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Alicia & Rich's Roads to Everywhere London to Australia on the route less traveled

Cairo - Day 3

EGYPT | Tuesday, 21 October 2008 | Views [424]

Dahsur, Sakkara & Memphis

Our driver for the day is Sam and we're joined on our trip by an Irish couple called Jason and Orlaith. They seem to have travelled quite a lot and Jason's got some handy advice for South America - particularly Peru.

We visit the pyramids at Sakkara and Dahsur and go inside one called the Red Pyramid. It stinks (literally). To get inside you first climb about half way up (like 3 stories) and then descend very steeply (at about 70o, which is a killer on the legs) once through the entrance. When you're inside and finally at the bottom, so long as you ignore your lactic acid burning muscles, your sore back from having to crouch, and the stench of ammonia, you will find various passages and chambers to explore. And it is at this point you really appreciate the quality and longevity of the workmanship involved. The climb out is considerably more uncomfortable than the way in. The small bag on Rich's back means he has to clamber up on all fours as space is so restricted.

After the pyramids, we head over to Memphis, but not the home of Elvis of course - this one was once the capital of Lower Egypt and is very important historically. I can't be anymore specific than that though because Sam said the site's a bit crap and not worth the entrance fee. We believed him after taking a quick peek through the gates.

We end up having a late lunch/early dinner with Jason and Orlaith and we choose to sample the local delights of a dish called Schwerma. This turns out to be a lot like a donner kebab but considerably nicer and accompanied by some vegetables. We ruin the authenticity though with a side order of chips/fries. A quick goodbye to our Irish friends and back to the hostel to collect our bags and catch our train.

Sam (our driver/guide from today) is also taking us to the station. Sam has proved to be quite an interesting character and has lots of stories: "When I was training for the army..."; "When I was a racing car driver..."; "When I lived in England..."; "When I was doing my 2nd degree"; "When I owned my own business..."; (etc) and although you'd like for them all to be true, it does seem he's lived a very full life for someone who's no more than 35. You also perhaps have to wonder what someone with so many qualifications and trades is doing driving us round for the day. Anyway, we can give some credibility to the racing car story because he manages to get us from downtown Cairo to Giza train station in just under 15 minutes (which is pretty damn quick - necessary as well as we're running late for the train).

No more dramas though as we settle into our cabin on the train and we're finally on our way to Aswan.


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