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One Day, Giza, One Day

September 27, 2006

I went to the pyramids yesterday. Except not the pyramids you’re thinking of. Not the postcard-ready, pay a hundred pounds just to get into the gate Giza Pyramids, but the smaller, more southern Sakara step pyramids. These pyramids are chronologically earlier and physically smaller, but still impressive.

We drove through Sakara-the-town, our well-lit van of 13 college-age women. It’s somewhat of a slum or what counts as a slum here (worse than you think) and came to a stable where there were horses and dogs and – gasp – green grass. My group waited for the first five girls to go out on the horses, while we listened to bad rap music (everytime a group of us walks into a place, they change the music from fun Arabic pop music to old, awful radio hits that we’ve already gotten sick of. Someone should tell the Egyptians that we didn’t come here to listen to a retread of TRL from 3 years ago) and shared stories.

I’ve only ridden a horse once before in my life, but as long as one of the stablehands guided the horse through the dark, I felt okay. I balanced my weight on one of the stirrups and climbed up, noticing the small open wound on the horse’s right hip. I shuddered a bit, and pushed up closer to the front of the saddle. The horse’s stablehand walked away for a while to help one of my friends onto her horse and I worried about mine taking off down the dark unlit path –which to me looked like it ended in nothing – dark nothing, but instead my horse chomped away at the bushes.

Once our group was secure on their respective horses we rode into the dark path. Stone turned to sand and as my eyes adjusted to the dark, rolling clouds turned into sand dunes. The tallest sand dunes I have ever seen. The step pyramids were lit up on the edge of the desert and the town. It didn’t seem like very far, but a half-an-hour later, when we finally arrived, I realized that the desert, in all of its vastness, plays tricks on your depth perception. And that what I thought was a short lantern was in fact an 8 foot tall guard house.

The horse – I think it was old and overworked – galloped half-heartedly up a dune and we stood a ways back from the pyramids. A few stars shone brighter than Cairo’s light pollution. On my left is the sprawl of Cairo, lights and smog going on to the edge of the horizon. On my right is the limitless and dark White Desert. This is best way I can describe, or explain Egypt.

On our way back, where clouds should have been, a headlights shot up over the dune and came flying down. It was the rest of our group, who had gotten in a jeep to ride over to the Pyramids through the dunes, rushing down the sand at an 80 degree angle. Gleeful screams followed.

Tired, and smelling like horses, we drove back to the Cairo Khan and I finally got to sleep in. One day, Giza, I will make it through your tourist ridden path to see you. But today is not that day.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    September 27, 2006 9:13 pm

    You made it! Well, kinda. I think these pyramids sounds just as cool, if not cooler 🙂 Talking to you on Monday was WONDERFUL! I promise a lengthy e-mail with lots of stories will be coming your way soon. Miss ya, Tay-bone!

    Julie

    PS-Courtney just got hired at the Breast Feeding Center! I’m not even kidding! You guys should swap stories sometime… I can’t believe there’s a double J.

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