கண்டேன் பிரமிட்ஸ் !!!
It's only an irony that I could visit the Pyramids only after being in Cairo for more than 4 and a half months!!! :(
Never got a chance you see.. :P
For general information about the Pyramids, you can do what other tourists do. Read Wiki. :D
For some travel tips, read on.
No matter from where in Cairo you go the Pyramids it must cost you around 30 Pounds only. The pyramids are in Giza. There are some cab drivers who try to sweet talk you into some other pyramids. They keep asking you if you would like to go to Saqqara Pyramids or to some hotel, before you would like to go to the Pyramids. They are quite clever, aren't they. When they try any of these tricks, be strict and firm with them. You have come all the way, round the world, to see a wonder of the world, not to be conned !!! Our taxi driver did try to sweet talk us into some hotel, and we played a comedy with him, finally he got so bloody pissed off that he took straight to the Pyramids. :P
The pyramids are also knows as Haraam. (ஹராம்). So in case some Taxi driver appear genuine (to you) and ask for which Pyramids, try to make sure u pronounce the word correctly. It will sound the same as the Islamic word for 'banned' or 'sinful' but yes, that is what Pyramids is in Arabic.
There is no perfect time to see the Pyramids. They 'open' at 10 in the morning. And it 'closes' at 5:30 PM. Do this on a Friday morning. Friday being a Prayer day, there will be lesser locals and in general lesser crowd. I suggest, get there early. It helps. The ticket to roam around the Pyramid complex, i.e to look at the Pyramids and the Sphinx is 60 Egyptian Pounds. If you would like to enter into a Pyramid, the ticket has to be purchased separately. For the Great Pyramid, its 100 Pounds and for the smaller pyramid it is 30 Pounds. We chose the smaller Pyramids.
Be very wary of touts. These are people who look like normal Egyptians but are actually 'fleece' agents. They keep telling you they are your friends, they will help you take photos etc, but are in fact looking for an opportunity to con you. So please be careful. I recommend that you get hold of a guide when you are coming. :P
After you enter, its a 100 metre walk to the great Pyramid. I had expected great crowds but actually the crowd was minimal. It was a floating population. That's all. I've already mentioned that there is no good time to see the Pyramid, because, no matter at what time of the day you go, it is going to be hot, very hot. So please come prepared. Come with two three water bottles - per person, if you really want to survive in that place. There are no shops inside. And I cannot assure you of the quality of water that you may find in 'Aquafina' bottles that are sold by the Camel Caretakers. Try to cover yourself as much as possible, as the sun can literally suck the water out of your body and to top it all, it becomes a bit dusty towards the afternoon.
You can climb and take pictures only on one wall of the Great Pyramid. Other sides are fenced and closely watched by Guards. Climbing also is restricted upto a certain height only. After your photo shoot at the great pyramids is over, you can go visit the second pyramid. At this point of time, it is highly probable that you might be asked by more than a dozen people for renting out a camel or a horse (individual as well as for a couple) to look around the Pyramids. If you are smart enough to bargain, you can easily get a horse for 5 pounds an hour. That's goddamn cheap mind it. Not Euros or Dollars :P as the touts would ask for. Its 5 Egyptian Pounds. So if you hear someone bragging that they had a tour of the Giza complex for 15 Euros, you know, they got conned, Right Royally. :P
The second Pyramid actually is the one with a small cap on its head. Its equally majestic as the great Pyramid but somehow it appeals less to the eye. It was in this one that we decided to go into. The entry into the Pyramid immediately narrows down into a 4 feet something height passage with an almost 40 degree decline. If you are taller than 6 feet, you may have to go down on your knees into this one. This decline happens for some 30 feet. If you are claustrophobic or scared of breathing in closed places, this one is not for you. Definitely not. Breathing down there becomes slightly difficult as there is no way oxygen can actually come in. Once you get down the incline, you have to walk humped for another 20 feet, where you encounter another incline, again 30 feet. By this time, you are already huffing and puffing and throw in the fact that there is no oxygen :P, you really begin to get flustered. You walk straight down a passage for about another 50 feet when you enter a passage and there is one chamber there, with a coffin like structure that appears as if there was a mummy inside. That was all.
The third pyramid is a bit far away from the other two. Again, you will be accosted by a number of 'Camel-Hawkers'. It is your bargaining skills. They are actually quite desparate to get one or two camels off their heads, so don't be surprised if you really get a good bargain. The third pyramid is usually the least visited as most of the tourists are tired by the time they finish the first two pyramids.
After the three pyramids, its a long walk down the road to the Sphinx. Approximately half a kilometer. On this road, you will meet many youngsters trying to sell you Pyramids and Sphinx sets as souveniers. You can buy them, again, there is no guarantee that they will last your airplane journey :P.
As for the sphinx, there is actually no particular way to 'enter' the sphinx. Nobody guides you. You just have to learn to make your way inside. The hall inside is decorated with plain pillars. On one side is a small inclined, open passage, crossing which you will reach the Sphinx. Actually its a bit risky thing to let tourists onto that sandy cliff like portion, as one might trip and fall. The fall would be close to 10-12 feet atleast. The attractions at the sphinx are those photos that you see on Facebook, Picasa and Flickr, those kissing photos, holding sphinx in your palms. Towering over the Pyramids etc... Yeah, those gimmicks. :P
After that its time to get back home. Again, bargain very carefully with the taxi drivers as they know that you have to depend on them to get back home. So ensure that you are nice to them but be firm at the same time.
P.S:- As for the sound and light show, it is in the evening and starts from 6:30. English show is at 8:30 PM. Its ok. I wouldn't say it was too good and all. Average fare. Definitely not worth the 75 Pounds that you pay.
Cairo Diaries - 21
கண்டேன் பிரமிட்ஸ் !!!