Friday, April 04, 2008

Riddle of the Sphinx

What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?

Do you remember Oedipus’s answer? Oh yeah, he’s not just famous for sleeping with his mother. He also defeated the wisdom of the Sphinx. But more on that later.

Ever the optimist, Hubby said he was prepared to be disappointed by the Sphinx. He defended this pre-viewing theory by saying that he had heard that the iconic Egyptian statue was much like the Mona Lisa in Paris – a tiny postage stamp waiting to disappoint and mock you. Let me assure you that the Sphinx, unlike La Jaconde, is NOT disappointing.

Since lame tourists in bygone years enjoyed picking at her sides for souvenirs, you can’t get very close to the Sphinx. But even from the viewing deck to its right you could still feel her majesty. (I know they say that it’s a man but since it was also a symbol of wisdom I’m going with logic and will assume it was really a woman.) Her huge forepaws seemed almost delicate and you could just make out the outline of her tail sitting alongside her back paws.

One of the things that I found interesting was that the Sphinx doesn’t sit in front the Great Pyramid as one might logically think or at least as I always thought. The pyramid you see in background of all her photos is actually Khafre, which is 50 feet shorter than Khufu’s Great Pyramid.

The touts around the Sphinx were incredibly aggressive. Thanks to my skin color, we were getting both the best and worst of it. Many of the touts left us alone assuming I was local – but then others came over and pounded us with offers in Arabic, only going away when I glared at them so much I think they thought I had given them the evil eye.

As a final note: bonus points and a shout out to whoever knows the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx. No cheating and looking it up. You either know it or the Sphinx will smite you. Good luck!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Me, look it up, never!
And what is the answer? I'm not telling.