When Howard Carter first peeked through the small hole he had made to see into King Tut’s tomb, someone asked him what he saw. His response: “Wonderful things…” These words have been analyzed and criticized and been put through the academic and Orientalist wringer. But, at their very basic, I think, Carter may have just had a moment where what he saw, the objects on which he was laying the first eyes for thousands of years, took his speech and breath away. They were so amazing and indescribable that he couldn’t find the right words to say.
I can say I felt something similar at least a hundred times since coming to Egypt. I’ve seen so many wonderful things–the view from anywhere on campus out into the desert; Cairo traffic; the Nile river flowing around green islands where churches, mosques and cows outnumber the people; the Egyptian Museum; King Tut’s items in the same museum; the Nile Hilton which beckoned to me as a familiar port in a sea of crazy busses, horses and people; and of course, the Pyramids. I am far from the first person to see any of these and I am not even close to being the last, so that may be one place where Carter and I differ. But our speechlessness is the same.
Nothing, not a single thing, could have prepared me for seeing, touching and experiencing this trip to the pyramids on the Giza plateau. Sure, the Sphinx was there along with camels, Egyptians selling their wares, other tourists, busses, traffic, smog. But I’d been waiting my whole life to see these wonders of architecture and ancient technology. There they were. There I was. Enjoy a few more pictures. 🙂