March 14, 2009

Ancient history

Think Egypt. Think pyramids.

They're the only Wonder of the Ancient World left standing, and we saw them... and touched them and climbed them and took about 500 photos of them.

The day started with the discovery of Craig's backpack, but it wasn't long before our attention was diverted from all things lost luggage to all things ancient Egypt. Our first port of call was the Egyptian Museum, which houses 120,000 objects from the ancient times. We saw statues, tools, jewellery, inscriptions, mummified animals (the crocodile was pretty cool) and furniture, with the highlight being the treasures and elaborate mask of King Tutankhamen – we weren't allowed to take our camera inside, but I've chucked in a file photo to the right to jog your Year-10-History memory.

After a good couple of hours at the museum, it was off to the papyrus factory where the majority of our tour group was scammed into buying overpriced papyrus prints. Scare tactics and promises of a 10 per cent discount were the rip-off weapons of choice.

A quick koshari (an Egyptian dish consisting of rice, macaroni, chickpeas, lentils and a spicy tomato salsa) was devoured on the bus as we made our way to the Pyramids of Giza. Sure, there were hawkers and spruikers galore – selling everything from postcards to pyramids statuettes – but it was still pretty special to stand under, and climb on, the Great Pyramid. We then opted for the ultimate cliche, and hired a camel to take us out into the desert for a long-distance view of the pyramids (there are nine in total, but only three of them are big enough to care about).

Once we were done and dusted with the pyramids, it was Sphinx time. We only had time for a few quick snaps before we were suddenly kicked out for closing time.

Totally exhausted, we headed back to the hotel. We hoped and prayed that my bag would be there when we arrived, but there was no sign of it in the lobby and our fears were quickly confirmed when we were told the airline still didn't know where it was.

We quickly scoffed down a buffet dinner before being shuffled onto a bus. Destination: Cairo train station. Our bed for the night was a reclining seat on the overnight train to Aswan. Elated, exhausted and down one bag (devo!), we left Cairo content in the fact that we had ticked a massive box on our 'to do' list.

One down, 5623 to go!