Today we are going to Giza. I can hardly believe it. I never had imagined I would ever actually see the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Thanks to Alexei, here I am!
The Giza Necropolis has three main pyramids: The pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure as well as a complex of several other smaller pyramids and buildings. I love this picture showing the past and the present together:
The Great Pyramid of Giza was built as a tomb for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops in Greek). It is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis and was finished around 2560 BCE. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. It used to be covered by casing stones and had a smooth outer surface, but most all of that is gone and what you see now is the underlying core structure. It is also missing its pyramidion or capstone.
Some people believed that the pyramid was built by slaves but modern discoveries say it wasn’t. One source says it was built over a 20 year period by two groups of 100,000 skilled workers who were then divided into smaller groups of 20,000. Another source says the people worked on it for three months of each year during the annual flooding of the Nile when it was impossible to farm the land and they were unemployed. Maybe they are talking about the same people, but, I don’t know.
The Great Pyramid is the only pyramid in Egypt known to have both ascending and descending passages. The Descending Passage appears to go to a lower chamber that wasn’t finished. The Ascending Passage, of course, goes to the King’s Chamber and has a Horizontal Passage that goes off to the Queen’s Chamber.
(Picture from Wikipedia)
Today, tourists enter the pyramid via the Robber’s Tunnel. This was a tunnel dug by workmen employed by Caliph al-Ma’mun around 820 AD. But hey, he wasn’t the first one to go a- thieving.
(Picture from Wikipedia)
I am determined to go all the way into this pyramid. It felt okay as we traveled up the Ascending Passage; but, when we got to this one place where, after climbing about four steep stairs, the passage divided into two elevated walkways, I started to feel just a leetle bit cramped. I think this is the part called the Grand Gallery. See it on the map above and here is a picture:
(Picture from Wikipedia)
Still, I was okay because it was just so cool to be here. When we got to the King’s Chamber, I don’t remember that there was a lot to see besides the sarcophagus. Coming back down the passage is when I started feeling uncomfortable. I am pretty sure it is because I was matching other tourist’s fears and then mine were magnified by our combined energy. I really had to blow my matching fears, choose Love and get a grip. I tried to help one woman who was beginning to come unglued by claustrophobia, but she had to make a break out of that place pronto! Another lady had tears in her eyes as her friends encouraged her to keep going.
Finally, we made it out and I was glad to know I had done it. Right then a young boy, maybe age 12ish came up to me to hand me something.
“No thank you”. I said. I didn’t want to buy anything right then.
“No, no, gift, gift.” He said.
“I don’t believe you, I am not interested in buying anything now.”
“Gift, gift!” He insisted.
“Really…okay then.” I took it with a smile.
Then he held out his hand for baksheesh.
O My God, I am so damned gullible. This was my last baksheesh straw. My button was pushed.
“You said this was a gift. You lied. I can’t fucking believe I bought that shit!”
He just gave me the sad face.
I gave him a couple of US dollars. He took it and made another face, handing it back and wanting Egyptian pounds instead.
“Dude, these dollars are more than the pounds you would get!” I took back the dollars and started to give him some pounds, then… I lost it and snarled, “Here take it back, I don’t want this gift. It’s bullshit.” In my anger I thrust his gift, the pounds, and somehow even the dollars back into his hands just as a camel rider told the boy to leave me alone. The kid made out very well.
But, for me, the baksheesh thing had finally penetrated my armor and I had to deal with what was bugging me about it. I had to explore why it was pushing my buttons. Okay Linda, what is it? Process, use your tools. The begging in Mexico never bothered you, why would this? Begging is upfront, it’s clean and honest. You know what is going on. This isn’t. I never know whether an action or a kindness is freely given or if I am expected to give money in return. It isn’t honest. Okay, where do I match that; do I do it too? I thought I had already learned the value of giving and receiving unconditionally. I have learned it. I practice it. That isn’t it; there is something more, what is it? Review: pretty much everyone who has asked me for baksheesh was trying to do a job, a service, to make money even when I didn’t want their offering.
Ahh, my book; is that what this is about?
I wrote a book, two books even, that I see as a service, but I also hope to receive money for them. I guess I don’t know how to reconcile that. I gave away hundreds of my first book because I thought it was so important for people to have the information. I am even putting it on Twitter now, but, I cannot afford to continue giving away my first book, nor any of the second book; and, yes, I would like to make enough money that I could retire or cut back work at the hospital. I am not entrepreneurial. I am in conflict.
I need an attitude adjustment and a perceptual tweak.
Suddenly, I remembered a patient/acquaintance I once had named Darcy Rezac who wrote a book entitled: The Frog and Prince: Secrets of Positive Networking to Change Your Life. The message it had was, “What can I do for you?”
In other words, “How can the job/service/item I am offering help you?” DUDE, I can wrap my head and heart around that! Yeah, I even already have a job providing a service as an RN. It is upfront that I get paid for that. I don’t have a conflict about it; it’s my job.
Linda, so is your writing. Okay, I get it. Now I can be upfront about it. I am offering my knowledge and experience as a critical care nurse in the form of two books that I know have information that can be of help to people; AND, I get paid each time someone buys a book. It’s my job and I love it!
Thanks to all of you folks who asked me for baksheesh and kept pushing til I could come to this realization.
