Cheop's Great Pyramid. This is the largest pyramid in the world, towering as tall as a 50 story building. Built by Pharaoh Cheop's some 4,600 years ago, it is the last remaining wonder of the ancient world. This is the Great Pyramid in the pyramid field called Giza. The Great Pyramid is the one pyramid filled with mathematical computations and shrouded in astronomical wonder. Even today, archaeologists are still not entirely certain how it was constructed or what other mysteries might be contained in this five-sided box.
The Sphinx keeps watch over the Giza complex.
Ever since I was a youngster I've dreamed of dinosaurs and ancient pyramids. Since dinosaurs are extinct, climbing the Great Pyramid would fulfill my ultimate travel dream. My interest was piqued as I read and talked to other travelers about strange manifestations taking place up there: compasses spinning out of control, radium paint peeling from watches, people going crazy or even disappearing without a trace. After two and a half years of weirdness around the world, this would be the ultimate climax, no matter what the outcome.
Katja knew how important this was to me, heck, it was the main reason I wanted to come to Egypt in the first place. We had timed our arrival in Egypt to correspond with the full moon. Katja and I spent the day at Giza exploring the tombs and checking out the sights. We spent long moments in utter fascination, reflecting upon these ancient monuments built at the dawn of history. At sunset the Sound and Light show started and we sat on a nearby sand dune to watch it. This was when I plotted my ascent. After the show, Katja left to wait for me in town as I went to fulfill a long-awaited dream.
Camel merchants near the tomb entrance illustrate the immense size.
This adventure was going to be a challenge. You see, climbing any of the pyramids is strictly prohibited and the place is crawling with guards. Not so easy. My first attempt to climb was shouted down by unseen guards before I made it up five blocks. I talked myself out of trouble and thought I would have to wait until early morning to try again. As I was walking back, the second Sound and Light show began and Cheopís pyramid started glowing in a majestic golden hue. When the lights went down on Cheopís and up on another pyramid, I took this as my cue and started climbing in the darkness like a madman. One-third of the way up the lights came on again and I had to dive for cover. No yelling from below, I was going to make it!
About twenty more minutes of climbing in the darkness I could finally judge the distance to the top. Soon enough, I was on top! I threw my arms high to the full moon and began dancing in wild gesticulation. Calming down, I surveyed my surroundings and admired the incredible views. The absolute hugeness of this tombstone was mind-boggling, as was the idea of what resources and manpower were needed to construct it. Some major big brains went into building this monument, that's for damn sure.
One way or another, I was determined to tap into it's energy source. Positioning myself against the center post as rigid as the Buddha, I closed my eyes and put myself into a Zen no-think meditation. I felt my mind drift away from the physical plane and into a universal compassion for all living things on earth and especially those people in my life. I had a vision of my late beloved grandfather. He assured me not to regret missing his funeral while I was an English teacher in Japan. A great burden lifted and floated away. A long while passed and when I opened my eyes, a mouse appeared and scurried down a crack. My body started shaking uncontrollably in a chattering shiver, yet it was so warm out my brow was sweating. Several deep breaths made these strange feelings go away, and it was at this point I felt an urgent need to climb down.
The whole way down I felt no fear of being caught, despite the pyramid lights being on. In fact, I felt invisible. Sure enough, I reached the bottom and walked right out of the Giza complex unseen to meet Katja.
Sometime the lights all shining on me,
Other times I can barely see,
Lately it's occurred to me,
What a long, strange trip it's been ...
--The Grateful Dead
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