Friday, May 16, 2008

Selling The Desert

When I first moved to Cairo about fifteen years ago, I moved my two mares to a stable next to the desert near the pyramids of Abu Sir, about a kilometre from where I live now. I was delighted to be able to ride in the desert straight from the stable, and on late spring/summer days it was especially nice to ride up the hill from the club to the plateau that rose behind it. It might be hot closer to the valley, but if there was any breeze at all, it would be on the plateau. I rode up there today with a friend and most of the plateau is gone, missing, defunct. Fifteen years ago, the ridge that can be seen behind the rider's head was not a was the top of the plateau. Where there now is a vast canyon a few hundred feet deep, there was a flat sandy riding area that eventually led to the Giza dump. With the removal of such huge portion of the plateau and the immense increase in the size of the dump, there isn't much left for riding or anything else.

The sand was sold to people with bulldozers and dump trucks who carted it away to be used in building. Who sold it? It would appear that people who mined it paid people in the military, the Giza governorate, and the antiquities department for the right to take it away. Who owned it? Who knows. Who misses it? Everyone in the area who loves the desert.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really fantastic photo

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