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Giza: Pyramids and Camels

giza pyramids

Giza, Giza, Giza. Where do I even begin? Ok, ever since I was a little girl, reading my Eyewitness picture books about ancient Egypt, it has been my dream to visit the great Giza pyramids. In my head I always imagined riding around on a majestic camel, wearing all-white linen, with the ancient arabian desert winds blowing through my hair and (a young) Peter O’Toole, Brendan Fraser, or Harrison Ford cantering along dreamily beside me. Let’s just say that the reality was a little less glamorous.

To put it mildly, Giza is a dump. It’s actually a suburb of Cairo, with the fenced-off and heavily armed pyramid complex. It’s dirty, stinky, and filled with people who will hustle you blind. We paid a taxi driver from Cairo to drive us around all day to the different sites. Once we got to Giza we had to find someone to rent camels from. We are complete idiots and forgot to ask how much it should cost to do a camel ride around the pyramids, which is a must in Egypt’s bartering culture. I am confident we overpaid enough to feed the camels, their owners, their owner’s families, and their friends and their camels for a month. But let’s not talk about that. The weather was beautiful, bright and sunny with a nice breeze going on, blowing through my long blonde hair. Too bad I didn’t factor the sand part in my fantasy. Oops.

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

Getting on and off the camels is really tricky, but once we were up there, we were good to go. After paying to enter the sight and passing through security, which consisted of a lot of men in robes and turbans with automatic weapons (shudder) we headed off towards the pyramids. The first thing we passed as we entered the complex? A dead horse. Yup, that’s right, a dead horse, just hanging out in the sand on the side of the path.

This is what I mean when I say that Egypt could definitely work on it’s tourism. Picking up trash and dead work animals around your nation’s top tourist attractions might actually help you out in the long run. Just saying.

giza pyramids

After that scarring image, we spent a good four hours cameling about the pyramids, hopping (or in my case, falling) on and off the camels. My poor thighs were so sore the next day! This girl was not meant to ride anything but bikes and horses! We climbed up a bit on one of the pyramids, and took a million ridiculous photos. Our camel guide loved my camera. He kept taking it from me and taking photos of me and M, among other things too. He was pretty chatty and told us lots of interesting things, though he swindled us out of a lot of money to show us where the entrances were to some of the smaller tombs. At least he bribed the guards so we could take photos, or I mean, so he could take photos of us inside. Creepy.

By the time we got to the Sphinx, we had gotten on and off the camels so many times I thought my legs might be bleeding. I was sure I would tumble head first into the sand if we stopped again. Also all the peddlers and people selling stuff lurk around the Sphinx, and at least when I was on the camel, I was up high enough they couldn’t reach me. Win!

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

We saw our first hieroglyphics that day, slid down a lot of narrow, long ramps into the tombs, learned how to tie turbans, reenacted scenes from Indiana Jones and the Mummy, and burnt the s*** our of our scalps. Lessons learned that day: wear hats in Egypt and barter better! And oh yeah, dreams do come true! 

Have you ever been to Giza? Ever ridden a camel before? Have you ever envisioned a place and then finally visited in person? Did your image match up to the reality?

giza pyramids
giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

giza pyramids

Please notice where he is staring. This pretty much sums up our interactions with men in Egypt.

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16 Responses to Giza: Pyramids and Camels

  1. Bailey@Lost&Found May 7, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    I have heard Giza is a dump, which is so sad since I have always dreamed of visiting the pyramids too! Your pictures, however, are gorgeous!

    I just found your blog! I’m so excited to read more! I’m a California native that just moved to Germany. So far, it’s almost all love, but I miss home sometimes too. What part of Spain are you living in??


    • Liz May 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

      Glad you like my pictures. It is still worth visiting, the pyramids are incredible, just dont have high expectations about Giza, or Egypt in general haha.

      Glad you like my blog! I´ll check out yours asap!

  2. Anonymous May 7, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Hello there!

    My name is Malte Zeeck, and I am with I really enjoyed reading your fantastic blog! I think expats in Spain and around the world could really gain some great insights [and have a few good laughs] on this page. The quality of the blog in general is very convincing, which is why I would love to feature you and your writing on the Recommended Blog on Spain section on
    Not only do we feature and link to your blog prominently; we also would like to hear from you directly in our questionnaire! We have also designed a link badge for your blog.
    If you are interested, please feel free to contact me via email:
    Malte Zeeck

  3. Jesús May 11, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    very wonderfull ( look my blog)

  4. franko May 15, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    the photos are very beautiful, it will seem a strange question … when you made them? made

  5. mariac24 May 16, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Beautiful photos, such clarity. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Liz May 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Thanks! I took these photos in April of 2012, so pretty recently. I´m glad you all like them :)

  7. Anonymous July 2, 2012 at 1:11 am #

    It would take an American to go to Giza, see, poverty and hucksterism based on that poverty and unemployment and pass judgement. You have no bloody idea of the circumstances or causes of that poverty which in turn causes the things you’ve smelled and seen. I’ve been to Giza and it is cleaner, safer and less full of creeps than NY, St. Louis, Seattle or a dozen other American cities I have visited. Glass houses indeed

    The Egyptian people, to their credit, continue to welcome Americans, in spite of being the usual rude guests, they are.

    • Elizabeth Carlson July 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      wow, I don’t even know how to respond to such a rude and biased comment. Don’t we all travel and pass judgement on the cities we visit? I have a very clear idea of the causes and circumstances surrounding the poverty in Egypt, and I don’t appreciate being chastised about it. I just want to portray a real, accurate description of what Giza was like for me as a woman traveler without any male companions. Judging from your attitude and the fact that you remain anonymous, you clearly have no idea what it was like

      If you think Giza is cleaner and safer and less full of creeps than any other cities in the US you are delusional. And I am not saying that as an american, I have been living as an expat for years. I have traveled and lived all over the world and I have never felt more violated, dirty, and uncomfortable as I did in Egypt.

  8. Omakr Bhide March 19, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    Nice Collection Of photos…..
    I am Wordless after seeing these pics…. The pics are enough to tell about the beauty of this place……..


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