Sailing the Nile

Day 42
Aswan, Egypt

With temperatures topping 110 degrees today, it was a relief to board our felucca, Princess Feria, at around 10 a.m. for a sail up the Nile River. Feluccas are traditional Egyptian single deck sailboats that have been used for thousands of years — they have simple rigging systems, huge masts and plenty of space for lounging.

After a couple of hours, we passed underneath one of the few bridges connecting the river’s east and west banks and were then treated to a freshly prepared, and quite delicious, vegetarian lunch on board.

About 30 km up stream, we stopped at a small island and tied the boat for the evening. While local Nubian farmers challenged some western tourists to a football match, we dug a toilet (exciting!), fended off dogs from stealing our sneakers (scary) and broke out the sheesha (relaxing).

Walking around afterwards, we found rubbish absolutely everywhere. The Egyptians consider the Nile River their lifeline, without it, much of this country would simply be desert. This doesn’t stop them, however, from dumping full garbage bins directly into the water — or, sending hundreds of cruise ships up and down the river while diesel fumes and exhaust cloud the skies.

Through all of this though, we were able to witness an absolutely spectacular sunset.

After some dinner, the locals built a couple of campfires and then danced and sang some traditional (and not so traditional) songs. We drank a couple of Stella beers back on the boat and fell asleep under the stars.

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