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Published: September 22nd 2009
The last wonder of the ancient world.
Since being in Slovakia is such hard work...Sylvia and I decided we needed to get away from it all and take a little vacation. I convinced Sylvia that Egypt would be very interesting, since the pyramids were something I had always wanted to see. We booked a trip to stay at a resort along the Red Sea near Hurghada and flew from Kosice on a chartered flight with nothing but Slovak vacation-goers. We arrived at the airport in Hurghada and then took a bus the 40km to our resort, which was really more like a compound. Since such resorts are basically in the middle of the desert, they must function on an 'all-inclusive' program, since there are no restaurants or civilization to go to for food. I was warned not to drink the water except from specially positioned water jugs. Despite heeding the warning, I was almost immediately sick...either from water or from food poisoning. Later, Sylvia would join me briefly in my misery. Despite this setback, it was nice to sit on the beach and swim each day in the Red Sea. The water was amazingly clear and the temperature was a constant, dry 98 degrees each day.
Pyramids at Giza
An overlook of the pyramid complex at Giza.
made things a bit unusual around the resort, I was happy that we had traveled during Ramadan. It was unbelievable to think that all of the Muslim hotel workers and shop owners could stand day after day in the heat with no water or food...although I started to feel like I was observing Ramadan as well, considering the scarcity of good water or appealing food. The hotel had constructed a huge tent next to our restaurant which served food to workers at sundown after the end of fasting for the day.
We booked two trips while in Egypt. The first was to Cairo and Giza. We took a 24-hour bus round trip bus ride across the desert to Giza to see the famous pyramid complex and the sphinx. I had always wondered how large the pyramids actually were, since it is really impossible to tell from pictures. I was amazed
at how large they were. What is more amazing is their age (around 5,000 years old) and the ways they are speculated to have been built. Some guess that they may have completely buried each layer of stones to reach successively higher levels until the entire pyramid was both built
The Great Pyramid
Me on the great pyramid at Giza.
and completely buried and then later uncovered. Of course, no method has been confirmed. Another amazing thing is that the great pyramid is the only remaining wonder of the ancient world. Nearby is the sphinx, which was almost an amazing thing to see. It seemed smaller than I had imagined, but it is really dwarfed by the pyramids in the background, which probably skewed my perception at the time. I was invited by the police to stand on the great pyramid, which is highly forbidden. However, immediately after getting my picture taken there, the police extorted a little money (a euro each for three of them) from Sylvia and I. Luckily, the policeman was a good photographer, so I feel like I got my money's worth. I also get the feeling he has had a lot of practice. After visiting the pyramids, we traveled into Cairo to see the Museum of Antiquities. This is the museum that holds all of the Egyptian artifacts controlled by the government and many are not allowed to travel outside of the country. The most impressive part of the museum is the collection of artifacts discovered by Howard Carter of Tutankhamun. This includes the very
Sylvia and I on the Great Pyramid
What wonderful camera work by the police.
famous gold mask
Our second trip was to go snorkeling along some of the coral reefs on the Red Sea. Sylvia was very excited to try snorkeling, although she was surprised when our first stop was in very deep water instead of near a shoreline. It was a fun trip and we saw some amazing reefs and sea life.
After two weeks in Egypt, I was ready to be back in Slovakia, back to Slovak food, and back to our daily activities.
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