Initial Train of Thought(s)
It’s hard to describe one “initial thought” when driving up to the Giza Plateau – it’s more of a “train of initial thoughts”, rapid-fire, one right after the other, in a heat-induced and setting-overloaded travel craze. Like seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, but on some strange planet with an alien landscape and a very, very hot sun.
- Whoa. Those are the pyramids! Are those really the pyramids?!?
- Holy crap, it’s hot here.
- Yeah, those are the pyramids. And that’s the sphinx.
- Okay, seriously, it’s really hot.
- This is kinda surreal.
Once Upon a Time…
It’s unfortunate, really: today, the Giza Plateau sits in the shadow of a pollution-hazed, ever-approaching Cairo on the very near horizon, flanked by expanding tar roads redirected by tourist businesses, and swarmed with hawkers peddling cheap imitations of limestone carvings and rides on their over-worked an under-fed mules and horses and camels, oh my. Chilled bottled water – unsurprisingly – is the greatest commodity, with old photographic postcards coming in a close second. And it all makes you wonder what this place was like back then, during the era of those black and white photos… once upon a time. Times most certainly have changed.
Did You Know?
Recent science has determined that the stones of the pyramids were “stuck” together by suction: small holes were drilled into the sides of every stone and then stones were placed next to each other, covered with water (to fill the holes) and rubbed together to create suction. Thus, when the water dried, the stones had created a virtually impenetrable seam that would not be effected by heat, sand, or even time.
If I had it to do all over again…
Go super early in the morning, or very late at night – preferably, when the site isn’t even “officially” open (you could leave a donation for good karma). Get it to yourself – if that’s even possible. It would be worth a thousand prime-time photos.
Final Thought = Lingering Remnants
The Giza Plateau is unlike any place I’ve ever been – an epic site of truly improbable proportions… an ancient wonder that may be the epitome of an ancient *wonder*. What remains with me is sensations – sights and smells that I will never forget. Those lingering remnants that stick with you forever: the smell of sulfar at the inner sanctum of the Dahshur Pyramid; the feeling of the sun – everywhere – on this otherworldly desert; the sound of children arguing over their stock of tourist trinkets; the sight of the last bits of limestone at the peak of the middle pyramid still holding on by the sheer willfullness of ancient construction… what’s another four thousand years? The whole place – in every aspect of it’s ancient glory and its modern decay – seems to say: go ahead world, keep pushing these boundaries, we’ll still be here.