Friday, May 18, 2012

The Pyramids and Pests

Prior to going to the pyramids, my Egyptian family advised me to not go by myself due to the amount of "Egyptian pests" and the lack of police regulation due to the focus on elections and not tourism. I thought my dear Hedy might just be acting like a concerned mother and exaggerating the actual scene there, but in fact she was 100 percent right. It was good I followed her direction rather than being "Miss Independent." For a change, I did not want to go by myself rather I wanted to have a friend/companion to joke around with and take silly pictures for once. I am always going everywhere alone so having a friend for a change is good.

Honestly, I was not excited about going to the pyramids, but learning the history and going inside made me thankful to be present there.  Yes, there were camel men following, boys trying to sell tissues, head pieces, or water.  They were hovering over me every second I took a breathe and would not leave me alone for even one second. 

Besides this, the pyramids are a spectacular wonder of the world.  There are three big pyramids with two having the inside open for entry.  The three smaller periods I found to be more interesting with the hieroglyphics and going down under ground to see the remains. Inside all pyramids it is pretty much the same stairway down or up, which leads to empty tombs.  The Great pyramid was a climb up steep, narrow stairs to the top where you can glimpse the old tomb-not that amazing, but being inside something so ancient is amazing. 

What is interesting about the Pyramids is the symbolism.  Wikipedia does a better job explaining it than me.

The shape of Egyptian pyramids is thought to represent the primordial mound from which the Egyptians believed the earth was created. The shape of a pyramid is thought to be representative of the descending rays of the sun, and most pyramids were faced with polished, highly reflective white limestone, in order to give them a brilliant appearance when viewed from a distance. Pyramids were often also named in ways that referred to solar luminescence. For example, the formal name of the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur The Southern Shining Pyramid, and that of Senwosret at el-Lahun was Senwosret is Shining.
While it is generally agreed that pyramids were burial monuments, there is continued disagreement on the particular theological principles that might have given rise to them. One theory is that they were designed as a type of "resurrection machine."[12]
The Egyptians believed the dark area of the night sky around which the stars appear to revolve was the physical gateway into the heavens. One of the narrow shafts that extends from the main burial chamber through the entire body of the Great Pyramid points directly towards the center of this part of the sky. This suggests the pyramid may have been designed to serve as a means to magically launch the deceased pharaoh's soul directly into the abode of the gods.
All Egyptian pyramids were built on the west bank of the Nile, which as the site of the setting sun was associated with the realm of the dead in Egyptian mythology.[13]

When it was 12:30 prayer time for my friend, we both separated and I was able to meet a nice boy named Ahmed who gave me some history and accompanied me into the smaller temples.  He was full of interesting facts and he also explained the symbolism behind the temples.  Staring at the Spinx and taking many silly photos, I joked with Ahmed that the Sphinx needs a facial.  He says, "What is facial?" I just laugh and say, "It means reconstruction of the face." He says, "What is reconstruction?" It means to "rebuild." He responds with a big, "Ohhh I see." A funny moment between the American and the Egyptian.

Overall the Giza pyramids are nice, but Egypt has much better historical monuments and pyramids that are in different areas i.e. Saqqara, Aswan, Luxor, and the pyramids of Dahshur.  Also, there is suppose to be now a little bit over a hundred pyramids in Egypt-so much more than what meets the eye. 

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