Monday, November 15, 2010

Cairo, Memphis and Sakkara

The Step Pyramid at Sakkara

Our first  day of touring started off a bit chaotic as all 300 of us milled around waiting to be told which bus to get on to go to the Cairo Museum. We were free to grab whatever bus we wanted, apparently, which had been color-coded. It felt a bit like we were in a road company of Reservoir Dogs as LK and I dutifully followed Mr Purple into the elevator and down to his bus. Or maybe it was Clue, for I could swear I saw Professor Plum leading another group.

But more about the organization's disorganization in another post. Today, just a quick one to say we first went to the museum that houses, among many many artefacts, the famous relics from King Tutankhamen's tomb.

There were lots of artefacts from the various dynasties of Egypt, and when we could hear our guide amid the din of the museum, it was pretty informative stuff. Obviously the King Tut stuff if the highlight, and it really is beautiful. At least it seems that way for the few seconds you queue past it, shoulder-to-shoulder with far more people than should be in that room at the same time. (By the way, you can't take pictures in there anymore, so the one at the left was downloaded.)

There really are a lot of tourists here. But then again, after our last several years of roaming the world I've come to the conclusion that most of the world now is either tourists or the people the tourists have come to see.

The Cairo Museum seemed to present very special moments, though, as tour groups numbering between 15 and 30 seemed to all flow in cross-currents to one another. There was no "right" direction to move, and in fact whatever direction your group was flowing would be the exact opposite of at least one other and about 45 degrees different from two or three other groups.

Oh, that's right, kind of like Cairo traffic. Now I get it.

After lunch we went to Memphis, which as we all know, was the former home of the King. No, Ramses, not Elvis. Memphis was the first capital of Egypt and is now a small village with lots of butcher shops and some excavations along with an open-air museum.

The highlight here is the huge statue of Ramses, which is lying on its back because the limestone of its back was damaged after it fell and eroded in the flood plains many years ago. It is pretty impressive and you can catch LK's pictures of it here.  There are also a couple of pictures from nearby Sakkara, which is home to numerous early pyramids. The Step Pyramid is being worked on, but it's a good example of the earlier designs they used.

Today we get to see the much more famous pyramids at Giza. (I think of the Step Pyramid as being kind of the $25,000 Pyramid to its million dollar cousins.) Then we're on to Alexandria, where we will board the Aegean Odyssey which will take us down the Suez after we tour the city tomorrow.

1 comment:

Wally said...

That step pyramid is making me drowsy.