Monday, September 29, 2008

Leave - Day 2: Giza and the Shit Pigeons

Bright and early, our local guide was at the hotel to begin our day at the pyramids of Giza. First stop, the step pyramid at Sakkara. While old and decrepit, the sheer size and age made it impressive. Unfortunately, these are all out in the open; between tourism and time, a toll is taken from the structures. So, doing a little maintenance on it, we find evidence that OSHA definitely doesn't exist here:
Why spend money for steel scaffolding when you can just make it out of 2x4s and rope, then use the lumber later in other projects? Unsafe? Only if Allah wills it so!

Some of the step pyramid's 24 hour staff:

Not shown, at least twenty highly aggressive crap/souvenir salesmen and donkey/camel ride entrepeneurs who'd feel right at home with the carnies in the States. Why aren't they shown? How many pissed off shouting orally-hygiene challenged guys would you like to have following you around demanding cash for taking their pictures? Once is all it takes for me to learn some things....

Then, off to the Great Pyramids. There's no way to emphasize how massive these are as you drive up to them. They're incredible. And if you have good eyes, you can see the all the policemen trying very hard to not let the tourists interrupt their naps......
The same pyramid as above, with some people by the stones for perspective on scale:
And the Sphinx, which was also incredible. Once again, everyone runs the gauntlet of vendors. These people get truly pissed off if you don't buy anything from them, then see you later with something they're also selling.
And some the unintended moments of amusement by the Great Pyramid: Urging people to keep the site clean is great. Don't you think it would work better if there weren't camels and donkeys crapping on every piece of flat ground they can find?

Thankfully, some of the local residents are dedicated to removing all this animal waste, one peck at a time:

But even the shit pigeons can't keep up with the various pieces of trash thrown everywhere, like the excavation sites for some of the pharonic boats in museums:

Then it was time to pack it in, and head back to the hotel. But we got to see one more locally famous place (famous here on North Camp, anyway). The KFC below is well known for it's ability to give most soldiers who eat there violent multi-day diarrhea. Every time there's a duty tour to Cairo, someone who hasn't been here long will show up in the clinic. This place is what they have in common:

Fortunately, nothing in the bar at the hotel had that reputation......

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