Sunday, 8 March 2009

Inside a pyramid by Max A

I know that this is a little late but a trip into a Gizan pyramid is worth a write up.

The entrance of the Great Pyramid of Khufu is a little unprepossessing, just a hole in the wall. A short climb up the wall brings you to the beginning.

From there the adventure begins. The first corridor is wide and high with a sandy floor and feels like more of a chamber than a secret passage.

After that it becomes more intrepid; the second passage is dark and narrower and I had to stoop to get through. I can get claustrophobic at times and I began to feel the first stirrings of it there.

The massive causeway comes next, 84 metres long, 12 metres high and 5 metres wide. My sense of awe compounded by the 45 degree slope. You actually feel like it points to the heavens. It was there that I first felt the weight of stones on top of me from the atmosphere and I imagined it all collapsing.

This is not a good idea and I don’t recommend it to anyone as it is sure to excite claustrophobia. But I pushed it out of my mind and continued.

The heat levels are rising from the moment you step inside but only become unpleasant at this point. Only 150 people are allowed in every day and without this limit it would be unhealthily warm. Even with the restraint my mind was cast back to Hugo Fircks’ tobacco barns where 78 degree heats were used to dry tobacco. It wasn’t that bad at Giza but it was rather stifling.

At the top of the causeway there is a short but extremely low tunnel. I was bent double going through. And as I can’t even touch my toes this was rather uncomfortable. Fortunately it didn’t last long and rather abruptly opened up into the burial chamber. This climb had brought us to about two thirds of the way up the pyramid.

It was hot in there, uncomfortably so and we shuffled over to the giant stone sarcophagus. The only memorabilia left inside. There were some inscriptions on the walls but I didn’t hang around to study those. I was baking in a massive oven.

The route out was exactly the same but slightly quicker, everyone looking forward to the (relatively) cool air outside.

This is how I felt inside but once I was outside I finally appreciated the greatness of the ancient Egyptians. Their knowledge, their belief and their grandeur! Will we ever see anything like it again?

Xander heading off with a spade and loo roll.....

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