March 18th
written by Alonna

It’s hard to believe that Ben and I are in Egypt and saw the famous pyramids yesterday. I never imagined that I’d make it here… and now that I have, it reminds me once again how amazing this year-off adventure is: Ben and I are truly having the experience of a lifetime.

Abu Sir pyramids near Cairo, Egypt and the Giza Pyramids very faint in the distance

Abu Sir pyramids near Cairo, Egypt and the Giza Pyramids very faint in the distance

We arrived to Cairo in the evening and booked a private tour for the next morning to the pyramids of Giza, Saqqara and Dahshur. At 6am I woke up to this beautiful hazy sunrise over Cairo:

Sunrise in Cairo

The pyramids were huge, impressive, and a bit underwhelming all at the same time. It rarely happens this way, but they were exactly what I expected; enormous pyramids made out of limestone sitting out in the desert and surrounded by tourists. Besides the Sphinx (located down below from the Giza pyramids to guard them), there were really no sculptures or statues or any ornamentation at all. Most of the tombs were robbed hundreds or thousands of years go, and anything remaining was moved to the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

Besides the famous pyramids at Giza, there are many other sites in the area with burial grounds, temples, and pyramids. At Dahshur there was a cool “bent pyramid” which was started with a 55 degree angle, and later changed to 43 so that it wouldn’t cave in on itself. At Saqqara, there’s a step pyramid which was the first pyramid shaped tomb ever built. The weather was great (about 70, sunny and breezy) and we had a wonderful and exhausting day!

School Girls fascinated by Alonna!

At the pyramids yesterday there were many groups of school kids. A few times, a large group of school girls would go past us, and they all stared at us and giggled and some even took photos using their cell phones. At first I thought they were looking at all of us, but eventually it was obvious that it was just me. I think my blond hair and pale skin was part of it – but the catch (I think) was that I was wearing shorts and you could see my legs. In the more strict Muslim culture, women don’t show much skin – just their face (sometimes even that is covered) and hands. When I turned to look back at them, they all had huge grins and shouted “hi! hi!” and waved. I smiled and said hi back, feeling like a celebrity. The last time it happened I was prepared, and as I waved and said hi I took these two photos. These girls actually started running towards me while waving; they were so excited! I’ve never experienced anything like this at all… it was hilarious and I loved it!

School girls running out to greet me

School girls running out to greet me

I think they found my blonde hair and shorts very exotic!

I think they found my blonde hair and shorts very exotic!



  1. 03/18/2010

    This is so awesome, Alonna. I love seeing your pics and hearing where in the world you are. Thanks so much for sharing with everyone–you’re so inspirational!

  2. Sandra

    Totally at a loss for words, other than this one —> WOW!

  3. Eric Lipari

    Again…another great post.
    Wow, and I thought people in the US had too many satellite dishes, Cairo is crazy.
    Did you also go to the Egyptian Museum?
    All impressive.

  4. Robin Scott

    Awesome, and some great photos.


    Mom S

  5. Becky Kjeldsen

    That is so cool!! I love the picture (and the story) of the school girls. What an amazing thing to experience a part of ancient history. I LOVE your pictures!

  6. Becky Kjeldsen

    Jenna wants to know if you saw any camels spit.

    She also wants to frame the picture of the camel smiling and put it in Carl’s room:) Although he may be a bit frightened.

  7. mom A.

    You took some wonderful pictures! I really liked the one where Ben’s blue shirt was just a small dot on a huge pyramid. Also, love how the school girls are dressed ~ they obviously have added their own fashion sense to the traditional dress ~ and they have cell phones too! It’s a small world afterall.

  8. 03/21/2010

    @Eric – yeah, we went to the Egyptian Museum the next day, it was amazing. The best part was the treasures from King Tutankhamun’s tomb… we saw his famous mask!

    @Becky – Ha ha. No, no camel spitting, and yes, please put the photo up in Carl’s room. He’ll appreciate it when he’s older.

  9. Lori

    holy cow! the picture with ben sitting at the bottom of the pyramid is amazing. i don’t understand how they built something so massive so long ago! and love the story about the school girls. especially that they were using cell phones to take pictures. i don’t know why, but i wouldn’t have guessed that!

  10. Anita Tjan

    Hi Alonna – did you talk to the girls about going into engineering? 🙂 Glad you both are having a great time.