We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Ms. Grumpy goes to Giza

the sphinx
Last Friday we went to the Pyramids again. Why? Well, that’s a question I’ve been asking myself for days, but unfortunately myself is being uncooperative and won’t explain a thing.

Actually, I know why we went. We wanted to go to the beach, but we futzed around with planning and it didn’t happen. (You actually have to make these kind of plans in advance here! Can you believe it?!) And some friends had a group trip planned to Giza, so along we went. It was nice the first time, but that trip was all about the camels. This time, I wanted to learn something.

Friends, I’m here to tell you that learning is overrated. What’s underrated is the debilitating combination of heat, general crankiness (I had worked late the night before and Mr. Four hadn’t slept well himself), and being on a trip not planned with children in mind. Plus add in really aggressive peddlers of made-in-China Pharonic crappola.

I’ve been in Egypt six weeks and already I’ve decided that any friends who come to visit are going to have to go to Giza by themselves. That’s right: I’m already sick of the remaining wonder of the ancient world. Thank goodness the rest have disappeared!

(I have a terrible feeling that the I-don’t-understand-sarcasm police are going to find this blog and arrest me.)

Mr. Four is chiming in here that the trip wasn’t that bad. And the kids say they liked it, though Giggle was quick to add he wants to go to the beach this next weekend.

In any case, I am pleased with some of the photos.
the sphinx and two pyramids

And we did see the very cool Solar Boat (so named not because of its energy source but because of a poor translation of something that seems really to mean Sun Boat), which was found in pieces buried next to a pyramid, and then carefully reconstructed over several years. The boat was buried, we were told, so that the souls of the dead Pharoahs could catch a ride if need be.
the solar boat museum

At some point I hope to forget how crabby I was that day and only remember the good parts.
bug and giggle climb the great pyramid

bug at giza

giggle contemplates the great pyramid

Oh, and this weekend? We’re going to the beach.

Oodles more photos are on my flickr site (the latest photos are the last ones).

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24 September 2007 - Posted by | our life in egypt, tourism

4 Comments

  1. I recommend hiring a taxi for the day and visiting the Bent pyramid, red pyramid and saqqara.

    There are NO hassles (almost zero tourists and no hawkers) at the first two, and very few at Saqqara.

    And after a while you learn a few phrases to disuade attention and make it obvious to the hawkers that there are easier marks. One thing that makes it easier for me is to say NOTHING and wave my hand at them dismissively.

    Comment by Jack | 26 September 2007

  2. I like your photos. Having lived here since 1988, I can’t count the number of times that I’ve visited Giza, usually with visitors, but it’s a lot like having to schlepp visitors to Niagara Falls from Toronto in my book…something else that I’ve done way more times than I ever thought was necessary. I mean it’s just a bunch of water, right?
    Hints for surviving Giza are a) having a driver with you, like a decent cab driver you like and trust who will take you out to the farthest lookout point where you can ignore the knicknacks and just enjoy the view for a second, then to the middle pyramid to walk around for a bit to oooh and aaaah at the size of the stones while on your way to the solar boat, which is (as you noted) one of the coolest things at Giza, especially on a hot day. Then have the driver meet you below the Sphinx which is a nice walk down to but not up from. b) Learn this phrase: Aysheen henna (pronounced eye-sheen henna) which means “we live here”. When said with the same raised eyebrows that would accompany a question to one’s child who is clearly fantasizing about having finished his/her homework or cleaning the bedroom, it is very effective in not only dispersing the bad tshirt sellers but even eliciting an apology for having bothered you. And sometimes sneaking a gin and tonic in a vaccuum flask helps too. Always reward yourself afterwards for having done it at all. LOL
    Sakkara and Dahshur are entirely different as noted above. There are virtually no bad tshirts and plastic pyramids, lots of interesting things to see and climb over, and much nicer desert.

    Comment by Maryanne Stroud Gabbani | 26 September 2007

  3. I’m interested at the suggestion that you say *nothing* to hawkers. I got that advice before going to Morocco (from an American woman who’d lived there) — when entering the medina or some other place where visitors were easily spotted, we’d be surrounded by people trying to sell, guide, or otherwise monopolize us. If we completely avoided eye contact, said nothing, and just kept walking they’d quickly drop away.

    Comment by Monica | 26 September 2007

  4. haha. Ms grumpy indeed. you know u can beat Egyptian themselves with your sarcasm . they like to criticize themselves but not to be criticized. im Egyptian by the way & believe me i understand how u feel about Giza , i grew up there 🙂

    Comment by mostafa | 21 December 2008


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