Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sightseeing and the Rorschach Inkblot Test

Today, Vagabondblogger, Number 1 Son and Vagabondblogger's Boss Man went sightseeing. We spent close to 8 hours touring Pyramids and some of the Nile Valley. It was bone-chilling cold, windy and rainy, which almost brought the whole sightseeing show to a close. Then another glitch: As Vagabondblogger and Number 1 Son were changing lenses on the camera, dust (sand, camel shit - who knows) must have been blown onto a lens, which then fell onto a mirror (showing up as a black bat type Rorschach blotch in photos); and after some mouth blowing (to blow the dust off) and messing with the Nikon D70, it decided it had had enough of our foreplay and completely shunned us by refusing to open it's shutter. (What a tease!) We were somewhat screwed (and frustrated), except for the fact that we had Number 1 Son's good, but inferior camera. Unfortunately Number 1 Son forgot his USB wire and we all have to wait for his return to the States for the photos from his camera.

We spent a long time at the Saqqara Pyramids, which was nice as there were few (and I mean few) tourists. Vagabondblogger's Boss Man wanted to know which came first: The Pyramids or the Beer? Saqqara is amazing. I think we looked at every nook and crany at Saqqara and Vagabondblogger has decided that some people think these relics are: (1) Garbage dumps; (2) Huge ashtrays; or (3) Places to have your picture taken and buy cheap knickknacks. Anyone who has ever been to Mycenae or the Parthenon, has to be shocked by the total disregard tourists have for these sacred grounds. What's even more hypocritical is that most of the youngsters (neo-hippies) will probably give everyone else a lecture pro-P.E.T.A. or on environmental warming, but they don't consider their own actions deplorable. As a friend of mine in Greece said, "The Europeans think that they can come here and shit on us and no one will give a damn." I smoke, but I've voluntarily quit smoking at all these places, nor do I eat or drink at these places, or throw the cans, wrappers or even full bags of garbage down, just because it's sandy and convenient. No Vagabondblogger and family try not to be slobs (at least in public.) As much as these places are amazing, it's disheartening to see the little respect they get from their visitors. On another note: prepare to go through a metal detector at these sites, at least in Egypt.

After a late lunch, we spent about an hour at the Giza Pyramids, which was packed with buses of tourists and schoolchildren. Number 1 Son secretly climbed up the backside of a Pyramid, where no police were posted. He was delighted (in all his Facebook/Frat/rock climbing/ I did it & you can't glory.) At that point, no one cared if we saw another tomb and we had been warned upon entering, that they were closing up shop in one hour.

While traipsing around, we were also given an alternate story to the one of Napoleon shooting the nose off the Sphinx - sort of Taliban light, about the transition period between paganism and Islam. Apparently people would pray to the Sphinx in times of despair and a mufti, to prove that the Sphinx was not a god but just a statue, chopped off the nose to get those stray pagans to come into the fold. We just laughed and made jokes about being careful if Cheney were to ever visit.

We did delight in getting a ride through the stable area streets, which house the camels, horses, and donkeys used for touring and policing services at Giza. Those photos might come up later here or on Flickr after Number 1 Son sends them on to me.

So for today's photos, I submit the following and would like to note, that the photo of the Saqqara Pyramids has been cropped to rid it of black flying object blotching the sky,and the Camel Kissing A Man photo has been enhanced with a retouch to get rid of the hideous black blotch.

Also, no more photos of Pyramids will be submitted as they're "personal" in nature (meaning a few have a family member's faces in them) and besides, there are much better and more professional photos of the Pyramids available throughout the Internet. And, yes, that means you will not see a photo of Number 1 Son on the Giza Pyramids, unless you know his Facebook address.

A short tour:

Two men and a toilet on a motorcycle:
Two Men and a Toilet on a Motorcycle

Saqqara Payramids:
Saqqara Pyramids

A Camel Kissing A Man - Saqqara Pyramids:
A Camel Kissing A Man

Lastly, on the way home from Giza, as we were driving down a road locally referred to as "Dead Donkey Canal Road" we saw over a dozen VW Baywindow vans with rooftop carriers. I mean over a dozen, at least - I couldn't keep track of them and Vagabondblogger Boss Man says, "We're by the Pyramids and all she can look at is VW Vans!" (Yeah, and Number 1 Son is not as generous with his camera as Vagabondblogger is - so no pics.)

And why do they call it "Dead Donkey Canal Road?" Because dead donkeys, camels and horses are sometimes seen floating in the canal, with a pile of little kids on top taking a ride.

Expat Profiles will return in a few days (in other words, after Vagabondblogger recuperates from Number 1 Son's visit.)

P.S: If you decide to wear cargos to look cool and safari style, then count on ten million other assholes like you, wearing, I mean, sharing the same dream. Take a look at yourself in the mirror and decide - do you want to look like a twit or just like someone enjoying a revered site? The choice is yours - are your looks more important than the monuments? If so, don't bother going - just stay in your hotel room admiring yourself all day. -v

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