A Journal of chimeras (brief postings that vanish)

Copyright Mel. White, 2011-2020

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Great Pyramid and beyond

Today we woke up early (5am our time) to head out to see the Great Pyramid and hear the dawn lecture by Zahi Hawass.  We arrived just as the sun rose and turned the limestone of the Sphinx (where he was standing... eternal showman that he is) into gold.  The old monument regarded the rising sun as it has done for the past 4,500 years while we small ones walked around its huge paws and learned its history.  Up close, you can see chisel marks on some of the facings where restoration had been done hundreds of years ago.

And then it was off to the Great Pyramid.  As we all know, my ambitions are great but my body is not so great.  "We can see all three chambers," they said.  "Cell phone photos are okay but no cameras."  We climbed up to the thieves' entrance, about a 6th of the way up and entered.  "We'll go up to the middle chamber but if you want to see all three rooms, start with the bottom chamber.

We all know where this is going, right?

Yup.  I went down all 300 meters below the earth, into the subterranean chamber.  The passageway is low (even short little me had to walk bent over down the slope), and the "footing" is actually a series of boards nailed together with slats across each (think of a railroad and railroad ties.  There were only a few lights along the way, so Geek Princess here grabbed out her cell phone and used the flashlight function as we went farther and farther from the light.  The last little dot of light at the top winked out and we kept on going.

At the bottom, we reached a small square passageway and had to crawl to go forwards for about 30 feet to reach the unfinished bottom chamber.  I took a photo, and one of the guards said "no photos."  So much for that.

And then it was back up the slope.  Sadly, there's no quick way out -- only the long slope up in the deep darkness.  Then we hauled ourselves to the second level.  "The main chamber's straight ahead," Bruce said.  Two ramps merged, sloping upward, that led to the Queen's chamber.

Yes, I went.  More slopes in the darkness.   I was only able to stay a short time (I move so slowly that it takes me a longer time to get someplace.)  After making my way down, I took the turn (and the crawl) into the main chamber and stared at the granite sarcophagus.  Although I'm making this sound anticlimactic, the truth here is that the wifi is rather unreliable and even my phone drops signal frequently.  So I'm typing in haste, but I have notes and pictures to follow.

This was not the end of my adventures, but it's the end of my typing for the moment.  It's dinner time and believe me, I have earned this meal!

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