15 Nov 2007

Back to Cairo

The Sphinx

We went back to Cairo on 14 November. The journey took slightly more than two hours - fairly interesting views along the way. Much of Egypt is desert and the main source of water is the Nile. We passed it numerous times, driving beside it for a few miles and then along canals or waterways which also provided irrigation to the farms. There were lots of farms along the way - I think agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. There were also vineyards from what I can see. Corn, barley, rice and fruits as well as vegetables were also abundant.
Arriving in Cairo around just before 3.00pm, we were caught in what looks like rush hour traffic. But Sayeed the driver said that it is always like this - congestion or jams occur practically at all times of the day. I didn't see much of Cairo last time but today we get to see more. Lots of tall buildings - some very new and modern but others mainly residences or blocks of flats from the utilitarian designs. Crowds everywhere, cars and vans and buses jostle for space on the roads and movement is practically snail space. We arrive at the hotel at sharp 3.15. Its quite nice from the outside, though I think its 3 star. After checking in we were told to come back down immediately for our trip to the pyramids at Giza, which closes at 4pm.

The Pyramids are like nothing I've imagined. Even from a distance they look awesome, rising out of the desert like some aliens had built them . We were dropped at a vantage point where we could see all three pyramids at once. Imagine they were built by Egyptian slaves thousands of years ago. The largest pyramid was the pyramid of King Cheops - standing at more than 500 m.
Sayeed had to leave us there because vehicles weren't allowed in after 3.30pm. So we had to walk down to the entrance. That was a long walk - almost 3 km of walking in the desert. Imagine if you were lost! Luckily it was cool, inspite of the sun. Temperature must be around 17 degrees celsus.

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