SphynxAfter a short drive we arrived in Giza home of the great pyramids and also to the Sphynx, which guards the causeway leading up to them. As the main tourist destination it is hawker central, and even Ashraf told me to trust nobody here, so I kept my wits about me. Our car is surrounded before we had even stopped!

There are nine pyramids located here. Three large ones that are roughly in line with one and other, and three smaller ones at both ends of the line.

WP_20131128_102You can see them all fairly well from the car park but I am introduced to another friend of Ashraf’s who is willing to rent me a camel so I can ride out into the dessert for a more majestic vista of the scene.

This allows me to enjoy the highlight of an already illustrious haggling career, when I successfully knock down the price of a camel from a Bedouin local. This experience alone makes the trip to Egypt worthwhile, but we will call it another scoring draw. (Rob 4 Vendors 2)

Lawrence-of-arabia-posterI’m not sure flip flops are the best footwear for camel riding, and staying on board when the animal gets up from the floor to its hooves could be described as an achievement in itself. However with images from David Lean’s film masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia firmly in mind I struck out into the sand and rocks wobbling along on top of the grumpy animal.

I discovered whilst in Giza that the pyramids were built in the dessert deliberately as a result of the beliefs of the time, which centred around the Nile being the giver of life to all in the area. Dawn and life under the sun started in the east, whilst sunsets were always west of the river so the appropriate place for tombs would also be there.

WP_20131128_126You see Robert of Arabia here, about to set off from Egypt on a quest to win control of Damascus in the spirit of T.E. Lawrence himself.

It is quite hot here even though it is well into the winter, and I can’t imagine what it must be like under the heat of the sun during the middle of the summer.

restingAs for the pyramids themselves, they are smaller than you probably imagined. You can see how easily I was able to take a rest leaning on them here.

They were very impressive and after missing all the historic sites in the Americas it is good to final take in some pyramids on my route.

stoneIt is fantastic to see the last remaining monuments from the seven wonders of the ancient world, even if they are just a pile of old rocks.

The manpower required to move the millions of stones needed to make the pyramids is breathtaking. Especially when you consider that they weigh a minimum of two tonnes and that some travelled from as far as Southern Sudan.

presentsAt the end of a very busy day and just when I thought I was away from the area, I got caught off guard and a little tired by the last of Ashraf’s friends on our way back to the hotel. Far too easily I was talked into making a couple of purchases that in all honesty I had no interest in making before being marched into the shop.

However I can’t say anything more because they are presents to give upon my return home and I want to keep the surprise, but it left the final score for the day as Rob 4 Vendors 4. Haggling was the winner!




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