21 February, 2010

A Week/weekend To Be Remembered: "Walking in Memphis" and More

I can't believe this is post number 50 already. I feel like it wasn't that long ago that I started this blog and decided to track my travels through Central Europe and the Middle East. And now, I've made it to post 50! I'm impressed with me. 

So, I should probably get started on what this post is about. Friday I got to go to Memphis. Just not Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis, Egypt is a city just outside of Cairo (about one and a half hours or so). It's an archaeological park with a lot of statues from the Ancient Egyptian era can be seen. And Friday just happened to be the day that we went out to see it. We also went to see Saqqara and Dahshur, which were more pyramid complexes. I enjoyed them very much, but I guess to start this post I should at the beginning of the day and then work from there. 

This morning started rather early...around 7am, which I know is not really considered early to some, but it definitely is when you didn't go to bed until around 2am. (I promise I'll explain all of this too, just bear with me for the moment). Anyway, we boarded the bus around 8am and began our trip. Saqqara was the first stop of the day. Saqqara is basically a necropolis, or city of the dead. There are alot of tombs there from the early pharaohs, though it is still being debated if the pharaohs were actually buried in Saqqara or in Abydos. Anyway, this is where we saw the "step pyramid". It is literally a pyramid that looks like steps. It's from dynasty 3 and it belongs to King Djoser. It is importance comes from the fact that it pretty much is the first pyramid, before the Egyptians figured out how to make the pyramids look like the Great Pyramid. 

While we in Saqqara we also had the opportunity to go inside a tomb of a nobleman and look at some of the writings on the wall. I was impressed with myself as I was actually able to decipher some of the hieroglyphs, yay! 

The Step Pyramid of King Djoser. 
I also got to go inside the pyramid of King Teti. His pyramid is unfortunately falling into disarray due to the construction of it. You see, they built up piles of rubble and then just made a casing for it...well, that didn't last too long over time. But, the inside of the tomb definitely survived and it was beautiful. I also, don't have any pictures to show you of the tomb as I wasn't allowed to take any...sad. 

After leaving Saqqara, we headed to Dahshur where we got to go inside the Red Pyramid. It was absolutely amazing. It took a good five minutes to climb down inside and you were hunched over most of the way. I don't recommend going down for anyone with bad knees, backs, legs, etc. as it was very strenuous and my legs still ache from it. But, it was so worth it! Once we came out of the Red Pyramid, we took a look over at the Bent Pyramid...which pretty much proves that the Egyptians actually built the pyramids. Not aliens or any other theory like that. It has a pretty big human mistake in it and it thus "bent". 
The Red Pyramid. I really love this photo!
The Bent Pyramid. 

Me standing inside the Red Pyramid. This was such a workout to climb down into and then out of again. 
Once finished with the pyramids at Dahshur, we went to the Memphis archaeological park. The sad thing to hear about Memphis was that there are probably ruins and cities under the current city, but because people live there, they can't get to them. While we were at the park, we saw one of the giant statues of Ramses II, which was pretty awesome. 
Giant statue of Ramses II. 
And that pretty much ended the trip to Saqqara, Dahshur and Memphis. When I got back to my apartment, I was pretty tired and so I crashed. My body was so relieved, especially since I didn't sleep a whole lot the night before. 

So, I guess I should probably explain the story there. So, on Thursday I decided that I needed to get some homework done. I went to AMIDEAST and sat in the library where I proceeded to do my hieroglyphs homework, go on a small walking adventure with Tyler and then wander back to my apartment. 

Around 8:30pm, I met up with...well...everyone in the program and a few of our Egyptian friends and we headed out to "french club"...which is apparently the french culture center where they hold a dance night once a month. I had a lot of fun! I danced with one of our Egyptian friends pretty much all night as he seemed to enjoy the fact that I actually knew how to partner dance. We were there for about three hours before we retreated back to the "man-cave" aka Tyler and Moose's apartment for an "after party" of fun. I pretty much stayed until 1:30am, when I then decided that if I was getting up and not being grumpy for the trip on Friday that I should go home and sleep. Definitely a good choice. 

Also, I learned just how small the world actually is. One of the girls I met and talked to during the night's name is Maria, and she is the girlfriend to a guy who was in our program last semester and is still in Cairo now. Well, guess what! I was telling her about how I went to Prague last semester and she said that sounded really familiar and she had a friend who went last semester. So, I asked who...turns out she's really good friends with Tarek, one of my flatmates from last semester. Such a tiny, tiny world. You wouldn't believe it. 

Alright, so now that I've covered Thursday and Friday...that pretty much brings us to Saturday. Ah, Saturday. My normal day of homeworking and studying...except this one. I got up rather late as I was exhausted from the trip on Friday and instead of working on homework, Garrett and I wandered over to sit by the pool, where I proceeded to read my book...just not an academic book. I did meet some awesome people though and hopefully, I'll be able to hang out with them more as they are involved with AMIDEAST. 

Once we finished at the pool, we went over the other girl's apartment for our Arabic cooking lesson, which definitely wasn't as organized as I thought. I guess, I was expecting a normal cooking lesson...but, instead we were all pretty much put to work with a task to contribute to dinner. I did learn some new vocabulary words as most of the directions given by our Arabic instructors/cooking teachers was given to us in Arabic. 
A scene from the kitchen. Lindley, Ann, Ingie and Yasmina work to prepare tomatoes, I think.
The night ran a little bit long, but the food was awesome. I'm just sad that I had to cancel my movie date to see Avatar with Emy. I need to make it up to her. Dinner ran until about 7:30pm or so and then we all just sat around the girl's apartment and hung out. Some of our Egyptian friends came over and they taught us an Egyptian game...which is pretty much "Old Maid", but with a different name, which was a lot of fun. After the game, I wandered back to my apartment as it was midnight and I still hadn't called my parents and I had somethings to talk to them about. 

Oh yeah! Before I completely forget to write about this. I should backtrack to Wednesday where my Introduction to Ancient Egypt class was being held at the Egyptian Museum. We ended up talking Dr. Randa into allowing class to be at the museum as we, Ryan, Will and I, wanted to go to the press conference to hear the big news being revealed about King Tut. I didn't get to hear a whole lot as half of the conference was in Arabic, but from what I did gather, King Tut walked with a limp because he had a problem with his left foot. I never would have known. I also was able to catch a glimpse of Dr. Zahi Hawass and Ryan got to shake his hand. Also, being in the press conference area allowed me to see what it's like to work in journalism. After the conference ended, reporters and cameramen swarmed the scene. It was both chaotic and amazing. Our class tour was also pretty awesome. Dr. Randa knows so much and I can't wait to go to see more.

And that pretty much brings us to today...where I went to class, had a meeting with Matthew and then came home to try and work on some more homework that I can't motivate myself to do because I know on Thursday we are leaving for Siwa! 

I should really update this blog more often than this...this way everyone won't be getting bombarded with really long posts from me. We'll see how that goes, but I doubt I'm going to change the way I've been doing this. Sorry about the length. 

Keep reading! More things are bound to emerge. Especially, as the social situation for me seems to be improving and I seem to be making more friends within my program and outside of my program as well.


  1. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and reading of your travels!! I'm a Halloween folk artist and would be honored if you stopped by my blog some time as well. Take care


    ~ Brialee ~

  2. Hey sweetie! I'm jealous that you got to go to into pyramids.

    So jealous.