Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In which I ride on horseback through the Western Desert

There is a reason the pyramids were deemed one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The pyramids at Giza are huge, imposing, and a little bit spooky; seeing them at night only heightens the effect. AUC took students at night because we all had three hours of Arabic class which didn't end until 7:30. The bus ride is only about 45 minutes from downtown Cairo, and you can see the pyramids winking in and out between the skyline as you get closer. When we got to the edge of Giza there were dozens of saddled horses waiting for us. I hadn't ridden a horse in several years, but I managed to get in the saddle and ride through the last outskirts of the city without falling off. The city stops abruptly. You turn a corner and immediately are faced with wide, sloping sand dunes stretching out into the night.

The silence of the desert only seems denser after a quick departure from the chaos of the city. I was ready to go galloping across the dunes, but my trusty steed did not seem so inclined. She trotted slowly...very slowly, and probably could have given Rocinante a run for her money (for further details, see Don Quixote). Despite the snail's pace, it was still amazing to watch the city recede behind us to our left, and see the pyramids loom in and out of sight on our right. The nights in Egypt are cold, and we were all really glad to get to a campfire after an hour or so before we turned around to head back home.

On the way back, the group leader assigned me to a different horse, who was happy to take me through the desert faster. I had so much fun riding through dunes back to the edge of the city, and was one of the first people back. At the end of the trip I was tired and freezing, but fulfilled, and happy to be alive.

Pictures: these are both of people around the camp fire. I have ones of the pyramids, but they're super dark. Sorry these are blurry, but they wouldn't turn out at all with the flash.


ジャック said...


um, I am more jealous than you know.

miss you tons.


ps. the reason my name comes up in japanese (it means "jakku" or "jack") is b/c i have to use this for our japanese blog. loves you!

Natalie said...

OH MY GOD SO COOL!!!!!!!! did you take pictures??!?

also, love the don quixote reference hahaha.

miss youuu, love love