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There and Back Again 8: Pyramids!

There are sights that are tightly linked to location. You go to London, you visit Trafalgar Square. And yeah, in Cairo, you are going to see the Pyramids. It’s inevitable, like the tide. And now that I have, I can report that yes, they are rightly and properly one of the wonders of the world. These things are more than monumental. The Pyramids of Giza are landscape, the size of mountains. To build such a thing is crazy difficult. There are plenty of failed pyramids around Egypt, what looks like heaps of broken mud-brick.  These were too -big- to fail, even after people stole all the fine stone outer slabs.

This second image is of what remains of that limestone skin. When the pyramid was new it must have shone in the desert sunshine like a NASA space shuttle, upholstered in shiny polished stone. This is the ultimate display of power, paralleled only by the Great Wall of China — an artifact that you can see from a hundred miles away, visibly and arrogantly man-made. You can see, by the size of the tourists in the distance, how big the individual stones are. Oh, and admire the ancillary dogs hanging out and hoping for a snack. Tourism is the major industry for the entire region, and even the dogs get their share.

It would take all day to walk around the three pyramids, wallowing over the sand and rough stones. But the Egyptian tourist industry would never let adventurous Americans get into trouble, or at least not without charging them for the privilege. But if you wanted to, there are, yes, camels on offer. I have ridden a camel before, but it’s not something I do every year or even every twenty years!

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