Cairo Travel Blog› entry 72 of 81 › view all entries
We surveyed the area to see where the guards were. To ensure at least one of us reached the top, Scott chose the north side for the climb; I, the west. On tip-toes, we planted our butts onto a limestone ledge, lifted ourselves onto it, then repeated the process - almost like climbing a steep ladder backwards. A guard began shouting from a hundred feet below us at the northwest corner. We avoided eye contact pretending not to hear him and continued the ascent. After about half an hour we planted ourselves on top of the Cheops Pyramid. Cheops had a flat eroded top which was about twenty feet square and etched with the initials of hundreds of previous climbers. A twenty-foot wooden pole stood upright in the center to mark the original 480-foot height above the desert floor. We were surprised to find two Americans sitting up there; students off the S.S. Universe. They didn't know the three scholars we had met in Alexandria.
Views were spectacular. The blue waters of the Nile snaked a tree-lined green path through Cairo. Modern buildings stood among ancient mosques and monuments. It was too hazy to see the towering minarets of the Mohammed Ali Mosque across the city. We watched tour busses arrive and aggressive camel drivers eagerly greet them. The tiny Sphinx sprawled far below us. Scott carried a copy of the Mining Journal - our hometown newspaper - specifically for this Kodak moment.
We perched up there until the dark-red sun slipped below the western haze. For our descent, we again chose the northwest corner where we could monitor two full sides at ground level. Should a watchman appear, we could round the corner. Alert guards on each side would force us to lay low on one of the ledges to await darkness then hope to climb off before the Sound and Light Show began. Luckily, we went undetected. As we boarded a taxi, the Sphinx lit up to begin his story - in French that night.
Scott and I joined the Australians with Jane, Marian, and Liz back at the Luna Park Hotel. We all enjoyed a couple of beers and an all-you-can-eat dinner of macaroni, salad, and bread at one of the local bars. Afterwards we went for chai and dominoes at one of the backstreet tea houses. Scott and I arranged to meet the students again the following week in Athens.