This is a photo I took with my phone in February of 2018 when I was in Egypt. The pyramids are in Cairo, Egypt but located on what's called the Giza Plateau. From this photo you can see some of a mastaba field (mastabas are above ground tomb portions). I did have the opportunity to go down into a couple of the tombs near the pyramids and it was amazing. The underground tombs are from newer kingdoms and rich with painted walls, hieroglyphs, statuary, and are beautifully artistic. Although I wish I'd taken this class first, it still helped me understand more in retrospect. It was my first trip to Egypt and the sheer magnitude of it overwhelmed me.
Being the fiction writer in a group of Egyptologists, I focused on taking in as much as I could and simply experiencing it. I climbed inside Khufu (the biggest pyramid), rode a camel around Giza to the Sphinx, and took endless photos of everything. They tried to educate me on the different kingdoms, dynasties, and hieroglyphs, but I really wanted to prowl through the dusty bookshops, sail in a felucca on the Nile, and score a purse with a camel painted on it. Fortunately Harvard edX showed me what I missed. Now, like the rest of the world's stilled travelers, I wait for the someday when I can resume my hands-on learning with renewed appreciation, thanks to this incredible class.