How does one describe the mystery of the Egyptian Pyramids and tombs of the Pharaohs? For two young women who backpacked through Italy, Greece and Egypt it was a confusing cacophony of sights and sounds from the moment we disembarked from the ferry boat in Alexandria and made our way down to Cairo. The train from Alexandria to Cairo was overbooked with passengers and the station was filled with armed guards ordering the crowds to disperse. A Jitney cab offered us a ride (3 EGP) where we loaded in with other passengers for the three hour journey to Cairo. When we arrived at Ramses Square we had no idea where we were going to spend the night. A passenger in the Jitney cab offered us dinner at his parents house and that was a welcome idea until we entered the apartment and it was devoid of parents or dinner. We grabbed our backpacks and ran down the stairs onto the streets of Cairo in search of lodging. The Cairo Hilton was too expensive ($150.00 in 1977) and the Sheraton had no rooms but the desk clerk recommended the El Nile Hotel where the price was right. Sleep came easily to us that night and we dreamt of the ancients. The following day I went to the lobby to inquire about sightseeing opportunities where a one-eyed man named Sam said, "I can show you around the antiquities of the Egyptian Museum, the step pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, tomb of Mereruka, Memphis and the Great Pyramids of Giza. In between Sam scammed us of 25% of the purchase price of souvenirs that can be seen in the photos of Margo with inlaid objects and jewelry. Putting that aside the excavation sights were a dream to behold and everything that you have seen in art history books. Serene desert vistas as far as the eye can see surrounded by date palm trees and crumbling pyramids from 4000+ BCE. Fortunately I still have the diary that describes the experience of visiting the magnificent Great Pyramids of Giza. Bucket list checked off in 1977!
© Diane Alexander White PHOTOGRAPHY