From world heritage sites, to some of the region’s most insistent tourist touts…welcome to Cairo.
January 16, 2010 10:21 by Austyn Allison
Instead, I prefer to look back on a mental snapshot taken inside the Pyramid of Khafre. It costs EGP 30 (AED20) to venture in and stoop downhill through a low passage before turning up and emerging in a 14 meter by 5 meter burial chamber. Visitors are asked to leave their cameras with a guard at the entrance, but perhaps because I look like I have just had a run-in with a camel scammer, I get away with promising not to take any photos inside the pyramid.
This is a shame, but not because I want to capture the narrow tunnel, or the limestone chamber itself – which is rather dull and undecorated. Nor would Khafre’s grey granite sarcophagus make a stunning shot. Instead, I want to share with the world – or my Facebook friends at least – the sight of two slightly plump and very earnest Australian women trying to channel their spiritual energy by singing in monotone wails from either end of the chamber. I keep expecting one of them to turn to the other with a lighthearted, “Strewth, Sheila, check out the echo,” but no. Instead they suggest the other one tries it from here, or here, then they both stand with their backs to the wall, arms outstretched, heads raised, and warble, “Ahhhhhhhhh,” as other bemused visitors look on and shake their heads in sympathetic confusion.
That’s not the memory of Cairo I was looking for, certainly. But it’s one I want to keep an awful lot more than one of being hounded for cash on a camel.