All day in the field, all evening building the web page and then the midnight uploads are beginning to take their toll, not to mention two cases of camel sore arse. But just a little later than intended, we headed south this morning to Saqqara. We couldn't find Sayid, our cabby for life but ran into one of our Mafia friends (Ismail) from our first day here and decided to chance it, and he was full of local knowledge.
This is the site of Djosers (Doser/Zoser or the Stepped) Pyramid and allegedly, where all this began. The official line is that the traditional mastaba, a square single story funerary building, was transformed by the addition of layers of decreasing sizes. So who thought of that then ? Well, legend has it that he was a right clever guy by the name of Imhotep, chief engineer and architect to said pharaoh. Throw in scribe, poet, alchemist, physician, sculptor and artist, not to mention style guru and general trend setter and so he's reckoned to be the first genius of record.
Being built of mud brick rather than the later sandstone, it has weathered badly but still, not bad for something dating from the 27th century BC. And it's not alone, for in the immediate vicinity there are others, those of Userkef and Unas although these are now both in a very sorry state.
Tantalisingly, across the desert more pyramids beckoned but like taxis, there's just never a camel when you need one. The only ones around belonged to the guards who rode up in search of baksheesh and it requires a certain amount of diplomacy to refuse a man with an assault rifle the bribe he's anticipating.
But our time here was limited, Ismail was due to retrieve us again in just 2 hours besides which, we'd foolishly brought no water with us on the misguided assumption that we would be inundated with hawkers, which proved not to be the case. The heat soon sapped us of both moisture and energy and having galloped around everything that was feasibly within our reach, we headed back to the car park.
When all that's on your mind is an ice cold beer, what wasn't welcome was Ismail enforced suggestion of a visit to a carpet factory. Having spent a significant amount of time in Turkey and indeed, having once been in the carpet business there, I perhaps knew just a little too much for the unsuspecting salesman. Still, it is customary to offer beverages in the coarse of such negotiations and having slaked our thirsts, it was back to Ismail for the completion of our journey.
So tomorrow, it's leave the hotel at 5.30 am and let's hope the trip home is less arduous than our arrival. We've just had our first dip in the pool and with an early upload, there should be some time to have a beer or two and reflect a little on our mission. We've made progress with the webumentary aspect of things, although the hardware we're now having to carry seems ridiculous.
As for the Earth Pyramid Network project, well we leave with more questions in our minds than when we arrived and still no definitive answers to the big questions of why or what for ? So onwards we will go.....