In the morning, from Luxor airport we flew to Cairo. We got a ride from a tour company which came to pick some of the passengers from the same plane. Ma had difficulties in finding a cab on Uber because the cab driver could not locate us and the representative also failed to find the cab driver. Therefore, she offered us to go with them as their hotel was close to ours. Those passengers were from India, though ma thought they were Bangladeshis as they were speaking Bangla.
In the afternoon, we set for the Cairo Museum. Tutankhamun’s huge gold coffins and other items were here at the display. The whole area was full of shiny gold items! It was prohibited to take pictures. The place was fully packed with visitors, and they were literally pushing each other to see the displays. Some were taking pictures and the security guards were shouting at them. We could not spend any time with Tutankhamun’s possessions as Ma was afraid that we might get hurt in the pushing and shoving.
We also saw the famous mummies, which looked like ghosts to me. Ma said when we visited this place 6 or 7 years before (I do not remember anything), smart phones were allowed inside the area to take pictures, but ma did not have a smart phone that time. This time no phone was allowed, and the security guards were very strict. The museum was a great place to learn about the lives of the pharaohs and ancient Egypt, but it involved a lot of walking.
The Great Pyramid!
We woke up early to go to one of the Seven Wonders of the World - the great pyramids of Giza! The largest pyramid was built for Pharaoh Khufu. It took 20 years to construct one pyramid! There are misconceptions that pyramids were built by prisoners and slaves. But no! The pyramids were built by seasonal farmers who had nothing to do on their farms because of floods. Around the pyramids, there were bakeries, which made thousands of bread loaves a day for the workers. The pyramids generated a lot of business around the construction sites.
It was such a privilege to see a gigantic tomb that stood for more than 2,000 years! The pyramids were made of huge stone blocks that were cut and taken to Giza by a boat from Aswan. To be honest, the boat, which is known as ‘sunboat’ looked more like a mini ship to me rather than a rowboat. It took 2.3 million stone blocks to make the pyramids in Giza. The Great Pyramid alone took 100,000 blocks to build. Each block weighed three tons. No wonder it had taken so long for the farmers to cut and move the stone blocks with nothing but logs and ropes. They must have been also expert in transporting the blocks and it relates to the fact that the ancient Egyptians were the first to create boats with sails.
When the pyramids were built, they had a shiny exterior to reflect sunlight, because the ancient Egyptians believed that the sun would take the pharaohs to the afterlife. To me, it felt crazy to undertake such huge work just for afterlife. When I found myself face to face with one of the Seven Wonders of the World, I felt uneasy and scared. I felt like an ant, about to be squished by a rock golem. For me it was hard to believe that ancient people indeed built this enormous thing by moving the three-ton blocks with only logs and ropes. Like many others, I wonder how they did it!
The Great Sphinx was the largest stone structure carved from one huge block of limestone! It has the face of King Khafre who is son of Pharao Khufu
I did not want to go inside the pyramids but unfortunately for me, the guide had already bought our tickets. Once we reached there, I felt uneasy. We went inside the pyramid using a small entrance and a narrow path. I was really frightened because this ancient wonder was old, so who knew when it would come crashing down!
Ma told me, when I first visited the pyramids 7/8 years before, I cried the entire period inside the pyramid. That time, my grandfather carried me, but this time I had to walk. Aariz seemed to behave braver and he went in and out without any fear. Ma also said that there was a stone coffin inside it and no light, so the cabin was dark. But this time the place had light, but we did not have any desire to take pictures. I wanted to go out as soon as I could. Luckily, we came out all sweaty and alive because if we had not, this article would not have been written! Oh, how I wish there was an AC inside!
The pyramid is still standing and will continue for probably thousands more years. We saw few other pyramids in the area which were not in good condition like the one of King Khufu that we had entered.
Our guide took pictures of us with the pyramids and then we left to see the Great Sphinx of Giza. We could not go close to the Sphinx to take good pictures with it because it was really crowded. The Great Sphinx was the largest stone structure carved from one huge block of limestone! It has the face of King Khafre who is son of Pharao Khufu. Some also believe that the Sphinx was made by King Khufu or Khafre’s elder brother. From far, it looks like a lion in sitting position. While everyone was busy in taking pictures, I scanned the Sphinx with my eyes and found a perfect square hole behind the ear, could it be a secret passageway to go in? I crossed my fingers hoping it was!
Dinosaur in Cairo!
After the Sphinx, we two brothers were hoping to go to our hotel but instead we reached an old building after a short drive. My mother did not tell us where we were going. I was confused because we stopped at an ordinary, not exciting at all building. We wondered what it was! What a surprise, it was a geology museum and it had dinosaur and prehistoric animal fossils! Can you imagine, fossils of a real baby spinosaurus, an arsinoitherium - a pre-historic rhino was standing in front of us? These were discovered in Egypt and now on display at the museum. Oh, how I longed to see a dinosaur fossil! It was my dream come true!
There were also meteorites and Stone Age fossils! Ma disclosed to us later that Uncle Mohammad and Aunty Lauren during our boat travel told her about this museum and she kept our visit to this place as a secret to surprise us. We also learned later that in January 2018, a fossil of dinosaur of tyrannosaurid group was discovered in an Egyptian desert. It belonged to the herbivorous species. A vegetarian in the desert? Well, that confirms the fact that million years ago, Egypt was a lush forest. With the extinction of the dinosaurs, mankind could evolve on this earth, but I kept imagining this place full of greenery.
While our adventure in Egypt stops here for now with a happy ending, we look forward to going back to the land of Nubian pyramids.
Aaryan Noor Rashid is a 10–year-old intrepid traveller