Read Me/Disclaimer

Read Me/Disclaimer: This is a non-political/socio-political blog. It's a running tale of my Saudi Arabian adventure, great, good, bad, and ugly. It is uncensored, and I don't really care what you think of it, read it or don't. I don't care. I did not decide to do this as a means to an end, but rather to document the means with which I occupied my time while waiting for my end... All that being said, I'm an American Expat in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The opportunity to help build this system and the salary that accompanied it were to good to pass up.-Geoff

"The views presented here are just the views of some asshole named Geoff, they are not necessarily the views of my employer, my co-workers, my family or anybody else. First hand knowledge and second hand accounts were used to compile the information. These are not scientific facts and figures. These views are not necessarily supported, endorsed or even appreciated by the KSA the USA or any other country for that matter and the author makes absolutely no claim that they are."**

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pyramids, Sphinx, Papyrus and Lightshow (Egypt Pt. 3)

So on my second full day in Egypt, I headed out from the hotel with my private guide and we struck off for the Pyramids at Giza.  I had almost forgotten where we were going until suddenly there they were, looming huge on the horizon, hiding right behind the large housing buildings.  Perfectly visible from the highway, incredible even from 10 miles away.  We arrived and our driver negotiated the army of peddlers, tourists, and citizens on the road.  Before I knew it, we were standing in the parking lot waiting to go in.  Buying a ticket in would have been a little difficult if my guide hadn't been there, the line itself was full of hustlers and tourists, everybody pushing and trying to either get ahead in line or get a hold of your money.

Arriving at the base of the Cheops Pyramid, I had a little moment of doubt, standing tiny in front of this monstrosity, I couldn't believe I was finally here.  I'd dreamed of this moment for 30 years or so, and here I was Thursday the 25th of October, 2012, actually standing at the base of the largest of the 9 Great Pyramids at Giza.  Overwhelmed is an understatement.  My guide told me everything I needed to know, showed me around, took my picture standing in front and on the base, and then I proceeded in.  Up a ramshacle wooden stairway I climbed for what seemed like forever until I reached the Burial chamber.  I stood in the King's tomb, touched his cold granite coffin and just thought for a second again about where I actually was.

We headed next to a second site, past the Khufu Pyramid and one in which you can rent a private camel or horse tour around the backside of the pyramids, here there were hardly any tourists.  We mounted up on our camels and headed off.  5 minutes later, I couldn't hear the voices anymore and looking around, found myself in the desert, riding a camel, with the 9 Pyramids as a backdrop.  Overwhelmed again, we stopped at the perfect place so that I could get some touristy pictures and soak it all in.

Our caravan of camels dropped us off at the temple in front of the sphinx, we explored and pushed, shoved and jostled our way through. Back in the middle of the noisy throng of tourists we found our way up the ramp and I suddenly found myself face to face with the Sphinx himself.

We went shopping at an old bookstore after leaving the Sphinx, away from the crowds and the junk.  I bought as much of the store as I could afford and carry and we headed off to dinner.  Most of the tourists were eating at the KFC/Pizza Hut, while we instead proceeded to a local restaurant called "Caviar" which is above the "Cafe Cairo" with a perfect view of the Great Pyramid in the distance.  Great service and a great meal of shrimp, calamari and fresh fish were the order of the day.  All the while I just stared at the great monstrosity I'd been climbing in just a few hours earlier.

Our last stop before the evening lightshow was a papyrus institute.  Now these are touristy, and pricey, but in my opinion worth it.  A young man who spoke excellent English showed me how papyrus was made, showed me how to tell the real from the fake and described the importance of the scenes I was seeing.  Again, I bought half the store, (hell when am I going to be back in Egypt?).

The sound and light-show at the Pyramids was as expected a tiny bit cheesy.  However, the light that they apply to the sphinx, showing it in its original form was incredible.   And the show only lasts an hour, if you can get at least 20 minutes of inspiration from it, you've gotten your money's worth.  I did.

Fighting our way back to the hotel through traffic, I thought of everything I had done.  I thought of the places my feet had been and realized that they were the same places the feet of the Ancient Egyptians had been 4000 years ago.  I realized that an entire civilization, one I knew almost nothing about, had lived and died here for close to ten times as long as my own country and homeland (as I knew it) had been around. 

Arriving back at the hotel, I tipped my driver and 10 minutes later was relaxing with a nice bottle of red wine over a late supper.

I didn't get to see everything, I didn't get to go everywhere, but all in all a successful and satisfyingly busy day packed with dreams and ambitions I've carried since childhood.  Somehow having finally accomplished them, I felt older. 


  1. Hi Geoff, I'm your new follower ;)
    Lovely pics.. It must be such an incredible experience and to have finally achieve your childhood dream, I'm so happy for you.. How about the weather? I'm sure it was really hot, right??

    1. Hi Fida Bosu, Welcome!

      Weather in Cairo was great, but I'm coming from Saudi Arabia, so my tolerance may be a little different than others. The best part though was that at night, the breeze cools everything off and you can sit outside, in slacks or jeans and a shirt and be really comfortable, not hot, not cold, just comfortable!

      Seeing this, going the places I went was incredible.

      Thanks for reading and for the comment.