Cairo is a much nicer city after a good night's sleep. That and being able to prepare for the chaos everytime I step on the sidewalk. Spent the morning getting a ticket on tomorrow's night train to Aswan. After the hell night getting here from Dahab I opted to spend the big bucks and get a sleeper.
Today was designated pyramid day. I'm told that there are 97 pyramids in Egypt - I saw pretty close to half of them today. I hired a taxi for the entire afternoon and set out to "do" the pyramids.
First stop was the Dahshur site. The really cool things about Dahshure is that it's quite a ways from Cairo and it was just de-militarized a little less than six months ago. This means very few tourists make it out here. There were no other tourists there at all while I was exploring. The main pyramid here is The Northern Pyramid of King Seneferu, also known as The Red Pyramid. Seneferu was the grandfather of Cheop (of the Great Pyramid at Giza fame). It was built about 2700 BC, and is only 10m shorter on each side that the great pyramid. I climbed down into the buirial chambers (this is the only pyramid where they don't charge extra for the honors). It was a fairly difficult hike, mostly because of having to be bent over to do it (I managed to scrape up my back pretty good). The inside was a little more impressive to me because it's been protected from the elements and you can see the precision which the blocks were fitted with.
Second stop was Saqqara. This is the site of the Step Pyramid of Zoser. This pyramid is the oldest of the big pyramids, and is built in a zigaraut form instead of smooth like the great pyramids. There's not a whole lot to see here, as most of the restorations of the temples around the pyramid have so little original stone that I'd guess they are educated guesses at best. There were a four other tourists here, but I managed to avoid them. Unfortunately I was unable to avoid the touts offering tours, postcards, camel rides, etc. I did take a picture of a soldier on a camel in front of the pyramid, at his request. Of course he asked for baksheesh, which caused me to come up with a new general rule for life: If the person begging has an automatic weapon - give hime something. It should be an interesting photo anyway.
Final site for the day was Giza. These are the so called Great Pyramids (Khufu's - aka Cheop's, Khafre's, and Menkaure's pyramids), and is the only surviving Wonder of the Ancient World. Unfortunately that make it one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. An advantage to going in the afternoon is that things aren't as crowded as they could be, but the disadvantage is that there are more people available to hassle you.
The pyramids are impressive, I'm glad I've seen them. But I can't help but be a little disappointed, I've seen more impressive things (Petra in jordan was more impressive, and more inspiring). It might be a bad sign that one of the wonders of the world doesn't impress me anymore...