It was pretty cool. But my camel guy decided that I wanted my camel to run. That was less fun. Basically you end up thunking up and down…I have no idea how they make those long treks across the desert.
The pyramids were cool. The guy who wrote pretty much the only guidebook you can get on this country was clearly less than impressed with them. If I recall correctly he described them as having “more archeological significance than visual appeal.” Also said that they looked like a row of broken teeth from the road. He was right about that, though.
These pyramids are the tombs from the kings and queens from the ancient kingdom of Cush. Some treasure seeking Italian came along in the 1800’s and chopped tops off of all of them looking for gold. Anyway, after playing at the pyramids and probably having more fun climbing and then running down the sand dunes than anything else (clearly, we’re very mature adults), those who weren’t camping for the night headed back home. There was a group of 7 of us camping out for the night. We drove a little ways to see the ancient royal city. It was little more than some piles of rocks and some headless lion statues. Thankfully they didn’t charge us for going in there. It was a bit of a let down. We got some dinner (lentils, fuul (made from dried fava beans), eggs, and bread) then headed back in the dark to find the pyramids and make camp.
We got a little lost driving around the desert, but eventually found a place. Climbed up a very, very steep sand dune and made camp. The sky was probably the most amazing night sky I have ever seen. I didn’t even bother trying to capture it on film because it wouldn’t have done it any justice. You could see the milky way, all kinds of constellations, and while we sat around in the dark talking we saw at least 4 shooting starts. It was absolutely brilliant.
The sand was nice and soft and I didn’t expect a great nights sleep…but I didn’t expect the sand storm that ensued all night either. I don’t think any of us got much sleep at all. I’m glad I had a sheet to cover my head, but all of us woke up with sand all over everything and in every orifice. It’s been 2 days and I’m still trying to rid my hair, ears, and stuff of sand. But I literally sat up in the morning and saw the pyramids. Got to watch the sun come up over the dunes. It was awesome.
I will say that being a girl camping in a barren desert make it difficult to find a place to relieve yourself. Between camping with one other girl and five guys, and men on camels here and there and having little to no place for cover…it was interesting. But I love a little adventure. 🙂
After getting some incredibly strong coffee we off-roaded into the desert for a couple of hours to find some ancient temples. We found 4 sites. All less than impressive, really. But still cool. One of the little ancient temples was being used to house a ton of onions for drying. It was kind of amazing to walk in places that thousands of years ago, before even the birth of Christianity, were ruling kingdoms and central places and hubs of trade and slavery that are now reduced to little more than dying piles of rocks. And the history of these places are mostly unknown. Its so strange. Our lives really are but breath.
We had fun bumping around the desert and seeing grazing camels, the occasional stick house, and people from time to time. The people we did see we usually stopped to say hi. We’d give them some cookies or dates or something. Many asked us for headache tablets. We asked to pray with some of those people who were sick. We did come across a well. They had two donkeys hooked to a pulley and the donkeys would walk back and forth and back and forth bringing up goatskin after goatskin of water from this very deep well. It was so cool. And crazy to see people who’s lives are so incredibly different.
It was so nice to finally see outside of the capital after almost 9 months here. And to get to just relax and hang out with friends. It was wonderful!