Teen taking photos of the pyramids at Giza

Teen taking photos of the pyramids at Giza ()

Editors Note: Teen Kylie McKenzie shares her opinion on the ins and outs of being a tourist in Cairo.

Egypt is the coolest in the spring, as in less hot. The sun isn’t so overbearing for once and the heat isn’t insufferable. Which, of course, means my parents decided to drag us down there at two in the morning for spring break. After all, “it’s our last chance to see something super famous before we leave Europe!”

All things considered; it wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the other places I’ve been. Comparing it to Greece, I much rather prefer the dry heat to humid heat. Greece is right by the Mediterranean Sea. The air is hot and sticky all the time. But the air in Egypt isn’t. The only thing we suffered from was having to get up before 4:00 AM every single morning. So be wary of fatigue.

I’ll bet that the first thing you imagine when you hear the word Egypt are the Great Pyramids of Egypt, alongside the Sphinx. And while those are exciting to see, there are other things to do and see in this sandy country. 

For example, did you know that you can ride camels next to the pyramids? It’s a little scary, being up so high on a moving creature. Those things are huge, too. I feel intimidated just standing near them. Whenever they get up or sit down, you have to lean back as far as you can or you’re liable to fall off. Super stressful stuff, at least for me. But a little way from the pyramids, you get off and the guide will take cool pictures that make it look like you’re jumping over the pyramids. 

I think it’s funny how some people will write stories where the main characters are lost in the desert near the pyramids, when Cairo is literally right there. Like come on, guys, just turn around. There’s a Pizza Hut seven minutes away.

Tourist shot at pyramid complex at Giza, Egypt

Tourist shot at pyramid complex at Giza, Egypt (Massimo Pizzotti -

Another funny thing about Cairo is that people could care less about staying in their lane. Everyone goes fast and drives wherever they want. It’s like the road lines aren’t even there for them. Get on a highway, there are sheep and cows just chilling in truck beds and people napping in the back of pickup trucks or trailers. They don’t even care. And the craziest thing is, no one ever gets in a wreck.

So, it’s pretty hectic in Cairo. But it’s cool. The markets in side streets, the thriftiness of the citizens,  and the architecture (which might just be unfinished apartments depending on the area). It’s a little sad seeing how many people are living in the streets. Some walk around trying to sell things for cheap. There are just as many people walking and driving around at two in the morning as at noon.

There are lots of street dogs and cats too. More dogs than cats. They’re pretty friendly, not biting anyone and usually never barking. They mostly just walk around and look at people. Sometimes they’ll try and get you to pet them or share your food and water. It’s cute though.

The dog looks at the panorama of Cairo in Egypt.

The dog looks at the panorama of Cairo in Egypt. (perekotypole -

Regarding the local wonder of the world, I don’t have much to say. It’s a pyramid. The blocks are huge. I’d really hate to be a worker building those things. If you stand right next to them and look up, it looks shorter than it actually is. They are shorter than you think. Then again, I don’t know what people think. 

“Fun fact: there are more than three pyramids. There are little pyramids next to the big ones for the queens. As far as I know, only one of the pyramids allows visitors to enter the tomb inside. It costs extra though.”

The Sphinx. It doesn’t have wings like its Greek cousins, and it has a pharaoh’s head instead of a lady’s. Between its front paws is a big stone with inscriptions. The stone is worn down, so it’s a little hard to see the facial features. Then again, maybe that’s just my memory being fuzzy. It’s a big structure, I can tell you that. There’s a temple in front of it that you have to get through in order to get to the walkway that runs alongside the sphinx where you can and take pictures.

Last of all the interesting and famous things I remember about Cairo is The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization! You won’t really understand anything inside it without a good tour guide. Fortunately, we had one. We learned about different artifacts from the different times Egypt was occupied and the stories and purposes behind them. It is also where the royal mummies are kept, in a series of tunnels under the first floor with black walls and photography is prohibited. Very treacherous. The mummies are shockingly well preserved. Like, to the point where you can very easily imagine one of them opening their eyes and sitting up, like they’re awaking from a casual afternoon nap. Downright creepy if you ask me, but pretty cool, too. I wonder how those kings and queens feel about tourists traveling from all over the world just to stare at their corpses.

Coffin of Nedjemankh displayed at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization

Coffin of Nedjemankh displayed at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (MT-XT3. Mohamed -

Anyways, that’s pretty much everything I saw in Cairo. I would recommend going, if you don’t mind annoying vendors trying to sell you things, threat of potential pickpockets, people constantly asking for tips, and the grief of seeing homeless families on the streets. If you do go, I’d tell you to go in the spring like we did, or else face the devastating heat that the Sahara Desert is famous for. 

But seriously, I was pretty cool to see. And there’s so much stuff outside of Cairo too. Egypt is a vast country (when put into perspective with how small a single city is compared to the whole thing) with many sights to behold, temples and famous hieroglyphics and tombs. I personally enjoyed learning about the mythology.

So check it out, go see a wonder of the world and structures from one of the earliest advanced civilizations in the world. As long as you don’t care about getting up before dawn, that is.

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