Saturday, 11 January 2014


ATVing to the Abu Seer Pyramids, the Pyramids of Imhotep and Cave Church in Garbage City

Hi friends!

It has been another loooong while since I have posted anything…sorry about that. I honestly feel like I could do multiple blog posts every day here since we do SO MUCH every single day, but that would obviously cut into my ‘activity’ time ;)

The best piece of blogging advice that I have ever received is to make sure that blogging never gets in the way of living. I am truly taking that to heart these days. And it feels awesome!

We have actually calmed down on the activities for the past couple of days, but every day still seems so full since everything is so different here – I find myself reaching for my camera while doing relatively basic things like grocery shopping since I am constantly noticing things that are still so new to me. Loves it :)

ATVing to the Abu Seer Pyramids

We went ATVing in the desert again, obvi.

It was one of the last days that Sherri’s son, Ryan, was going to be in Egypt, so we decided to see ourselves some pyramids.

We jumped at the opportunity to go ripping around in the sand dunes, with Ryan as our fearless leader. We went hella fast and were happy to go fast through the random garbage patch that surrounds the Abu Seer pyramids.

We arrived at the Abu Seer pyramids, happily covered in dust. They are a collection of three pyramids from the 5th dynasty, which is the Old Kingdom as our guide explained.

He also explained that archaeologists have not found any remains of Kings other than King Tut, which was found in the Royal Ontario Museum randomly. The rest of the mummies that have been found are all nobles since grave robbers have wiped out the pyramids over the centuries.

The Kings of Egypt made the pyramids first in this area and then created their tombs in the Valley of the Kings, which is located in ‘Upper Egypt’ which counterintuitively located in the South.

Pyramid of Imhotep in Saqqara

We then moved on to Saqqara, which was built during the 3rd dynasty.

Our guide explained that the first tombs in Egypt were first mastalas, which is more like a tomb stone similar to what you would find in the Western world, and then pyramids became the go-to way to enshrine Kings and nobles.

The Pyramid of Imhotep was the first step pyramid to be built in Egypt. It was also the first to use limestone.
There is only one real entrance, with many other ‘fake’ ones. It was built to look like the Nile River, with vegetation and then desert surrounding it.

We had some fun taking pictures in front of the pyramids.

We were the only tourists in sight, as per usual. The tourism industry has taken a major beating since the revolution. It is crazy to think that the sights that we have been seeing are usually crawling with tourists. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to take in such amazing locations without having to fight off crowds of people, but it also makes me very sad to think of the large amount of people that the lack of tourists affects. Many people rely on the tourist industry as their livelihoods in Egypt, and have been forced to look to other ways of making a living since the revolution.

We thought that we were going to also see the Pyramids of Giza during this trip, but we were mistaken. Instead, we went four-wheeling through some of the local villages, which was amazing. It was just a tiny view into the daily lives of people who live in this area, and something I will never forget.

Cave Church in Garbage City 

We then changed speeds a little bit and headed off to Garbage City in Cairo.

It is called that since the people who live in this area of Cairo are all garbage collectors who sort through about 40% of Cairo’s garbage in order to recycle it by hand into other things that they can then sell.

The area is Coptic Christian, and has been ostracized in the past due to their profession.

However, since there is minimal formal garbage collecting methods in Cairo, I see it as a blessing that these people are able to make a living off of the recycled material and also help reduce the amount of waste on the streets of Cairo.

The roads are crazy narrow and windy, but our driver drove through like a boss. We made our way to the Cave Church, which has been carved into the side of a mountain.

Initially, there were no organized schools, clinics or churches in Garbage City. In the 1980s, a Minister was sent there by the Coptic Pope in order to preach the word of God to the people. Soon afterwards, he was able to bring some ‘order’ to the area, after which these institutions were established.

They decided to make use of the space starting in the 1990s, which was crowded enough as it is, to build a church right into the mountain behind the area that houses the garbage collector’s community. A Polish artist moved to the area at around the same time to start carving huge images into the walls surrounding the church, which continues to this day.

As we were sitting listening to someone explain the history of the area, he actually passed by. I had a bit of a star-struck moment ;)

It was a huge day, and we were all pretty pooped afterwards.

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