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Posts Tagged ‘#camel rides’

#In Search of....

image from www-josephinewall-co.uk

“There has always been, for me, this other world, this second world to fall back on–a more reliable world in so far as it does not hide that its premise is illusion.”
Graham Swift, Ever After
“You’re still alive. Be thankful for that. You can still walk and talk and think. Yes, you feel like shit most of the time, but it could be worse. So instead of sitting in your room waiting to die, why don’t you join in on life until you do die? Dammit! Get off your dead ass and make something of the life you still have left!”
Deanna Lynn Sletten, Widow, Virgin, Whore

~

The luxury of the Cairo Marriott was only a brief stopover in the trip, but one that was a glimpse into ostentatious luxury. Could I have handled more? Well, if I had a huge bag of money and all I needed were casino tables, possibly. However, I wanted more, the real Egypt I had been introduced to as a child by my mother, through her love of the Pyramids. She hadn’t been able to see them personally but her library was an exquisite collection of all things ancient Egyptian.

Our first full day of sightseeing began at the Giza Necropolis – without a sandstorm. What an incredible difference from the last time we were there. Our tour guide Ayman was as well versed in Egyptology as Vered had been in Israeli history. At least we started off well with a good tour bus!  Arriving at the Pyramids we were greeted with a car park which resembled a bus depot. Trying to remember which bus ‘belonged’ to us was no small feat. We were admonished “Not to go anywhere alone”, “Not to go anywhere with the camel drivers”, and finally “To remember that tourists had been abducted, murdered and…worse”.

Suitably encouraged we set off. Ayman walked us around the pyramids and gave us a brief history of the area. This complex of ancient monuments includes the three pyramid complexes known as the Great Pyramids, the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers’ village and an industrial complex. The Pyramids of Giza consist of Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Cheops and Khufu, the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Chephren) a few hundred meters to the south-west and the Pyramid of Mykerinos a few hundred meters further south-west. The Great Sphinx is to the east of the complex. (That’s the travel guide explanation).

After a thorough tour of the area we were given an hour to wander at our leisure. Considering there were no shops to visit, the camels beckoned. Mel wasn’t too sure but after being so strongly advised to “be careful” it seemed an insult not to have a ride. Beside, how could we come all this way and not have a ride on a camel, around the pyramids too?

The camel must have seen me coming and after following the instructions to climb on board I was halfway there when she decided to stand up.  WHOA! Not what you want to happen. From a very precarious perch the tip and sway was alarming, and I was trying to reassure my friend that all was well.  I managed to settle on my high perch and then we had to get the camel to sit down again so she could get on.  I’m sure if you asked her she would tell you she had a grip of iron. Once settled the careful walk began. Did you know they only use female camels because they are more placid? Yes, strange thoughts ran through my mind too.

I think it must be part of the ride because half way around the circuit we stopped and the driver (why do they call them drivers?), asked if we wanted to have the famous photos taken – the one where you look as though your finger is right on the tip of the pyramid? Well, first I had to persuade Mel it was okay to give him my camera… he could have run off with it. Leaving us on his camel? Oh well. That was the easiest part. Broken English trying to ask you to point just so, in order that your finger, held just so (artistically) appears to be on the very tip of the pyramid behind you, just so. The laughter began and it was a long drawn out attempt to get a couple of photos but I was in a good mood so I didn’t mind. Some of our fellow travelers weren’t as amused.  The remainder of the ride was uneventful, apart from the ship on the high seas feeling as we, or rather our camel, sat back down again. Gee Mel did get off quickly!

We must have made an impression with the camel drivers because we quickly gathered a group around us, all offering to show us where to go to get the best photos of the pyramids. Why not? Well, the obvious answer was the stern admonishment not to wander off because of the dire possibilities for a female alone in Egypt. But that was alright because we weren’t alone – we were together!  So off we wandered, about two hundred metres and took some wonderful photos of the pyramids and then with our erstwhile friendly camel drivers. All was well and we were walking back towards the bus when our guide, Ayman came hurrying towards us, concern written large on his face.

A couple of the sour pusses who had seen us wandering off with the camel drivers had hot footed it over to Ayman and told him we were being kidnapped! Honestly. At that particular time I was in no mind to be trifled with – by anyone, particularly someone of the opposite sex. I would have cheerfully chopped them off at the knees. I knew this and I’m sure the camel drivers sensed this, even if they spent a considerable amount of time, in their broken English trying to persuade us to take them away with us!  I did try to take it with good grace but I was really irritated. I could sense how the trip was going to go.

Goodbye to the Grand Sphynx

Goodbye to the Grand Sphynx

The Alabaster Shop

The Alabaster Shop

#In Search of

Breaking more hearts?

In high spirits, (I refused to be crestfallen at this turn of events) we walked back to the bus to head back to our next stop, the Alabaster factory. We couldn’t get into trouble here and bought quite a few pieces to take home with us. The salesmen however were overly eager to offer their services to us…. if we wanted them to run away with us to Australia. I could see a pattern developing. Ayman decided we needed to have an eye kept on us because we might get into ‘trouble’ but, that was yet to come.

#In Search of..

Statue of Rameses 11 at Memphis

Back at the hotel we were advised we would be leaving to go on our Nile cruise early the next morning. This was going to be fun!

Whatever it was I was searching for was becoming  a little clearer. I was leaving more of the old persona behind and finding there was a fun person inside, someone who could laugh and enjoy the silliness of life. I was feeling the awe and majesty of the Pyramids and a sense of the great power and mystery they contained. Yet I knew my search was not over yet.

Blessings, Susan x

Next week – Nile Cruise and ‘arrested’.

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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