Tuesday, 9th July 2019 was a rest day at the on-going Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Egypt before the quarter finals could come knocking.
Upon this background, Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) optimally planned and utilized this free day to help the journalists (accredited) tour the Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops).
For starters, Khufu Pyramid is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day El Giza, Egypt.
In fact, it is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.
There were a couple of organized buses for the journalists across Africa to go and witness first hand this wonder feature.
Yours truly also graced this historic tour that commenced as early as 11 AM (local time).
No sooner had we arrived at the well protected site of these gigantic features, than we were majestically welcomed by soaring high temperatures as high as 40 degrees (centigrade).
Fast forward, the official guide took us through a brief history of the pyramids built out of over 2.3 million limestone and granite stones by a combined man power of over 100,000 men, constructed as far back as the 4th dynasty (2580–2560 BC).
As we were being briefed about the history, a large of visitors (majority outside Egypt) were touring the site as they admired the 481 feet structure.
After a while, we were then allowed to go around, enjoy the moment and obviously capture it through the lens – still and video cameras.
Many could pose as if they have touched the apex of the pyramid and others jumped as high as possible to defy gravity in a bid to reach the level of the world’s wonder also certified by UNESCO.
Standing at 146.5 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD.
For starters, its height is 146.7 metres (481 ft), a base length of 230.34 metres (756 ft) and volume of 2,583,283 cubic metres (91,227,778 cu ft).
I realized there is brisky business roving around ranging from the volunteer guides, camel rides, photographers to businessmen selling ornamentals and other artifacts.
One man (Mustapha) came rushing towards me. In a quick flash, he decorated my head with a veil, he politely led me to a camel called Moses and took me around meanwhile he photographed the moment.
After the service, the gentleman politely requested for 250 Egyptian pounds (at least $15).
With no second thought of bargain, I offered the money requested, worthy the “once in a lifetime experience”.
As I moved away for another spot, another gentleman came rushing in my midst.
He spoke a mixture of Arabic, French and English. He convinced me to buy ancient kings’ key holders, ornaments, table decorations and clothes.
I realized the business wing reaps a handsome of money for the crafty men and women at the pyramids.
We had a group photograph with fellow journalists from the other African countries before returning to the buses for the other side of the pyramids.
The main part of the Giza complex is a set of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honour of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu’s wives, an even smaller “satellite” pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles.
The whole experience was amazing worth the rest day from the routine match day interviews, action on the different stadia as well as reports.
Personally, I cannot wait for any day in Giza after the quarter finals and possibly for another round with family.
Possibly, it will be one of my long awaited honey money destinations.