This is the seventeenth in a series of repeated posts (e.g. published elsewhere before) from outside of China, detailing the start of my expatriate life. There will always be a post a day about China so if you’re not interested in other material – you can stop reading now.
We leap back into the van and hurtle off to see the sphinx, time is now very tight with only 25 minutes or so of daylight and a load of dodgy Egyptian backstreets to navigate. We arrive with enough time to fling ourselves through the in gate before it is barred behind us to new entrants.
And what a wonder and an enigma the Sphinx is. With a lion’s body and the head of a human, it sits 73.5 metres long, 20 metres high and 6 metres wide. It is the largest monolith sculpture in the world, still today, and the oldest monumental statue in the world.
And yet we know almost nothing about it. There is absolutely no mention of it in any literature or inscription from the time at all. So we don’t know what it was for. Who it is supposed to be. Or anything. This results in the idea of a “riddle of the sphinx”, the other riddle was in fact a Greek myth and has nothing to do with this sphinx at all.
We crowd into see it and I love it, really love it. The pyramids are alright, but when you get down to it, they are big piles of stone, in a geometric pattern, and while they are big, I have just come from the country with the world’s tallest building which is getting on for a mile high, so they aren’t really that big.
But the sphinx is something else, it is majestic, it towers above you, and because it is such an enigma it calls to something in your soul. I am sorry my time here will be so brief, but Stefan insists on taking the classic tourist photo for me with my camera, so that my head is imposed upon the body of the sphinx, with just an outline of its own around mine. I like this so much, I offer to take him and his driver for dinner in Han EL Halili market.