Sunday, October 14, 2007

Egypt - Day 3

Saturday, our last full day in Cairo. Another quiet morning around town. We hired a cab for the morning and went out to Giza to see the pyramids. We wandered around by ourselves for an hour. We sat on one of the pyramids for a few minutes; it was the only place to find a little shade. You used to be able to climb the pyramids, but too many people died and they don’t allow it anymore.

Our driver then took us down to Memphis, about an hour away. If I had done a little bit more reading before leaving, I might have suggested skipping Memphis altogether. Though it was once the capital of ancient Egypt, there’s pretty much nothing left there except an open-air museum housing a few relics, the coolest being this guy, a massive limestone statue of Ramses II:

Next it was on to Saqqara, the royal burial grounds for Old Kingdom Memphis. The most exciting thing in Saqqara is the step pyramid, which was the precursor to the pyramids in Giza.

In the distance on the left you can see the Bent Pyramid in Dahshur, which we didn’t visit, but is supposedly Egypt’s first proper pyramid—i.e. not a step pyramid.

There were lots of other things to see, tombs and such, but it was super hot and we were hungry, so we went back to our driver who took us to a pretty horrible restaurant, but which seemed to be our only choice.

We arrived back out hotel in Cairo mid-afternoon. The hotel gave us a room to clean up in, as we had already officially checked out, and we left our bags there for another few hours while we went down to the gardens at the Marriott hotel. We had a few hours to kill before our overnight train to Luxor, so we relaxed a little by playing cribbage and having a few drinks and then an early dinner.

We picked up our bags at the hotel and caught a cab out to Giza train section. Being our typical selves, we arrived an hour early. The crossword puzzle in my $9 People magazine was not such the time-waster I had hoped for—it took all of five minutes to complete. Which left 55 minutes of listening to the loud American students next to us talk about how awesome they are.

Our overnight train experience was pretty uneventful. We actually slept.

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