Alexandria (Cairo), Egypt. Giza Pyramids, Sphinx &
the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. There were at least 22 buses for
our tour excursions, with most going to Cairo. The ride to Cairo,
the capital of Egypt, is about three hours from the port. Our bus
was in a four-bus caravan with a police escort. After an incident in
1997 where a tourist was killed, the U.S. State Department requires
a police escort for organized tourist activities in Egypt, such as
our excursions. The land used to be just Sahara desert sand, but
with irrigation from the Aswan Dam there is a large amount of
development and agriculture.
We visited the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, viewing exhibits from
the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms of Egypt. The museum houses a
collection of Egyptian antiquities from 2700 BC to the 6th century
AD, so some of the items are 4700 years old. We saw the original
treasures of King Tutankhamon, including his funeral mask made out
of 25 pounds of solid gold. We had a good buffet lunch in a large
We then went to the great pyramids of Giza. The largest of these,
Cheops, is the only one remaining of the Seven Wonders of the
Ancient World. Mary and seventeen other people from our bus went
into a pyramid. I didn't go because the passageway is only 36 inches
high. That low height and the narrow width, along with high heat and
poor air quality, would make the movement through the long tunnel
both physically and mentally challenging. Everyone coming out was
soaked in sweat.
We saw the Sphinx, part lion and part man. Carved from a natural
rock, the Sphinx is 190 feet long and 66 feet tall at its highest
point. Its face, which is 16 feet above the ground, faces the rising
sun to the east. These pyramids and the Sphinx are right at the edge
of the expanding Cairo.
Yesterday I mentioned the high winds and drifting boat in Limassol,
Cyprus, because of a strong low-pressure weather system that formed
in the eastern Mediterranean. Those high winds also closed the port
in Cairo yesterday, so we felt very fortunate to be here today, with
an open port. This was another WOW day.
The attached seven photos are us at the pyramids, Sphinx, and on a
camel. It's really an experience dealing with the pushiness of the
peddlers and (in someplaces) beggers.