinations.  A typical fare is starts at E£15-20 but we always haggle to E£5 – that’s 50p for a 20min ride – I’m in heaven.  This place is truly amazing.

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