The Chase Across The Great Pyramids
My taxi came to a screeching halt in bumper to bumper traffic. I used this time to look up from my phone and glance out my window.
The antiquated limestone and mudrock buildings stand tall over the narrow street. High up on the buildings, signs for the shops below blend in with the colorful clothing lines. Vendors are haggling with tourists over hookahs, clothes, and trinkets. But the bustling streets of Cairo appear muted from my taxi’s window.
A vendor selling Egyptian artifacts triggers a flashback to my time in Namibia. Windhoek was such a fascinating city filled with rich history and beautiful nature. I remember overwhelming this lady with questions at the local market and buying a cheetah she carved from wood. I even played with cheetahs at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Otjiwarongo.
The car jolted forward and woke me from my daze. It took me a few seconds to gather my thoughts before I peered down at my phone again.
I’ve been researching Cairo, Giza, and the Ancient Egyptians ever since I boarded my flight from Namibia. I managed to digest a good amount of content about the area and felt like an expert. How foolish of me to think such a thing.
When my cab finally navigated through the city of Cairo and crossed the Nile river over the Qasr al-Nil Bridge, the sky was dark and the sun was well set over the vast desert.
I got out of my mistakably white taxi and headed inside the hotel. While I was checking in, I ordered room service. The menu was shockingly wide-ranged and it took me awhile to settle on Koshari for dinner and Om Ali for dessert.
When my food finally came up, I devoured it while watching the local news. I couldn’t understand what was being said. I glanced over at the clock and it was rapidly approaching midnight. Without hesitation, I settled into bed and fell into a deep slumber.
The sun blazed into my room at the crack of dawn. Apparently, I forgot to close the blinds last night. I lethargically got ready for the day of sightseeing.
I left my hotel and strolled the streets of Giza, heading west towards the Giza Necropolis. A block away from my hotel, I came across a breakfast stand. The options were limited, but I ordered Ful medames.
Food in hand, I continued to walk westward, aimlessly looking at the buildings on either side of the street. Even in the early morning, vendors were haggling with tourists. There was no way I was walking 5 more miles in this heat with the sun beaming down on me. When I finished my food, I hailed a cab.
The city grew small in the rear-view mirror. Camels and horse-drawn carriages replaced the cars and motorbikes from the city as we quickly approached the boundless desert.
When I stepped out of the cab, I was enclosed by the emptiness of the Sahara Desert. I spun around, looking in all directions at the barren land covered with golden rocks. My shoes sank into the sand, leaving a Nike swoosh imprinted in the sand as I headed for the pyramids.
The Giza Necropolis is known for The Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx. But there are other well-known ruins and temples in the same area. The main complex was littered with tourists and tall, sandy looking monuments.
The area was scattered with worn-down rock structures. I was climbing these small ruins, exploring them as if I was an archaeologist. Across from me, 2 million or so limestone and granite blocks towered 400 plus feet high in the sky. For more than 3,800 years, the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world.
On my way down from one of the ancient ruins, I tripped over a small rock and landed face first in the scorching hot desert sand. My phone flew out of my hands and landed a few feet in front of me. I was praying the screen didn’t land on a rock and crack. I got up, dusted myself off, and took a step forward only to realize my phone was missing. I looked around the sandy ground, but to no avail.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone darting through a small crowd. The sun’s rays caused a streak of light to bounce off the glass screen, proving my phone was in the thief’s hands.
Without hesitation, I take off after him. Nobody around me seems startled by this recent development. The person is heading towards the Mortuary Temple of Khufu. I remember reading somewhere that this was the first pyramid to be built in Giza. The pyramids of the earlier kings were built in Memphis, the previous capital of Egypt.
He ran past the Pyramid of Hetepheres I and into the Giza East Field. Hetepheres’s sarcophagus was found inside the tomb sealed, yet empty. It was discovered on accident by a photographer in the 1920’s.
I was only a few feet behind the kid before losing sight of him in the field. I don’t understand why they call it a field. It’s a cemetery and there isn’t a blade of grass in sight. Small pyramids, tombs, and Mastaba’s cover the terrain, making it extremely difficult to find an agile phone thief.
I stand still, slowly moving my head left and right for any sign of movement. To the right, I see a shadow moving towards the local streets. I sprint dead straight to cut him off and force him back towards the pyramids. He noticed me and cut hard to the right.
We’re now heading south towards the Great Sphinx. I race past the Mastaba of Queen Meresankh III and remember seeing the exquisite decorations inside her tomb. Unlike others, her tomb had various scenes depicting her life as an Ancient Egyptian.
I crossed the road, only a few feet behind him, and he tripped right in front of the Great Sphinx. Karma. Out of breath, I approached the boy.
A large crowd walked right in front of me, cutting my vision of the kid off. I pushed through the crowd to find him gone. But my phone wasn’t. It sat right there on the ground. I looked up and the noseless Sphinx was staring down at me with all it’s might.
Well, that’s one way to see the Great Pyramids.
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