Darcy, I think I finally got it! Thanks so much for your book as well as yours, Gail’s, and Judy’s wisdom.
All of that I worked out as we headed toward our camel ride tour. We had already paid for it, but my camel driver asked for more… of course he did. This time it didn’t bug me. I calmly made a choice and gave him a little more.
This is my third trip on a camel and my driver suddenly gave me the reigns to do my own steering! Very cool.
When the camel tour was done we walked around to see the Great Sphinx of Giza.
The Great Sphinx – The Terrifying One – is a statue of a human head with a lion’s body. It is the largest monolith statue in the world and the oldest known monumental sculpture. It is believed to have been built during the reign of Pharaoh Khafra (2558 – 2532 BCE). Really that is about all that is known, as basic facts about it are still being debated.
Well, that was it for our trip to Giza. We headed back to Cairo and planned to go to the American University Bookstore just down the street from our hotel. I wanted to get the book about Akhenaten, by Naguib Mahfouz
Ahhh, it is Friday and the weekly demonstration is starting on Tahrir Square below our rooms.
We decide to go for a walk before we go to the bookstore.
The vibe is not the same as before when the people were celebrating. Now, they are trying to keep the movement alive and debating about how the new government should be. Still, people are glad to see us and are friendly. Noelle got her hand painted.
We walked around to see the artwork:
Eventually, we headed to the bookstore. As we approached the stairs to the subway, I saw a man sitting down on the short wall at the top of the stairs. In just a flash, his legs went up in the air, his body fell backward and down. I heard a loud crack when he hit the ground.
“NO!” I yelled. “DID YOU SEE THAT?”
Noelle and Alexei had looked up at my yell then ran down the stairs. I quickly followed.
Most of the man’s body was lying on the ground floor on his back. His left leg from the thigh down was lying on the first stair. When I got there Noelle and Alexei had already checked for breathing and a pulse. Of course, he was unconscious. Blood was pooling around his head. It was commute time now and people were crowding around us. I knelt down between the man’s legs and put my hand on his chest. His breathing was getting shallow and I couldn’t see it, but I could feel it. Noelle was keeping people away from him as we did not want to move him and create more problems.
I stood up and said to someone, “We need an ambulance. You know wooo –wooo.” I tried to simulate a siren. He ran off up the stairs. A business man in a suit holding a briefcase came down the stairs by me.
“How is he doing?”
“I think he may die.”
“I think so too.” He replied and walked off.
I could see the man’s breathing was becoming irregular and he was using effort to inhale. Maybe he’s herniating his brain. I knelt down again. Now I could see blood was pooling in his mouth and blocking his airway.
“Shit, he can’t breathe, we need to turn him.”
“What do you want to do, Linda?” Alexei asked.
“I want to turn him.”
Keeping my eyes peeled on the man, I stated to the crowd, “I need plastic gloves!”
A handkerchief came into my line of sight.
A package of Kleenex came into my view.
“No, gloves!” I repeated.
A small blue plastic bag was there.
I put my hands and forearms into the bag, moved around to the man’s head and kneeling just outside the growing pool of blood, I bent over and stabilized his head and neck by putting my hands on his shoulders and his head between my forearms. Alexei and Noelle grasped his body in the appropriate places so that we could roll him like a log, keeping his spine and neck in alignment to prevent damage.
“Okay, on the count of three. One, two, three.”
We successfully turned him to his right side away from the stairs. The blood poured out of his mouth.
He sucked in a big breath and kept breathing.
Someone slid a small back pack toward me to put under his head.
“It will get all bloody.”
“You speak English?” I asked a young woman. She nodded yes.
“Please tell everyone, we are ER and ICU nurses from America. We know what we are doing. We have to keep him on his side so the blood doesn’t block his airway and we have to keep his spine straight to prevent paralysis. She told everyone and also informed me that an ambulance was on the way.
A man came down the steps to us. He had a stethoscope and tried to turn the victim to his back so he could examine him.
Noelle yelled, “NO!”
So he reached over the man’s body and listened to his heart, then left.
I tried to feel his scalp for a source of bleeding, but I couldn’t find one. Blood just kept pouring out of his mouth. My back was screaming from bending over. I finally had to slide the backpack under the man’s head. It was a perfect fit and kept him in good alignment. Just as I straightened up, the medic showed up. Via the young woman’s translations, I was trying to give him a report of the mechanism of injury and all that we had seen and done. He didn’t seem to pay any attention and appeared to be assessing the situation for himself. Noelle was pantomiming putting a cervical collar on the man’s neck for stabilization and the medic nodded. Alexei stood up with me.
“We need to back off and let him do his thing.”
Someone handed me some Kleenex to wipe the blood off of me as I took off the blue bag. Too late, it was mostly dried up. I opted for returning to our hotel across the street instead of going to the bookstore. As we left, people reached out to touch us and gave their thanks.
We got back to the hotel and Noelle went off to Skype her parents. I went to clean up and Alexei disappeared. I marveled at how strangely calm I was; no drama, no trauma. Good, I like that in me. I went to say hi to Noelle’s parents and Alexei came to us.
“I watched from my room with the binoculars. They just took him away on a backboard and with the C- collar on. They weren’t doing CPR so I guess he is alive.”
Okay then. On that note, I went to bed.