One of the things that strikes you about the city of Cairo (and Giza) is that the buildings look terrible. Very few of the residence buildings are completed. Our guide advised that this is a way to avoid taxes, as apparently incomplete buildings are taxed much lower. It sure makes the residences look ugly, especially at night, when you can see that they don’t have windows but people are still living there. You can see carpets & towels over windows, even see right into people’s living areas, and it can look rather sad.
|Incomplete buildings – they almost all look this way!|
That said, there is obviously a lot of money in this country too – in some places. There are beautiful places.
So about the pyramids. We went to two sites today – the Giza pyramids, the larger ones and more modern, and the Sakkara pyramids, one of which is the oldest man-made stone structure in the world, over 4500 years old, yikes.
At each stop, we of course got out and did the tourist thing – took pictures of course! And said, “no no no” hundreds of times. Yikes, there are hundreds of guys hawking their wares here, from kids who look eight or nine years old, right up to those who look to be in their eighties! They seem very pushy to Canadians, let me tell you. And they are all smoking cigarettes – even the eight year olds!
|Vendors hawking their wares at the Giza Pyramids|
The pyramids themselves are pretty impressive. They were at one time capped with limestone, but it was all stolen to make new buildings, so now they are jagged on the edges.
|The Giza Pyramids|
|Dayna stands before the largest pyramid at Giza. Notice the jaggy edge. The smooth part up high is what is left of the smooth cap that used to be on all of them!|
So then we went to a shop that sold jewelry. Now we could not afford the big ticket items in there, but we did buy a nice crystal pyramid and a few other little items.
Next to a papyrus shop. We didn’t buy anything but it was fascinating the way they used to make the stuff… and they still do!
Lunch was wonderful, although we couldn’t identify everything, it was all great.
Then off to the Sakkara pyramids, which are the oldest pyramids of them all, reaching back to around 5,000 years ago! We actually got to go inside one of them, down to the sarcophagus chamber and saw real hyroglyphics, very cool. I actually touched them, wasn’t supposed to, oops. We weren’t able to take pictures in there, so nothing to show – but it’s worthwhile, if you ever get the chance.
So then back to the hotel for supper, very nice.
After supper, Dayna and I went for a walk outside the walls of the hotel grounds. We figured we might come across a convenience store or market where we might buy Diet Pepsi, etc. We came across two others from our group who were doing the same thing. Then we came across a member of the hotel staff, just off duty, who offered to take us to one.
Well first stop was nothing of the sort, it was a perfume shop. Wow, what a place. The perfumes were apparently pure extract, no chemicals nor alcohol. It was amazing! So we bought some, spent too much!
Then they took us to a general gift shop, then another papyrus place. We were tired, didn’t buy, came back. And that’s it. Well, except updating this blog!