Cairo: Back to the Pyramids

Last day in Egypt, and I’ve never felt so exhausted in my whole life – I’ve had it, and looking forward to not being hassled for money, not wearing a money-belt, sleeping in the same bed more than three nights, not carrying a camera, etc etc …

Anyway we ended out trip suitably with another trip to the pyramids, this time older and wiser. Example of the kind of thing that can piss you off – guy at the hotel trying to tell us that if we get a taxi in the street it will cost us more – we know that’s crap – he said 15 EP and we got one for 10. Example 2: guy getting in the taxi and trying to tell us the pyramids were closed because of a presidential visit, so just come with me etc – absolute garbage. Some Egyptians are just blatant lying con men – and they get so offended so you have to be polite and grateful even when you know what they’re saying is bullshit! Sigh …

After all the crap however we managed to wander by ourselves despite the occasional interruption from a shyster (“scarab for you and the lady – gift – just a little money – any type of money”), and visited and went inside, in turn, the pyramids of Mycerinus, Chephren and Cheops – smallest to the biggest. The interiors were often steep and claustrophobic, except for the Grand Gallery in Cheops’ pyramid, which was spectacular – high and long. In the tomb chamber with its lonely, battered sarchophagus we felt deep in the heart of the pyramid – after C left I stood and silently paid my respects to the ghosts of the past, alone.

Back in the sun we sat for a while loomed over by the Great Pyramid, then got a taxi back to Tahrir Square. After lunch we got a taxi to Islamic Cairo, the east part of the city, to check out the bazaar there. All for the tourists (packed with them), but we walked further north until they petered out, and through fascinating grotty streets up to the old Wall of Cairo. So much going on, so many people. People are friendly and say hello when you pass – “welcome to Cairo” – genuinely, nothing to do with money, in the tourist free areas. I can’t describe the sights, the poverty, the crumbling mosques and shopfronts, the scrawny overworked animals, thousands of people bustling to and fro on unimaginable errands.

C’s a shopping fiend though – we circled back through the wall at a different gate and back south to the bazaar and the crush of tourists. C bought a few things, but everything looked like touristy crap to me! Back at the hotel we paid our bill, repacked and here I am sitting in the bar, having a couple of cokes and suffering a blocked nose.

What a strange life – I’m actually going back to Sydney. My first great journey draws to an end, and I’ve achieved just about everything I set out to do. Now I’m going home.

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