Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hustlers evicted from pyramids
The country's authorities have erected a 12-mile fence with infrared sensors and security cameras to create an exclusion zone around the three Giza pyramids and the Sphinx, which perch on a rocky plateau on the edge of Cairo.

"It was a zoo," said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist. "Now we are protecting both the tourists and the ancient monuments."

In the past, the large site containing the enormous monuments - the only surviving member of the seven wonders of the ancient world - was protected by little more than a low stone wall and miles of open desert.

They cleared the vendors out from the immediate area in the "front" of the pyramids a few years ago, but you could still go around the back and get bugged. Though admittedly, the first year I went there our taxi driver took us way out behind them to the low hills where they usually take the classic photos from and we walked up to them from there. That was a very nice way to approach them since there were few people back that way and you could walk for several minutes and watch them get bigger and bigger and just be awed by their size. Every time I see them again I'm still shocked at how big the dumb things are. They're just so out of scale with anything else manmade we usually come across.