Friday, January 8, 2010

Eclectic Roaming

For a start, you must realize that I have a personal vision of the pyramids. They’re out in the desert, an hour’s ride by camel, or maybe a donkey. It’s hot, the sun is shining…you crest a dune and there they are in their magnificence – the three pyramids and the fabulous sphinx guarding in front. Ah the romance…and then there is reality.
You speed down the street, weaving in and out of traffic, blaring your horn to let the other cars know you are either passing, turning left, turning right, driving on the white line or stopping. You finally get to “Pyramid Street” where you need to take a left but the traffic is so bad that you must do a long loop around so that you finally (about 30 minutes later) can make a right on the same street you were just trying to hang that left on only now you’re some 50 feet over. Ah well…travel down Pyramid Street about a mile, make a right turn at the exit and you’re in the parking lot….parking lot??? At the base of the pyramid??? My dream bubble popped very quickly. (For a great view of the pyramids, check out this video on YouTube:

The Great Pyramid – one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the only one still standing. It really is amazing to behold, despite the parking lot behind you. It was, for almost 4,000 years, the tallest building in the world. There really are lots of camels around – and available for rides around the pyramids. It looks quite picturesque camels roaming around, pyramids in the background, blue sky, cars speeding by…ah well, guess that’s progress. OK, I have to admit...I went looking for my picture of camels and discover they were horses. Finally found one - with the city in the background. More of that progress.

I do have to admit, I always thought that the pyramids were built by slave labor, however, I learned that actually, the local farmers were employed during the annual flood period when you couldn’t farm the land anyway. Cheops paid them and provided food and clothing when they worked on the pyramid. This is a view, looking up the pyramid. You can see the exposed blocks now but when it was originally built, they whitewashed it with limestone to give it a smooth surface. The cap is all that's left.

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